I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Silent Planet Killers that we are allegedly harboring in our living rooms: TVs, VCRs and other consumer electronics which burn electricity even when turned off.
I have a co-worker who jumped on that bandwagon early on and dutifully switches off the living room power bar each evening. She’s a pinko, so I didn’t take her self-righteous claims about the resulting the power savings seriously.
Over the past few years, though, I’ve seen this claim repeated in a lot of magazine and newspaper articles, some of which were written by people not previously suspected of being pinkos. When I saw the “turn off your power bar” advice recently repeatedly on Morningstar, a stock market research site and generally sensible handmaiden to capitalism, I decided it was time to finally take a serious look at the issue.
I recently bought a few P3 Kill A Watt devices in preparation for building some Tweet A Watts (no relation) for the main receptacles in my apartment. As a way of testing both the Kill A Watt units and the Silent Planet Killer claim, I plugged one into my living room wall and began unplugging things.
I started out with the TV turned on, whispering about some golfers, and the DVD and VCR players turned on but just sitting around and looking pretty. For the purpose of this experiment, I brought an old incandescent 60W bulb out of storage and turned it on, along with a 2nd lamp burning a basically equivalent 13W compact florescent bulb.
And the final 6 mA and 1 watt? It turned out to be the DC adapter for my Linksys router — the Kill A Watt readings didn’t drop to 0 until I unplugged the adapter as well. What’s up with that, Cisco? Building global warming, one watt at a time?
So what can we conclude from all this?
- The Silent Planet Killers in my living room, combined, burn 9 watts (not counting the soon-to-be-banished lighted power bar). Almost 3/4 of what the fluorescent light bulb burns.
- Would you leave 3/4 of a lightbulb on all the time? Me neither.
- My wife says, tough, she’s not going to reprogram the TV every morning.
- My wife says that I have too much time on my hands.
- My router’s DC power adapter is the real global menace.
- As well as my wife.