Monday, November 16, 2009

Hunting the Wily Wall Wart

One way to save money on your electric bill is to go on a Wall Wart Hunt. Almost all electronic devices nowadays are never really off. With a lot of these in your home it can be a significant drain of electricity and money.

In an effort to save themselves money a manufacturer will buy a cheap external power transformer (the wall wart) which has already passed the FCC and UL tests, which saves them on the costs of those tests. These transformers do just that, they transform AC wall power into DC power the electronics can use.

If the transformer is warm or hot even with nothing is plugged into it, that means it is one of the very cheap ones that is wasting a lot of your power and money. Most of the new ones use a different technology and run cooler and use less power.

Few things annoy me more then finding a wall wart and having no idea what it goes to. I end up wandering around the house pulling everything into it to see if it works or not. Now whenever we get something with one I label it right away. Much more peace of mind for me.

A lot of them go to portable electronics so I have put together a little charging station near the door. Everything is in one place and with all the transformers on a power-strip, I can turn it off when I leave and they no longer cost money to do nothing all day. This is also a good place to keep your Evacuation Kit, you can grab everything as you leave the house.

Wall warts come in all shapes, sizes and orientations. I often find one or more that will block an adjoining plug on a power-strip. Something that I've found that helps a lot are those little 6 inch/15 cm extension cords, they allow you to use all the plugs without the transformers getting in each others way.