Sam Houston EC News
An Outlet for Energy Savings
Latest power strips and plugs offer internet connectivity

Products such as the ThinkEco smart outlet (pictured here) and the Insteon On/Off Outlet can be controlled remotely.
IMAGE: ThinkEco

Does the ebb and flow of your electric bill have you searching for an affordable way to better control your energy use? The latest in next-generation energy-saving devices may provide some relief.

New smart power strips and plugs feature surge protection just as their predecessors but also tie in the smart functionality of an internet-connected device. These tools enable you to fully shut off power to your devices to prevent them from consuming electricity when they’re switched off—with just a few clicks and swipes on your smartphone. Several devices found inside your home are known to produce phantom loads—using power even when they’re “off.” In fact, most entertainment systems consist of several phantom loads that come from TVs, DVD players and gaming consoles.

There are several different kinds of energy-saving outlets available, but there are two factors you should consider. First is size; there are many sizes, ranging from a single external outlet to a power strip with multiple sockets. The second thing you’ll want to consider is Wi-Fi connectivity. Internet-connected outlets, commonly known as smart plugs, enable you to remotely control an outlet through your smartphone, tablet or home assistant (such as Google Home or Amazon Echo).

Fortunately, these energy-saving outlets are affordable for most folks. The average smart outlet goes for $10–$20 online and has the potential to pay for itself within two years depending on how often you use it.

Smart plugs typically come with simple instructions to download an accompanying app on your smartphone and then connect the plug to your home’s Wi-Fi, allowing you to turn the device on and off using your phone.

Through the app, you can have devices automatically turn off at a set time each night and turn on every morning when you’re ready to use them. If you want to use your TV, for example, at a time that’s outside the preset hours, you can easily switch the device on through the smart outlet’s smartphone app.

TAGS: Energy Efficiency, Technology

Visit the Sam Houston EC website

Sign up for the Texas Co-op Power E-Newsletter


Are you a co-op member?

Don't ask again