Control Vampire Loads with automatic timer

When my wife and I head out on vacation (unfortunately not often enough) we like to use an automatic light timer to turn on our lamp (with its CFL)  in the living room for a few hours each day to foil would-be robbers.  (Yes, occasionally I rank home safety over saving a few watts.)  The automatic light timer is a very simple device usually just relegated to Christmas lights and living room lamps; however, it wasn't until I read Tom Harrson's post at on "How to Tame Your DVR's Appetite for Energy" that I realize other uses for the timer.

When answering his self-acclaimed "very very pale green" cousin's question on how she can save energy when her DVR isn't recording TV shows Tom had this advice:

However, consider the following tip: if you have nothing to record between, say midnight to 4pm, you can do this:

1) Plug everything (TV, Cable Box, DVD Player, whatever) into a power strip
2) Plug the power strip into a light timer
3) Set the light timer to turn off at midnight and on at 4pm
4) plug the light timer into the wall

Then, not only will you miss little or nothing, you will get rid of the power of the cable box and the standby power of the TV and whatever else, and have the whole system off for two-thirds of the day.

In another example, say your kid leaves his PS3 or Xbox on even after he's done playing it.  Program the timer to turn it off after his bedtime and to turn on whenever he gets done with his homework.  Presto! Automatic energy savings.

So think about any vampire loads you may have around the house that could benefit from being automatically turned off, get an automatic light timer, and put it to good use!

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My favorite timer for this type of thing is available from Harbor Freight Tools for around $10.00. It is digital with battery backup and you can program numerous on/off events per day and by day of the week etc. It has 2 3 prong outlets. In addition to powering down our DVR etc. we use it to power down the cable modem and wifi routers at night too. Guy
Yet another good idea. I didnt think about that one either.
Oh, and the other really nice feature of the timer that I like (above) is the button that toggles ON/AUTO/OFF/AUTO. This allows me to manually override it ON then press again for AUTO so it turns off at the next programmed time. Same goes for turning it OFF - it will turn ON at the next programmed time. We have on on our propane monitor heater (in Maine) that only turns the heater on in the evening when we are in the living room, but if we want to heat the room in the day time I can just override it easily and not have to remember to turn the heater off later at night.

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