As someone living on their own, I try to find different ways I can shave off a couple of dollars from my bills.
And as far as electricity goes, there’s one all-encompassing way to save on that upcoming monthly payment: have less devices using power.
For me, I just unplug all the devices that I don’t need on before I go to bed or leave the house. While I do this, though, I start to wonder if there’s a more convenient and faster way to only have the essentials plugged in.
After doing some searching, I think I found my answer.
In this article, we’ll be going over what I’ve found about Master Controlled Surge Protectors and how they save energy and money by having one device control the power going to multiple others.
Surge Protector Basics
Now, you probably already know the ropes on what a surge protector is and what it does, but it never hurts to review a little bit.
Essentially, surge protectors allow for more than one device to make use of a singular wall outlet by outputting the electrical current through multiple outlets of its own.
More importantly, in my opinion, surge protectors shield devices from random spikes in voltage which can harm or even destroy them.
One piece of equipment I like to think of as a somewhat beefier version of surge protectors is the Uninterruptible Power Supply, or UPS.
These provide instant backup power to electronics in the event of a power outage, so you can safely turn them off rather than have power be abruptly cut from them. Some also include a basic surge protector within them as well, for double the protection!
You can see surge protectors and UPS’s being used in computer setups, video game console setups, home theater setups, and pretty much any other setup that requires multiple devices to be plugged in simultaneously.
Of course, when having all of those devices plugged in, more energy is being used, which can add to your electrical bill. Most people, which used to include me, think that simply turning off the devices that aren’t in use will completely solve that problem.
However, I found that I couldn’t be completely energy-efficient without getting to know a sneaky, ghostly, electrical enemy: Phantom Power.
The Phantom Power Menace
So what is Phantom Power? I didn’t really understand what exactly it was at first either, but the more I looked into it the more I got the general gist of it.
Phantom Power is essentially the energy used by devices and appliances that are turned off, yet are still plugged into a wall outlet.
The reason I found that devices still use energy, even while not being turned on, is to be “readily available” to be used at the press of a power button or the use of a remote controller.
Another possible reason these devices use energy is to stay connected to servers for potential updates to whatever software they may use.
While the cost of Phantom Power may not be as much as having devices on and using “Active Power” (term I came up with on my own), it can still add up and increase your monthly bill when it doesn’t need to.
Combating Phantom Power With A Normal Surge Protector
It’s actually quite simple to fight back against Phantom Power with any old surge protector.
When you’re done using all the devices on the surge protector for the day, simply turn the surge protector off and unplug it from the wall outlet. This renders every device that is connected to the surge protector, including the protector itself, incapable of drawing anymore power from the wall outlet.
Like I said, a really simple concept. However, if you have multiple devices connected to multiple surge protectors, then doing this process every day can become monotonous very quickly.
If you’d rather just turn one device off and have the surge protector do the rest of the work for you, instead of doing a daily plug in/unplug ritual, then Master Controlled Surge Protectors might be more your style.
Master Controlled Surge Protector Basics
From what I understand, Master Controlled Surge Protectors operate just like normal surge protectors, except that one of their outlets has control over other outlets.
What I mean by this is that one outlet acts as the “Master,” which controls whether or not the “Controlled” or “Slave” outlets get power.
If the device connected to the “Master” outlet is turned off, then the devices connected to the “Slave” outlets no longer receive power.
When the “Master” device is turned back on, power is allowed to the “Slave” outlets once again.
How These Save You Money
Now, the short answer to this is that Master Controlled Surge Protectors fight against Phantom Power by cutting electricity to certain devices, which saves you from having to pay for your devices to use “extra” electricity when they’re off.
Another way they can save you money, which might be less common, is that they somewhat automate power management.
So, if you have a computer setup connected to this type of surge protector, you won’t have to worry about any accessories (like your monitor, wireless phone charger, whatever) drawing power when you shut your computer down. Once the “Master” device (your computer) is off, no electrical power will run to the “Slave” devices (your accessories).
If you’re interested in exactly how much you can save with Master Controlled Surge Protectors, then I’ve found some info that can help you out.
According to the National Resource Defense Council, Phantom Power accounted for about a quarter of an average American household’s electrical bill in 2015.
This could be calculated as a total of $19 billion from everyone, or $165 annually per household.
These numbers are just an average, so you could be spending more money on Phantom Power, depending on the number of devices you own, without even knowing it!
With all that said, the main point is this: Master Controlled Surge Protectors could potentially save you hundreds annually on your electric bill. If that isn’t a top selling point, then I don’t know what is!
Where A Master Controlled Surge Protector Might Be Useful
As stated above, these types of surge protectors would do quite well in a computer setup, since it involves multiple devices that require power from a wall outlet.
Another scenario where they’d be useful is a home theater. If you only need the components when you want to watch a movie, having them not being able to draw any power when not in use is a great perk that comes along with using Master Controlled Surge Protectors.
A video game console setup would use the same principle. When you’re not using any of the consoles, it’s best to completely block their ability to get power. This is especially the case with consoles since I’ve found that they can be quite the user of Phantom Power.
Brands To Consider
I don’t know about you, but if I’m trying to find a good surge protector to keep my devices from being fried, I’m definitely looking into the overall quality and reputability of both the protector and the company that makes it.
And since there are so many different brands to choose from, it can seem a bit daunting, especially if you’re entrusting these brands with the life of your electronics.
So, in my research, I’ve found APC and Tripp Lite to be well-trusted brands with high-quality surge protectors and UPS’s. Both of which also showcase products with energy-saving Master/Controlled options as well. I believe CyberPower is worth looking into, too.
Whether it be a fancy computer setup, a home theater, a mass of multiple gaming systems, or some other instance of expensive devices grouped together, a surge protector is always a must.
You want to keep your electronics, and your wallet, from going up in smoke.
It could be argued, though, that if you end up passively paying potential hundreds yearly to power devices when they’re not even on, then the whole “protecting your wallet” thing could be for naught.
You can save this money by actively making sure that your power-hungry devices are all unplugged when not in use, though this can become a monotonous ritual you’d have to face every day.
With Master Controlled Surge Protectors, you won’t have to worry about remembering to unplug every electronic that could add to your Phantom Power bill.
So, I hope this article helped shed some light on a very useful and helpful piece of technology that saves you some time and, more importantly, money. Thanks for reading!