April 18, 2012 at 3:57 PM ET
Getting a handle on your household energy consumption can benefit your wallet and the environment.
Your heating and cooling usage is an obvious target, but it's also important to monitor your gadgets and electronics gear. The average US home constantly leaks about 50 watts of power from products left in standby mode, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. That's about five percent of the residential electricity use in the US. And for every watt of power we constantly draw per year, we pay about a dollar.
Below you'll find devices that help determine where you're losing your money and ensure you keep spending under control.
Saving money on heating & cooling
Black & Decker TLD100 thermal leak detector
You'll see big savings on your monthly energy bill when you stop heat and air conditioning from leaking out of your house. A thermal leak detector, like the Black& Decker TLD100 can show you where your home's leaks are. Once the device has read the ambient temperature, you can start checking around windows, door frames and other places air could be escaping. The light will change to red for warmer spots and blue for cooler spots. You can set the temperature tolerances to one, five or 10 degrees. - $28.70
The Nest Thermostat is smart enough to know when you're away. So if you forget, it can lower the temperature about two hours after you've left. It's continually monitoring your habits, so it can automatically adjust the temperature based on your needs. And, Nest lets you know when you're saving energy, rewarding you with a green leaf icon. Even small changes to your thermostat settings can impact your monthly energy bill. For instance, each degree above 68° F can add three percent to the amount of energy needed for heating, according to the Edison Electric Institute. - $249
Reducing energy use
Monster MP HT 800G Home Theater PowerCenter
When you're TV is off, you don't need your DVD player, surround receiver or game system turned on. With The Monster MP HT 800 G Home Theater PowerCenter with Monster GreenPower, you plug your TV into the green master plug on the lower right, and the outlets on the same row to the left, the GreenPower outlets, shut down automatically when the TV is turned off. The three outlets on the top row stay on, so you can continue to record programs on your DVR. In case of a power surge, you'll get 2160 Joules of protection and an alarm will sound. - $42.58
Lutron Maestro dimmer with occupancy sensor
Have a light someone's always forgetting to turn off? Install a motion-sensing light switch that will automatically shut off when the room is empty, like the Lutron Maestro Dimmer with Occupancy Sensor. It has a 150 degree motion detector with an angle up to 30 feet. You can set the sensitivity and the time or operate it manually. The light will go back on at whatever dimming level you set it at last. For use with incandescent and dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs. - $30.22
Belkin Conserve Insight energy use monitor
Want to find out which electronics items are the biggest energy hogs in your home? Plug suspects like your networked printer, TV or even a whole powerstrip into the Belkin Conserve Insight Energy-Use Monitor to find out. It tracks and displays the annual cost (based on the pre-loaded U.S.-average rate or your own rate), CO2 emissions and power consumption. And if the outlet is hard to reach, the display's six-foot cord make it easy to put it in a place that’s convenient to read. - $26.98
Belkin Conserve socket
Curling irons, space heaters, coffee makers: they're all easy to accidentally leave on when you're rushing out the door. So to ensure they're turned off, you can plug them into a Belkin Conserve Socket. Set an interval of 30 minutes, three hours or six hours to have the device automatically cut the power. Press a button, and you can reset the timer. A green light lets you know that power is flowing. - $9.99
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