Most homes have a handful of appliances or electronics that keep sipping away at electricity even when you're not using them. Many electronics companies have gotten better at implementing standby power settings that curb energy use, but still many haven't. While the best thing is to unplug, it's not always easy to remember. In the past few years, many smart outlet type devices have come out that put the kill switch on those vampires when not in use and now an even smarter one has hit the market.
The Envirotouch outlet features one-touch timer buttons that allow you to set a length of time for the appliance to run before it gets shut off, so you'll never have to worry about forgetting to pull the plug on coffee makers and other small appliances, video game consoles, heaters, battery chargers and turning off indoor and outdoor lights.
The outlet cover can be retrofitted to all outlet types and features four time lengths that can be set with the push of one button: 15, 45, 60 and 120 minutes. The shorter times would be well-suited for small appliances that are only used for a few minutes, while the longer ones would be good for lighting or heaters.
The Australian company estimates that users can save AUD$110 (US$90) a year for five 50 W halogen lights that would otherwise be left on for three hours a day and AUD$146 (US$120) a year for a 2,400 W heater left on for two hours a day. Of course your savings would vary depending on what appliances you use and for how long, plus the cost of energy in the country you live in, but curbing energy use will always save money.
There are four different models of the Envirotouch that are compatible with wall outlets and switches. One even lets you set daily power cycles for appliances instead of just one use at a time.
The devices will be available in Australia in early 2015 for AUS$75.95 (US$63) and in other countries soon after that.