I love electronics. The problem is that they all suck up electricity like mad. There was a time when I would have several computers running all through the night. These days, I’m much more aware of energy concerns and try to be more responsible with my usage. Having a huge electric bill is no fun either. That’s why I was pleased to get this little device in the mail.
The TV TrickleSaver from TrickleStar is a little device that sits between your TV and its power source to stop it from slowly using power throughout the night when it would normally be in standby mode. This standby power is also called vampire power because your devices sit there all night sucking up power. The goal is to stop those power-sucking devices, be more green, and put a little green back in your pocket. But does it work?
Installing TV TrickleSaver
I really shouldn’t use that word, installing. You don’t install a TrickleSaver any more than you would install your dirty laundry in the washer. You just plug the TrickleSaver into the wall (or surge protector in my case) and then plug your TV into the TrickleSaver. It also has a secondary (“slave”) outlet for plugging in an accessory device like a game system or DVD/VCR/Bluray player. On the end opposite the power outputs they’ve placed the Trimmer, which adjusts the threshold (watts of the master device) at which devices switch on and off. The instructions point out a couple very important things. First, you probably don’t need to mess with the Trimmer. It tells you to just try it out first and see if it works at its current setting, and it did for me. This is a big plus because most people don’t want to have to figure out wattage and experiment. If it doesn’t work right off the bat, you can just adjust and test. The second important setup note is about what devices to use with it. Of course, you want toplug in your TV, but which of your accessories? It warns against plugging in devices with hard drives in them. I’d worry that it would interrupt nighttime recording of shows on my DVR, anyway, so I left the DVR alone. I would suggest plugging in some other accessory as the slave. Once everything is plugged in, your done.
(View the rest of the TV TrickleStar product images)
As a test, I hooked up my TV and XBox. Unfortunately, I don’t have a meter to watch the electricity usage change on the spot, but my TV is relatively new, so it has a power button that is always lit up. It’s as if it’s constantly reminding me of my power consumption. I set it all up and turned off the TV and off went the power switch light, too. Great. So it works, but what about the hassle of having that in the way and installing? As I mentioned above, the setup is pretty simple, so that’s not a problem for me. It’s doesn’t really get in the way, either. It has a couple mounting holes on the back, so you could put a couple screws in the wall and mount it if you want. Personally, I don’t like to mount stuff any more than necessary. I prefer to just let it sit behind everything else. It’s not tiny, but it’s not so big that it can’t be tucked behind your A/V components.
Being and saving green
This is all about being green for the environment and saving a few bucks while you’re at it. Even the packaging says “Save Electricity. Save $$$. Save Earth.”(tm). I’m sure the first thing you want to know is “how much?”. That was my first question. Luckily, they have a handy little savings calculator. I punched in my TV (42″ LCD), and my XBOX. Then it asked how many hours a day my TV is on during the week (6) and on weekends (8) which I entered and the gears started turning. After some calculation, TrickleStar says I’ll save 1198 kWh and 789 kg CO2 per year. Not bad, but what about my wallet? Here’s the part that surprised me a bit. It says I’ll save almost $180 a year. Of course, that depends on my energy costs from my provider, but even if that’s off by a little, that’s great for a device that costs just under $20.
This was one of those devices that left me checking the site for similar products. I am contemplating picking up another one for the other TV for another $100 or so a year in savings. Paying around $20 once to save upwards of $100 a year is a no-brainer and it helps you be more green. If you’re looking to lower your carbon footprint and your electric bill at the same time, this is a great way to do it.