Understanding Energy Consumption In Tech Households
Do you or the people in your household love electronics? Are powerful computer, big screen televisions, and entertainment systems a part of your lifestyle? Although many devices have prominent Energy Star compliance stickers and massive increases in efficiency over their predecessors in decades past, some of the more high-performance devices still have fairly high electrical demand. Here's an overview of electrical demand in home technology to understand how to control your consumption beyond unplugging everything:
Computer Electrical Demand And Power Supply Capacity
How much power does a computer really use? If you're not a computer expert or haven't looked into the technical specifications, there's one place to look that can give you most of the answers: the power supply.
Your computer's power supply unit is like a gatekeeper for the electricity that is tapped from the outlet and distributed through the system. Unfortunately, power supply measurements can be shocking to inexperienced computer users because of the way that wattage is used, but not explained very well.
A power supply's wattage label is just a capacity. A 1000w (watt) power supply doesn't actually draw 1000w of electricity day in and day out; the different components inside the system will demand electricity as needed, and can only draw up to that 1000w maximum.
It's not a bad idea to get a large power supply, but there's no need to take this new information to get the biggest power supply you can buy. For custom computers, many of the most power-hungry components such as the processor and video card will explain their wattage demands. There are even power consumption calculators at some power supply vendors to help you gauge your needs using the brand names and model numbers inside your computer.
Power Saving Options Versus Vampire Devices
Through the 1990's to modern times, energy conservation has become a more important, well-understood, and often lectured part of the American lifestyle. The children raised on Captain Planet episodes and commercials about the dangers of vampire devices or leeched power consumption have their own, almost adult children, and the issue needs a bit of updating.
The concept behind vampire devices is simple: if you leave something plugged into an outlet, it will still draw electricity. This was a major problem up until the turn of the millennium, as some of the power was significant enough to put tens of dollars on residential bills and hundreds or thousands of dollars on business bills.
The One Watt Initiative changes the landscape of power reduction and efficient power use by setting achievable goals for electronics producers. More devices with better power management entered the market, but a smaller usage can still be a waste--but inconvenience from unplugging can be just as expensive.
If you can confirm that your device uses near a single watt or less, the question is less about the power consumed by the device and more about what you'd have to do to start it up again. When you unplug a computer or other device, do you have to spend a lot of time waiting for it to start up again? Can you afford that time?
Not all electronics are for fun, and not all device users can afford to sit around as their devices start up again. Before unplugging everything--or demanding that others unplug everything--make sure that you're not causing waste and financial problems in another area with what seems like a good idea.
Contact a home energy management professional like those at Craftsman Electric Inc to get a more exact measurement of your home energy use to get a more accurate power conservation plan.