Use and switch off power bars

Why? Many computers, televisions, and other devices draw power even when they are turned off. Since plugs to these devices can be tough to remove from the outlet and reconnect, use a power bar. With a flip of the switch, you can easily cut off power to multiple devices at once, saving time, energy, and money.
What to look for:

  • Surge protection power bars with circuit breakers or surge protectors. Protect connected devices in the event of a short-circuit or power surge.
  • Programmable power bars with timers. Power down connected appliances according to a schedule you set.
  • "Smart" power bars that link electronics together. Shutting down one "master" device, such as a computer, automatically turns off peripheral devices, like speakers or printers, on the same power bar.
  • Remote controls. Turn off hard-to-reach power bars with the push of a button as you leave the room.
  • More spacing between sockets. This ensures that the power bar can fit multiple large power adaptors. This is an especially important feature if you are buying a power bar for a home office.

Things to think about:

  • If you often forget to turn off power bars when you leave a room, try creating reminders. A reminder could be a note by the doorway or a brightly colored object near the power bars.
  • Position power bars so you don't have to reach behind furniture to unplug devices.
  • Power bars can also help you organize tangled cords. Try color-coding both ends of your power cords to keep track of which plug is which.

Where to find them: General retailers carry basic power bars. Visit an office supply store, hardware store, or electronics retailer if you are looking for a more sophisticated product.

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Save up to $35 per year

Up-front costs: About $20-$30 for a basic model and $40-$50 for an advanced model.