For those willing to spend a little—but not a lot—to cut energy costs, these three devices fit the bill.
Kill A Watt. Plug electronics and appliances into this handy device to instantly find out how much electricity they’re using—and how much money they’re costing you. Maybe the old, second refrigerator in your garage is costing you more than it’s worth to keep those cans of soda cold. Or perhaps your new window air conditioner isn’t delivering the energy savings it promised. The Kill A Watt gives you the power to pinpoint energy hogs, so you can find savings on your bill. (Cost: $30)
LED light bulb. Even more efficient and longer-lasting than its cousin, the compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb, an LED can save you up to $100 over its lifetime, which can be a quarter of a century. LEDs are fully dimmable and can be used in a variety of sockets. Although the bulbs are more expensive than CFLs and incandescents, LED costs have dropped dramatically over the last few years and easily pay for themselves—and then some—over time. (Cost: $10 per bulb on up)
Smart power strip. When you shut off your television, do your DVD player, video game console and speakers stay on? All those hours of “standby” mode can add up, tacking precious kilowatt-hours onto your bill. A smart power strip eliminates this problem. By plugging your television into the “control” outlet, a smart power strip automatically detects when that device is powered off, and cuts off power to connected devices. Smart power strips also contain “constant hot” outlets that are not connected to the control device. That means electronics that you may want to leave on standby, like a cable box, won’t power down completely when your television turns off. (Cost: $30)
What gadgets help you manage your energy usage? Let us know in the comments.