Power Bricks aka Wall Warts
Posted by Norman Fong
We all have power supplies littered with little power bricks. These wall warts can constantly jack up your power bill, even when items are not in use, hence the term vampire power or phantom power use. Lawrence Berkley National Labs estimates that 10% of residential power use is wasted toward this as most homes have 40 products constantly drawing power. Older power bricks are also not very efficient in converting AC power to DC power, causing waste. Save up to $125 a year by zapping hidden energy use.
We have covered power use by technology products in the past, including use of a Kill a watt to measure power consumption. Yes, just unplugging them or turning off the power strip they are plugged into will work.
New devices now come with power saving power bricks that were required July 1, 2006 by the California’s California Energy Commission or CEC regulation, as well as the federal government’s Energy Independence and Security Act of July 1, 2008.
You should see an “Efficiency Level IV” tag on the brick that have very low “no load power consumption”. You could even replace old power supplies with these newer ones. They should draw a maximum of 0.75 watts when in No Load mode. Energy Star 1.1 requires minimum power efficiency of 80%, while a future 2.0 version will up it to 87%.
California 2012 New Energy Efficiency Charger Rules
In January 2012, California regulators passed a more stringent rules to ensure power chargers are more efficient. The motivating factor was the fact that 66% of power chargers use is wasted aka vampire power. Many chargers already meet this new rules. It is expected that $300 million will be saved by using the new products. The new rules take effect on Feb. 1, 2013, for chargers used with consumer goods, such as phones and power tools. Jan. 1, 2014, for industrial chargers, such as forklifts. Jan. 1, 2017, for commercial equipment chargers, including walkie-talkies for emergency personnel and portable bar-code scanners.
Be sure to read: What makes a Green Computer or Electronics Product?
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