Get Rid of Your Phantoms: Charging Stations and Power Strips

Charging station for all your portable gadgets.

Charging station for all your portable gadgets. Photo by Andrewlp1991

By now we all know what kind of phantoms are lurking about in our homes, right? Well, I am referring to phantom power, of course, which means the power that is sucked out of your home by appliances that, although are turned off, are still plugged in and wasting energy.

One way of dealing with this problem is carefully (and dare I say neurotically) unplugging every appliance when it is not in use. This means your phone chargers, stereos, TVs, computers, and a whole truckload of other gadgets from your bedroom to your kitchen.

I know, you already have enough problems remembering to turn the lights off when you leave a room, so how can you be expected to unplug every device when it’s not in use? Luckily, due to some simple solutions, you don’t have to.

Charging Stations

I don’t know about you, but I try and charge my cell phone and MP3 player overnight while I am asleep. This makes it pretty hard to unplug the charger after the phone is charged after about 4 hours or so. Charging stations either turn off when the phone is fully charged, or they can be pre-set to turn off after a certain amount of time. This is a great solution for this particular phantom.

Smart Power Strips

Are some of your appliances plugged into outlets behind furniture or other hard to reach places? Do you find unplugging appliances all over the house just a pain that you are more likely to forget to do than remember? Consider getting smart power strips which cut the power from anything plugged into it.
The money you save on your electric bill will soon cover the cost of these smart, convenient devices.

Let There be Light: Automatically

Occupancy/Vacancy Sensing Switch

Occupancy/Vacancy Sensing Switch

Would you turn the lights off in a room you just left, if only you could remember? Does turning the lights back on in room you just left make you want to just leave the lights on all the time? Here is an answer that not only adds convenience to your life, but will help save you money. It is a switch that turns on the room lights whenever you enter, and turns them off when no activity in the room is detected. Sounds really cool, right?

It is called Lutron’s Maestro Occupancy/Vacancy Sensing Switch, and it can be installed throughout your home. Put the switch into closets, bathrooms, garages, laundry rooms, or anywhere else lighting is installed. The device also detects ambient natural light, and will not turn on lights during the day when enough light permeates the room. Invented by the same guys who created the dimmer switch.

Learning Thermostat Can Make Smart Choices

If everyone understood that thermostats controlled about half of their energy bill, they would pay more attention to the important role these devices play in their overall budgets.

A new device has recently been introduced which can not only cut the cost of heating and cooling our homes, but can do it in a convenient, easy to use, way.

Watch the following video and learn about the Nest Learning thermostat and how it can help you reduce the amount of energy and money you spend controlling the climate inside your home.


Think About a Dehumidifier to Keep Cool



The Indian days of summer are here. You might not feel quite hot enough indoors to need the air conditioner, but you still might feel more comfortable a little cooler. For those in between days, a dehumidifier might be just the ticket.

Make sure to look for a dehumidifier that is certified with an Energy Star. These models use more efficient refrigeration coils, fans and compressors than ordinary models. That translates into less energy use for the same amount of moisture removal from the air.
A humidifier with an Energy Star endorsement takes out the same amount of moisture from the air as a comparatively-sized conventional unit, yet it used 15% less energy. The amount of energy an efficient humidifier saves each year is enough energy to run an Energy Star refrigerator for 4 months. Amazing.

IDT Energy is constantly considering new and better ways for consumers to save energy and save money, too.

Three Bright and Simple Ideas for Energy Savings at Home

Some energy savings gadgets are high-tech wonders; but others are the manifestations of the simplest ideas. But don’t let their simplicity fool you. Over time much energy and money can be saved by the following clever, but straightforward strategic ideas.

•    Radiator Foil- Did you ever notice that the warmest place in your room is the space behind your radiator? Here’s an idea to get much of that wasted warmth back into the center of the room where the people are and where it belongs. Place a strip of radiator foil between your radiator and the wall, and voila! The heat is reflected back into the room. The foil gets a lot more of the warmth you are paying for to the place it belongs, next to you.

•    Eco Flap- Perhaps you have a letter slot in your door or wall next to your door? If you do you have probably noticed that a lot of unwanted either cold or hot air (depending on the season) gets into your insulated house through this pesky opening. Well there is a simple product that can control much of this unwanted air flow. The Ecoflap letterbox cover replaces the brushes, seals or flaps on the inside of your letterbox, keeping unwanted air out of your house.

automatic radiator bleeder•    Automatic radiator bleeder- Over time air can build up inside your radiator, making it less efficient at keeping your home warm. Until now it was necessary to frequently ‘bleed’ one’s radiators to allow the air to escape, making more room for the warm water circulating in the radiator’s coils. By installing a simple device which automatically allows the air to escape, heating efficiency is substantially improved. The automatic radiator bleeder can save families lots of energy and money, with no extra work.

DIY Double Glazing Saves Money and Energy

Save money and energy with easy to install double glazing

Save money and energy with easy to install double glazing

Enormous amounts of energy pass easily through windows, elevating the costs of keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Placing insulating curtains over the glass windows and doors can be a big boost. The best answer however, aside from simply not having windows, is to install double-glazing, or secondary glazing.

Since one of the best insulators is air, putting double panes in the windows creates a layer of air between them, adding a barrier similar to the warmth produced from a person’s own body heat when he/she wears a down jacket. Just think of double glazing as your window’s very own down comforter.

Double glazing can be expensive. There is a way to cut down costs which is easy, and that is using magnetic secondary glazing. There are places on-line where consumers can send their windows dimensions and receive a made-to-order glass held inside of a frame which comes with a removable magnetic strip. The glass is cut to size and sent to the customer ready to install.

IDT Energy encourages consumers to think about energy saving ideas and utilize them whenever possible, to save money and resources.

IDT Energy: Energy Star and Teaching Kids About Saving Energy

Saving energy is not just a fad. It has to be a way of life if we are serious about preserving resources and saving money. The best way to insure a future of energy savers is to educate our children now about the importance and the methods of saving energy.

Luckily Energy Star has a wonderful website designed to make learning about saving energy fun for kids. the web site introduces the idea of saving energy by giving children the choice of entering three main sections; “Your Planet Needs You! Find Out Why!” “You Can Make Big Changes! Find Out How!” and a section that turns round to offer fun facts of all sorts.

Energy star kidsIDT Energy, together with Energy Star, hopes kids will get involved in saving energy for the future as well as for today.

Energy Fun Facts

Energy providers like IDT Energy know how important proper education can impact energy conservation and monthly savings. Here are some fun energy facts to share with your children or students:

IDT Energy’s Geoffrey Rochwarger on Creating Value

IDT Energy CEO Geoffrey Rochwarger recently wrote an article discussing cost-cutting and creating real value in companies.

He explained: “For many U.S. businesses, one story has played out repeatedly over the last several years: lower revenue and higher earnings. Investors may cheer the short-term results, but it’s unsustainable over the long run. Eventually, the cost-cutting must end and value must be created.

“Managers must evolve their business plans to meet customers’ changing needs. Every business, if it wants to grow, needs to identify how customers’ behaviors change and how this creates new markets—large and niche—that are as yet untapped. This goes for companies large and small,” he continued. “It is crucial for businesses to understand how they can leverage their customer’s additional needs to produce new revenue streams. This can be done in many ways. It may mean offering more services, tailoring existing services to further serve customers’ needs, or adjusting pricing tiers in a way that makes the product or service better for customers while augmenting the business’ earnings potential.”