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Kill-a-Watt Devices Available from Your Local Library

February 24, 2011

Did you know that libraries throughout Illinois have the Kill-a-watt device available for checkout?  Through Ameren’s Watt Solutions program, public libraries have received a kit to check out to patrons that includes the Kill-a-watt device and an instruction booklet.  With this device, you can determine just how much energy your appliances and electronics are using at home.  You can also determine how much energy is being wasted through phantom or standby power, that state where a device may be turned “off” but still drawing power through the outlet.  This explains how remote controls are able to communicate with a device that supposedly powered off.  It may not seem like a lot of energy used by a single household, but when you add up all of the homes across the country the impact becomes enormous.  Studies have shown that across the United States, standby power draws enough energy to keep 17 coal-fired power plants running to meet the demand!

Here are some common solutions to reduce or eliminate your phantom power:

  • Unplug devices such at cell phones, laptops, and e-readers once they have been fully charged.  This will also extend the life of the lithium batteries used to power these devices.  There are also unique charge cables, such as the Volt-Star EcoCharger, that have a built in sensor that cuts the power then the charging session is complete.
  • Use a “smart” power strip on your computer or television entertainment center.  By plugging in your computer or television into a control outlet and add the rest of the electronics, the power strip will sense when the control device is turned off and cut the power to the rest of the devices.  This works well for speakers, printers, and DVD or Blue Ray players.
  • When possible, reduce the number of devices.  Do you really need that old VCR?  Do you need both a printer and a scanner when you can get an all-in-one device?

Watch the following youtube video released through Ameren’s Watt Solutions program:

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