Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

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Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Saving$ » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:06 pm

One of my goals for 2013 is to reduce my power bill. I'm particularly interested in power strips that reduce the standby power that so many devices suck up even when off. Do the Bogleheads have any suggestions for any such devices that actually work well?

My concerns include:
1. Many of my devices need to be reprogrammed whenever the power goes out. I assume that if a power strip cuts the standby power to the device, I will have to reprogram. How do you avoid this problem?
2. I see some power strips with one master on/off plug and supplementary plugs that work off of that. But I don't want to have to walk over to the power strip to push a button when I want to turn something on.

A great example of standby power is my cobbled together "home entertainment center." I've got a TV, old VCR, old DVD player, 20 year old receiver, Roku, computer, and a few other devices plugged in. It would be fine if they all went on when I use the remote to turn on the TV. Not sure if I can figure this out without needed to reprogram the devices because they all work based on setting the time.
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby allsop » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:25 pm

There are power strips that are turned on/off by a RF remote control, and those are quite handy when you need them, at least for convenience.

Otherwise I suggest that you use a power meter to measure your stand-by power usage and make decisions from your measurements. Some local libraries let you loan power meters.
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby Rainier » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:28 pm

The payback on the price of a power strip could be many years.

Have you tried looking at some of the big culprits like an electric dryer, water heater, plasma tv?
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby kalex » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:44 pm

Saving$ wrote:One of my goals for 2013 is to reduce my power bill. I'm particularly interested in power strips that reduce the standby power that so many devices suck up even when off. Do the Bogleheads have any suggestions for any such devices that actually work well?

My concerns include:
1. Many of my devices need to be reprogrammed whenever the power goes out. I assume that if a power strip cuts the standby power to the device, I will have to reprogram. How do you avoid this problem?
2. I see some power strips with one master on/off plug and supplementary plugs that work off of that. But I don't want to have to walk over to the power strip to push a button when I want to turn something on.

A great example of standby power is my cobbled together "home entertainment center." I've got a TV, old VCR, old DVD player, 20 year old receiver, Roku, computer, and a few other devices plugged in. It would be fine if they all went on when I use the remote to turn on the TV. Not sure if I can figure this out without needed to reprogram the devices because they all work based on setting the time.


i used this to do what you describe: http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Conserve-S ... 003P2UMQ2/

i had the TV plugged into the master switch, dvd, receiver, xbox and such into the linked outlets, and then things that i wanted to stay on all the time like my router and cable modem into the 'always on' outlets at the end of the strip.

sit down, hit power on the tv, all the linked devices turn on. finish watching a movie, power off the tv, they all go off.
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby papito23 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:55 pm

Here's way more datathan you could ever crunch on energy use... from "Mr. Electricity". Electricity is all about the numbers, thus he's a valuable resource. Beware of being penny wise and pound foolish.
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby gt4715b » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:04 pm

This is probably a waste of time except for possibly the TV and the computer if it's older. Nothing on your list is going to draw much standby power except for these two.

If you want you to have some fun, you can buy an EZWatt meter for about $20 and see how much energy each device is using. You'll probably find out not much except for possibly the TV.
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby DonM17 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:13 pm

FWIW....I live in Ontario, Canada and I have signed up for an energy saving thermostat which also included a power meter which displays exactly how much electricity is being consumed at any given time including the cost per hour. We have peak rates mid peak and off peak rates (weekends are off peak as well as evenings after 7:00pm).

At this minute with most of my electronic equipment on stand by (including 1 50" plasma, 1 32" LED tv DVD, satellite box etc.)...the meter is showing that it is costing me 2 cents an hour....peak times during the week, same conditions it might show 3 or 4 cents an hour so that might give you a rough idea as to what your savings might be if you switched off everything that was on stand by...to me it is not worth the hassle.

Just now the gas furnace kicked in and with the furnace fan going my rate has jumped to 6 cents an hour.
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby Rainier » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:17 pm

You need to go after bigger fish first.

In another thread the op tried to save $5 a month in bank fees costing him hundreds in payroll taxes.
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby Saving$ » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:12 pm

Rainier wrote:You need to go after bigger fish first.

It is an economic thing, and an environmental thing. I don't have too any bigger fish to go after according to the Kill-a-Watt meter I've been moving around my house for a year or so.

Rainier wrote:In another thread the op tried to save $5 a month in bank fees costing him hundreds in payroll taxes.

This is incorrect; I've responded in that thread.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby crowd79 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:19 pm

Saving$ wrote:
Rainier wrote:You need to go after bigger fish first.

It is an economic thing, and an environmental thing. I don't have too any bigger fish to go after according to the Kill-a-Watt meter I've been moving around my house for a year or so.

Rainier wrote:In another thread the op tried to save $5 a month in bank fees costing him hundreds in payroll taxes.

This is incorrect; I've responded in that thread.


Haha, I'm kind of curious to read that thread myself. Can anyone provide it?

IMO, not worth getting a power strip to save $1.00 per year on vampire power from a television and blu ray player when it'll take 20 years to make back the cost of the power strip.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby momar » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:20 pm

Unplug your VCR and DVD player. Seriously, who still uses these things?
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby RIDL » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:34 pm

momar wrote:Unplug your VCR and DVD player. Seriously, who still uses these things?


That is a good point. I do not even own either of them myself. My old laptop has a dvd player, but my new computer I just built does not have a dvd/blue ray player in it.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:12 am

Saving$ wrote:One of my goals for 2013 is to reduce my power bill. I'm particularly interested in power strips that reduce the standby power that so many devices suck up even when off. Do the Bogleheads have any suggestions for any such devices that actually work well?

My concerns include:
1. Many of my devices need to be reprogrammed whenever the power goes out. I assume that if a power strip cuts the standby power to the device, I will have to reprogram. How do you avoid this problem?



AFAIK you cannot.

2. I see some power strips with one master on/off plug and supplementary plugs that work off of that. But I don't want to have to walk over to the power strip to push a button when I want to turn something on.


Studies show that doing so burns many calories (there is some frightening number of calories that Americans *do not* burn every day because they use TV remotes). So see it as an investment in keeping optimal body weight, rather than as a hassle-- ie a positive, not a negative.


A great example of standby power is my cobbled together "home entertainment center." I've got a TV, old VCR, old DVD player, 20 year old receiver, Roku, computer, and a few other devices plugged in. It would be fine if they all went on when I use the remote to turn on the TV. Not sure if I can figure this out without needed to reprogram the devices because they all work based on setting the time.


Consumer electronics standards (in the US, Europe is behind) have really tightened up on this in the last few years. Old electronic equipment can have huge burns on standby. Simplest thing might be to get new equipment.

Failing that, get a power bar, and live with the hassle. Put the stuff that does not need reprogramming on a different power bar than the stuff that does.

If you don't use the LED timer display on a device, put black tape over it so it won't bug you when it is wrong.

Note the biggest burn in your house is almost certainly a fridge. If your fridge is more than 10 years old, it could really be burning juice.

The curve is thus: a 1985 fridge (pre 1992) could burn 2000 kwhr pa. A new Energy Star number could be burning around 550-700 kwhr pa (and would likely be a bigger fridge).

After that it's the washing machine and dryer (depending on use) and the lights-- go for LEDs or CFLs.

If you have done all that, then look at old stereos, phone chargers, plasma TVs etc.

The tip off on chargers if it is a standard sized black box then it's probably quite inefficient (and runs hot).
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby DualIncomeNoDebt » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:23 am

I can think of a hundred things, all of them better at saving power and money.
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Re: Saving$ by Saving on Power Bill: Reducing Standby Power

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:36 am

DonM17 wrote:FWIW....I live in Ontario, Canada and I have signed up for an energy saving thermostat which also included a power meter which displays exactly how much electricity is being consumed at any given time including the cost per hour. We have peak rates mid peak and off peak rates (weekends are off peak as well as evenings after 7:00pm).

At this minute with most of my electronic equipment on stand by (including 1 50" plasma, 1 32" LED tv DVD, satellite box etc.)...the meter is showing that it is costing me 2 cents an hour....peak times during the week, same conditions it might show 3 or 4 cents an hour so that might give you a rough idea as to what your savings might be if you switched off everything that was on stand by...to me it is not worth the hassle.

Just now the gas furnace kicked in and with the furnace fan going my rate has jumped to 6 cents an hour.


When you get to some of the older consumer electronics, you can find TVs drawing 60 watts standby (some of the old set top boxes as well). Bush passed a law and the industry really started to clean up its act. 60 watts could cost you c. 15 cents a day, $45 pa-- adds up.

I pulled out 50 watt halogens for (CDN equivalent $25) LEDs, and worked out a payback (2000 hrs pa x 45 watts = 90kwhr = c. CDN $20 at my electricity price) of less than 2 years.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Saving$ » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:49 am

crowd79 wrote:
Saving$ wrote:
Rainier wrote:You need to go after bigger fish first.

It is an economic thing, and an environmental thing. I don't have too any bigger fish to go after according to the Kill-a-Watt meter I've been moving around my house for a year or so.

Rainier wrote:In another thread the op tried to save $5 a month in bank fees costing him hundreds in payroll taxes.

This is incorrect; I've responded in that thread.


Haha, I'm kind of curious to read that thread myself. Can anyone provide it?

IMO, not worth getting a power strip to save $1.00 per year on vampire power from a television and blu ray player when it'll take 20 years to make back the cost of the power strip.


viewtopic.php?f=2&t=109377&newpost=1595602

Getting the power strip will not take the usage down to $0, because the tv/stereo are used an average of about 1 hour/day. Based on the Kill-a-Watt, all the electronics combined plugged into the system consume just under 1 kwh/day. This is about 9-10% of my fall, winter and spring power bill. Let's be generous and round that down to .75 kwh/day of vampire power to account for the time components are being used. That is 273+ kwh/year. At $.14/kwh that is $38.25/year. It is actually more because in the summer, weekdays between 2 pm and 7 pm the rate goes up to $.20/kwh.

I figure my return on investment with a strip to kill vampire power is about 1 year or less. I can't see the return on investment in replacing the components being less than 20-30 years. I've already attacked most of the other obvious things like appliances, light bulbs, etc. Replacing the AC is next, but it is only used for a short time in the summer when temps are over 90, or when elderly relatives are visiting, so it's payback is longer.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Rainier » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:01 pm

Sounds like the kill-a-watt is the thing to buy (which you already did) to test everything.

Which one do you have, how much should you spend on this?
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Epsilon Delta » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:39 pm

Saving$ wrote:I've got a TV, old VCR, old DVD player, 20 year old receiver, Roku, computer, and a few other devices plugged in.

Saving$ wrote:Getting the power strip will not take the usage down to $0, because the tv/stereo are used an average of about 1 hour/day. Based on the Kill-a-Watt, all the electronics combined plugged into the system consume just under 1 kwh/day. This is about 9-10% of my fall, winter and spring power bill. Let's be generous and round that down to .75 kwh/day of vampire power to account for the time components are being used. That is 273+ kwh/year. At $.14/kwh that is $38.25/year. It is actually more because in the summer, weekdays between 2 pm and 7 pm the rate goes up to $.20/kwh.

It's probably worth using the Kill-a-Watt on the individual components, chances are there are one or two that make up a big chunk of the vampire load. Then you can consider unplugging or putting a switch on those components, particularly if it's one you only use once a month, or something like the VCR that you can switch on at the same time you insert the media.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Valuethinker » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:13 am

Saving$ wrote:
crowd79 wrote:
Saving$ wrote:
Rainier wrote:You need to go after bigger fish first.

It is an economic thing, and an environmental thing. I don't have too any bigger fish to go after according to the Kill-a-Watt meter I've been moving around my house for a year or so.

Rainier wrote:In another thread the op tried to save $5 a month in bank fees costing him hundreds in payroll taxes.

This is incorrect; I've responded in that thread.


Haha, I'm kind of curious to read that thread myself. Can anyone provide it?

IMO, not worth getting a power strip to save $1.00 per year on vampire power from a television and blu ray player when it'll take 20 years to make back the cost of the power strip.


viewtopic.php?f=2&t=109377&newpost=1595602

Getting the power strip will not take the usage down to $0, because the tv/stereo are used an average of about 1 hour/day. Based on the Kill-a-Watt, all the electronics combined plugged into the system consume just under 1 kwh/day. This is about 9-10% of my fall, winter and spring power bill. Let's be generous and round that down to .75 kwh/day of vampire power to account for the time components are being used. That is 273+ kwh/year. At $.14/kwh that is $38.25/year. It is actually more because in the summer, weekdays between 2 pm and 7 pm the rate goes up to $.20/kwh.

I figure my return on investment with a strip to kill vampire power is about 1 year or less. I can't see the return on investment in replacing the components being less than 20-30 years. I've already attacked most of the other obvious things like appliances, light bulbs, etc. Replacing the AC is next, but it is only used for a short time in the summer when temps are over 90, or when elderly relatives are visiting, so it's payback is longer.


In the winter the waste watts will lower your heating load. But gas heat costs about 1/4-1/3rd as much per kwhr as electricity.

The formula is 1kwhr = 3416 BTU and there are, apparently, 100k BTU in a therm of gas.

In summer the reverse is true and 1kwhr of waste heat will cost you another 0.3-1.0 kwhr of air conditioning load.

Personally I see waste heat as a potential fire hazard (some of those power supplies run *hot*) so for me it's a no brainer to have power bars.

It's a very high rate of return compared to, say, investing in Treasury Bonds at sub 2.0% (which is also risk free). And of course it is an *after tax* return.

If payback is 10 years, that's 7% pa *after tax* ie better than I can expect to do in risky equities.


Besides environmental considerations, I pay 0.22 cents/ kwhr US, roughly (no time of day).
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby madbrain » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:47 am

My very large house has a constant minimum 900 watt of vampire power when all lights are off and every computer and other device in sleep mode, in the middle of the night. The smart meter typically report between 0.8 and 1 kWh for each of the lowest consumption hours at night (that is, when the computer is off and I'm not writing emails very late like I am now).

This is after many conservation efforts, like putting as many A/V and computers devices as I could on X10 switches, like the 5 backup hard drives that I only use occasionally, or the 8 amps that power the 32 ceiling speakers in the house and various other entertainment systems.

You better believe I have been looking at the vampire power carefully. Not just with a kill-a-watt. But also looking at the utility meter and turning off breakers one at a time to see what each uses. With the additional 2 subpanels - that's a total of 40 breakers altogether.

Here are some of the top energy hogs I have found in terms of vampire power :

- my dish HD DVR uses 58 watts 24/7 . There is no way to turn that off since it needs to be able to record at random times
- the two Carrier infinity furnaces & two A/C systems use a total of 80 watts when idle, including the 10 room thermostats . Again, you can't very well turn those off.
- I was quite dismayed to find out that my Kenmore 36" 5-zone induction cooktop uses 59 watts idle . It really only gets used for only a few minutes a day and is very efficiency at cooktop. That means it probably uses as much electricity for standby than for cooking. And of course the thing is 220V hardwired, no power switch. Only way to turn off this load is at the breaker outside.
- my 5 year Brother MFC-9840CDW networked laser all-in-one printer uses 40 watts idle, sadly. The amperage draw is too high to put it on an x10 switch also. There is a power switch but it's not really easily accessible. That was an $800 printer, not easily replaced with a more efficient model. Brother does make one which now has 1 watt idle. The current printer is built like a tank though, and I think it can last another 5 years easily.
- other networking devices use 60 watts idle, between the cable modem, wireless router, and a few hubs . Once again we can't turn those off if we want things to work

I realize that's only about 300 of the 900 watts of vampire power that my house has, but I am not done with all the vampire power analysis yet.
The huge built-in Monogram fridge is energy star so it turns on or off by itself. I haven't been able to measure its standby power usage yet since I can't unplug it. I can turn off the breaker it's on, but there are other things on it too. Same problem for the wine cooler, it is built in and I can't measure standby power for it separately.

The freezer in the garage is also energy star and uses very little when idle (the kill-a-watt worked for this one).

Many of the breakers have 0w of vampire power. Some others have very little, like the double oven which uses 9W . The microwave uses 5W idle.
I believe the two garage openers use about 20W idle.

Other things I turned off a while back - a pump for the koi pond used 100 watts 24/7. We ended up draining the pond.

Each watt of vampire power amounts to 8.76 kWh of power usage annually.

The average cost for power in the US is 10 cents per kWh, so that translates to a cost of 88 cents per year for each watt of standby power.
However, our local power with PG&E can cost up to 49 cents per kWh in the top tiers at peak time in summertime. Needless to say, we have solar PV to offset that huge cost.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby apk » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:43 am

I have been using Power Strip for maybe a decade. One Power Strip is for my computer, computer screen, and printer. I have another for my tv, dvr, and speakers. When I first plugged them in, I did keep track of electric usage. I don't remember the specifics, but I did save energy. I also saved money, but I was more interested in saving energy. I cannot do much to fight the utility companies when they raise their rates. What I can control somewhat is the amount of power I use.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Epsilon Delta » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:37 pm

Valuethinker wrote:It's a very high rate of return compared to, say, investing in Treasury Bonds at sub 2.0% (which is also risk free). And of course it is an *after tax* return.

If payback is 10 years, that's 7% pa *after tax* ie better than I can expect to do in risky equities.


That would be true if the savings last forever, but in most cases the savings will end when the vampire device is retired; any replacement will probably have much lower standby power. So you have to figure the life expectancy of the vampire. If it is unlikely to be kept for 10 years you don't even get return of your money, let alone return on your money.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Rainier » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:11 pm

Can anyone recommend a good "kill a watt" or equivalent product?

There is a nice looking Belkin device, but I just want something simple that gets the job done.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby madbrain » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:20 pm

Rainier wrote:Can anyone recommend a good "kill a watt" or equivalent product?

There is a nice looking Belkin device, but I just want something simple that gets the job done.


Either the original P4400 kill-a-watt, or the P4460 kill-a-watt EZ.

They are very similar, but the old model forgets everything as soon as it's unplugged, whereas the new model doesn't - you need to manually reset.
I prefer the old model, but mine failed. I have the newer one now.

They are both very cheap on Amazon.

Either way, you will want to have a few good extension cords to make measurements easier.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby z3r0c00l » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:58 am

Used kill-a-watt around apartment and have gotten down to under 100 watts when the lights are off and I am away or sleeping, except when the fridge cycles on from time to time. Unplugging TV was the biggest move, it uses a shocking 30 watts or so when turned off, so much that I noticed it was quite warm to the touch. I never leave it plugged in. The computer also takes about 5 watts when off! The microwave and alarm clock use next to nothing, as does the stove electronics. Cable modem uses about 15, but cannot turn that off without a long reset process. I appear to save about $10 a month after all these changes! (Particularly the 30 watts saved off the TV.)
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby papito23 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:18 pm

This new device sends data to your smartphone - a big improvement over Kill-a-watt?

http://www.indiegogo.com/meterplug
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby THY4373 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:40 am

papito23 wrote:This new device sends data to your smartphone - a big improvement over Kill-a-watt?

http://www.indiegogo.com/meterplug


Possibly but at 3x the cost of my Kill-a-Watt it better be. For identifying vampire loads I don't think remote monitoring is necessary. For ongoing monitoring of a device that has variable loads I can see some value in remote monitoring capability.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby runner26 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:09 pm

Recently I discovered my library had a power tester available for checkout. No purchase necessary.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Easy Rhino » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:56 pm

I dunno, if a major cause of vampire electricity usage is a koi pond, maybe you don't need to worry about the vampire electricity costs :)
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Valuethinker » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:27 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:It's a very high rate of return compared to, say, investing in Treasury Bonds at sub 2.0% (which is also risk free). And of course it is an *after tax* return.

If payback is 10 years, that's 7% pa *after tax* ie better than I can expect to do in risky equities.


That would be true if the savings last forever, but in most cases the savings will end when the vampire device is retired; any replacement will probably have much lower standby power. So you have to figure the life expectancy of the vampire. If it is unlikely to be kept for 10 years you don't even get return of your money, let alone return on your money.


I take the point about the underlying logic, however consider the numbers.

Let's say $20 for a power bar, saves 100 watts standby power = 2.4 kw/ day. Take 50% of that (due to time you want it to be on, etc.).

1.2 kwhr/day x 365 x .125 cents/ kwhr = $54 a year.

Let's halve that again, just in case. $20 pays back in 8.9 months.

To be clear, I have enough electronic gizmos I *have* to have power bars. And they are generally safer (UK sockets are wall switched, so less of an advantage that way than North American).

The hard one for me was to discover that you can spend over USD30 on an LED lightbulb, and *still* that justifies *immediate* replacement of your halogen spots, on reasonable assumptions of the use of some lights.

Difficult not to see a return on that investment. Your Mileage May Vary.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby madbrain » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:29 pm

Easy Rhino wrote:I dunno, if a major cause of vampire electricity usage is a koi pond, maybe you don't need to worry about the vampire electricity costs :)


Well, 100 watt of continuous power usage is significant, IMO.
The pond had no koi (previous owners had them), and the pump was noisy, so turning it off was a no brainer.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby dpc » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:05 pm

Speaking as a EE, I find a lot of the power consumption figures listed for the electronic equipment here in this thread to be a little suspicious. The MAXIMUM power requirements will be listed on the device nameplate (typically on the bottom or back somewhere - if running on a wall wart, it will be listed there). I just looked at the power supply brick for this laptop. It is a maximum rating of 65 Watts. This would apply when the power supply was charging dead batteries and the computer was running. These are maximums - the average or standby power required will be much less. I would be highly skeptical of the kill-a-watt device results when attempting to measure low levels power consumed by wall warts and small electronic power supplies.

As stated already by others, refrigerators and freezers are very high energy users, even the newer energy efficient variety. Incandescent lighting is another high energy usage in residences.

Heating and cooling (depending on locale) are major energy users - adding more insulation or better windows is generally a good investment. Also, all of the energy consumed by these devices ends up as heat added to your house. In the winter, this will tend to offset other energy sources used for heating to some extent.

I'm skeptical that you will see any significant reduction in your power bill by unplugging all of your electronic devices in standby mode. Any savings will be small. And consuming more power at night may be doing your local power grid a favor. Here in the Northwest, the hourly price of energy on the grid often goes to essentially zero at night due to the excess power generated by wind turbines.

I'm all for simplifying your life and reducing electronic gadgets if you want, but I think the overall impact on your energy consumption will be pretty small compared to other energy uses in the home.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby Rainier » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:17 pm

Got my kill a watt and it looks like my standby power is pretty minimal so far. Even my big plasma draws nothing when off.

The Apple adapters draw nothing when no device is plugged in.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby madbrain » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:38 pm

dpc wrote:I would be highly skeptical of the kill-a-watt device results when attempting to measure low levels power consumed by wall warts and small electronic power supplies.


Agree that for small loads (<2W) the kill-a-watt can be inaccurate. What I do in this case is put multiple of such devices on a power strip, and then measure the total of the power strip.

Incandescent lighting is another high energy usage in residences.


Indeed, and we replaced 250 incandescent/halogen lightbulbs with CFLs as soon as we moved into the house. But those do not run 24/7.

I'm skeptical that you will see any significant reduction in your power bill by unplugging all of your electronic devices in standby mode. Any savings will be small. And consuming more power at night may be doing your local power grid a favor. Here in the Northwest, the hourly price of energy on the grid often goes to essentially zero at night due to the excess power generated by wind turbines.

I'm all for simplifying your life and reducing electronic gadgets if you want, but I think the overall impact on your energy consumption will be pretty small compared to other energy uses in the home.


I wish that were true, but if the standby power usage causes you to go over into high tiers and pay 49 cents/kWh as it can with PG&E in summer peak hours, the savings from turning off devices can be quite substantial.

Even on an E-6 time of use rate in the winter off-peak at night, power starts at 10 cents/kWh in baseline, and goes up to 31 cents/kWh in the top tier.

See http://www.pge.com/tariffs/tm2/pdf/ELEC_SCHEDS_E-6.pdf .
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby dpc » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:22 pm

the savings from turning off devices can be quite substantial.


I guess it depends on your definition of substantial. Even at those peak rates (which I concede are very high), I would still maintain you are probably stepping over dollars to pick up dimes. These are a minor component of your total energy consumption. During those peak hours, I'd be turning off anything with a switch before worrying about the standby power draw. As I said, I have no issue with reducing electricity use, but the numbers that get thrown around regarding standby energy usage are generally highly inflated in my experience.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby madbrain » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:36 pm

dpc wrote:
the savings from turning off devices can be quite substantial.


I guess it depends on your definition of substantial. Even at those peak rates (which I concede are very high), I would still maintain you are probably stepping over dollars to pick up dimes. These are a minor component of your total energy consumption. During those peak hours, I'd be turning off anything with a switch before worrying about the standby power draw. As I said, I have no issue with reducing electricity use, but the numbers that get thrown around regarding standby energy usage are generally highly inflated in my experience.


Not everything has a switch, sadly. As I found out, many hardwired devices have significant standby power draw, like my cooktop. I measured that by turning off the breaker for it and looking at the PG&E meter to see how many watts the instantaneous usage dropped.

At 900 watts idle, there is certainly a lot of standby power in my house. That's over 15 kWh per day, between 1/4 and 1/2 of total power usage depending on days (driving an electric car means daily consumption varies widely).
Even at the lowest baseline winter off-peak rate of 10 cents/kWh, that's $547 per year. At the top tier summer peak rate, that's $2682 per year. We are not talking about dimes.
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Re: Saving [by] Reducing Standby Power

Postby HardKnocker » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:43 pm

Some of those cable boxes do draw some substantial current 24 hrs a day whether they're on or off.

Call me silly but I always turn off the power strips to the TVs and computers overnight
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett
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