accessing . . .

accessing . . .

Home Care Library

Slaying Your Worst Electricity Vampire

Did you know that it can cost you more for the electricity to keep your DVR box in standby mode, than it does for your subscription fee? This video and article discusses a smart device which allows your DVR box to turn off and on only when you need it . . . so you can slay one of the worst vampire power hogs in your home.

"Energy vampires" are appliances in your home that suck power even when they are turned off. And one of the worst offenders in your home can be your DVR box (digital video recorder), which depending on the model, can be a real energy hog when it is turned off but still plugged in. The challenge with a DVR box, is that a simple power strip or timer (which are great for shutting off vampire power from appliances like computers, speakers, plasma TV’s, etc.) don’t work with something like a DVR box, that you want to have power when it is time to record a particular show.

To the rescue is a smart device called a "Programmable Power Outlet", that sells for under $20. In this video and article, we discuss:
  • How it Works

  • What We Like About It

  • How It Saves You Money



The "Programmable Power Outlet" is a small device that you plug an appliance into, and then it automatically provides power in accordance with the times that you have programmed in. The device can be plugged directly into a wall outlet, or it can be plugged into an extension cord or power strip (helpful accessory: energy saving outlets).

So for example if you have set your DVR to record a show at 2pm in the afternoon, then you can program the Programmable Power Outlet to come on 10 minutes before 2pm (to give the DVR box time to warm up) and then it can be programmed to turn back off for after your recording is scheduled to be finished.

The Programmable Power Outlet has a heavy-duty design, so that it can handle the load of multiple appliances. Being rated to handle up to 15 amps, you can also plug your TV and gaming consoles along with your DVR box into the device, and save all of them from sucking vampire power when they are in standby.

You can program in up to 14 settings, with a total of 98 on/off events. And these events can be can be programmed daily or weekly. The device also has an “ON / OFF” override button on it, so that you can still turn your appliances on when you need them.

In addition, the device has a "random" mode, so you can use it to control lights when you are on vacation, to give your home a "lived in" look to deter burglars.

One downside to using the device however, is that you will need to locate the device where you can have easy access to it, if you need to frequently program it or use the override ON / OFF button (helpful accessory: programmable wireless outlet remote controls).


There are a number of things that we like about this smart device. First, at under $20, it is a good value. Next, because it is programmable, when you set your DVR you can set the Programmable Power Outlet at the same time, even if you want to record on a daily or weekly basis. And we liked that it has an simple ON / OFF button so you can easily over-ride the the settings, without disturbing them. Lastly, we liked that it had a battery back-up, so that if there is a power failure at your home, you don’t have to re-program the device.

However, for some people, they may find that the digital display is a bit on the small side.


If your DVR model is a big hog (like some of the Motorola models which can consume up to a whooping 28 watts when they are in standby), even if you never turned it on, it would still be costing you around $50 per year in vampire electricity use . Probably more than the cost of your DVR subscription fees! With the Programmable Power Outlet, the DVR is only turned on when you need it, and so you avoid the standby electricity use. At a cost of under $20, the benefits can pay for the device in just a matter of months.


Vampire power is a waste of energy, and hopefully this video and article has helped you learn a way to slay one of the worst vampire hogs in your home.

Related Articles . . .

Stop Paying for Electricity 'Vampires'
They are lurking in your home, and they attack while you are sleeping, when you leave . . . well basically, they attack all the time. It's the devices which continue to suck power, even when you have their switches turned off. more
Why NOT to Get a Home Energy Audit
Having a home energy audit done by a qualified professional can show you how to reduce your home’s energy bill by up to a whopping 30%. But what are the reasons that you should NOT get a home energy audit? more
Kill-A-Watt Tips
A Kill-a-Watt electricity monitor is a great tool for helping you to identify ways to reduce electricity use around your home. Here are some tips on how to use this device. more
Where Your Home Energy Dollar Goes
Ever wonder where your energy dollars go in your home? This article shows you at-a-glance, so that you can focus on the areas that will give you the biggest bang-for-the-buck for reducing your home energy bill. more
How to Save $20 on Energy in April (or May)
This article and video describe very easy things that you can do, that will save you $20 on your energy bill during the months of April or May. And the nice thing is that these are all tips that you can do at little or no cost. more
Programmable Thermostats Only Save If Used Right
Programmable thermostats can be a great way to save you money on energy, however, they can only provide savings when they are used properly. Find out how programmable thermostats work and the right way to use them. more