Belkin Conserve Surge Strip: Tackle Vampires Wirelessly

We've written a few blogs now on Energy Vampire Loads, including The Biggest Vampire in Your Home - The Cable Box and How to use an Electronic Timer to control Vampire Loads.  But one  of the best products I've seen to control vampire loads in your home is the Belkin Conserve Energy Saving Surge Strip.

The surge protectors I have in my home have switches on them, but the surge protectors are usually hidden behind desks or entertainment centers.  Not only do I have to fight an array of electronic equipment and cables to get to the switches, but you can't imagine how inconvenient it is to plop down on the couch after a hard days work and turn on the TV...only to remember you forgot to turn the surge protector switch back on (it really is excruciating).  The Belkin surge strip solves this problem by adding a wireless remote to turn the strip on and off.  This way, if you have your TV plugged into the surge strip you can just use the Belkin remote to turn the surge strip on and "Eureka!" have moving pictures.

This product is currently selling for $34.99 on Amazon.  It seems like Belkin is coming out with some nice products for the energy conscious consumer considering they just released their Insight Energy Cost Monitor.  Some of the energy saving surge strip product features include ( I am plagiarizing most of this from the Belkin Surge Strip Amazon page):

  • Eight surge-protected outlets, six of which are "switchable" and two that are "always-on." This means that you can connect up to six devices that can be controlled by the remote, and two devices that will always stay on. The "always-on" outlets are useful for devices that require a constant flow of energy, such as routers, alarm clocks, cable modems, or DVRs.
  • Adjustable channels, which means that you can control multiple Conserves in different rooms without interference. It also means you can control up to several surge protectors with a single remote to really maximize your energy savings.

In a comment on the Belkin Conserve Energy Saving Surge Strip on Amazon by P. Colin McGraw :

Studies suggest that 5% of America's power usage is consumed up by "phantom load", when devices that you turned off continue to consume at least some electricity. Turning power strips off cuts off "vampire" devices and prevents them from using electricity, but I tend to leave my power strips on because they're hidden under a desk or behind furniture or sometimes even in a different room.

That's where the Belkin Conserve power strip comes in, offering a convenient way to turn your power strips off with a remote switch that you can mount on top of your desk, near your TV couch, or by a light switch. You can even configure a single switch to power off multiple power strips, or just have each strip operate on its own frequency with its own switch.

I've been using my Conserve for about two months, and it's worked flawlessly the entire time. I even tested how well it shut the power to my devices off and, sure enough, my Kill A Watt instrument showed that power usage dropped to near 0 watts. What impressed me most about that number is how little power the Conserve apparently uses waiting for a signal from the switch.

This type of device reminds me of the GreenSwitch, which is the same principle except that the GreenSwitch is made more for items that are wired into your home's electrical panel, like lighting or a thermostat.  The Belkin surge strip is only for items that would normally plug into a surge strip (120 V appliances).  However, if you were only considering the GreenSwitch to turn off things like a TV, Gaming System, or Office Equipment, then you will definitely want to consider the Belkin Energy Saving Surge Strip and save yourself a few hundred bucks over GreenSwitch!  Overall, it's great to see yet another product to help consumers save energy in the home.

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At 34.00 how many years would it take to re-coup the cost. Seems pointless.
Clever idea - tackling vampire loads . . . with a vampire load! The radio receiver in the power strip is always on. Bet it draws about half a Watt. I'll stay with the outlet strips that have "dumb old switches" in them, and get some exercise bending over to turn them on/off! :)
I put the dumb old switch at the front of the AV jungle ... to make it easy to reach (if it had a slightly bigger rocker switch I'd be able to flip it on/off with my toe for maximum convenience). Guy has a good point. How much power does this strip draw when it is "off"?
ckmapawatt's picture
Yea, yea, I get it. I'm lazy. Good points though. Not sure about the vampire load of the radio receiver, they don't show it in their specs.
BTW I have my power strip mounted under my desktop. Sit down and flick a switch.

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