Smart Homes And Vampire Load

Some Advice on Connected Home Setup Dreams

Learn about standby power, positives and Negative Aspects, and Requirements for Connected Smart Homes.

Episode #11-45 released on July 6, 2021

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Many of you are moving, or are interested in moving, from a traditional household to an always-on smart household, where everything can be activated by voice command, with the use of your smart phones, timers, and even the presence of various devices without the need for direct task requests. This always-on smart home lifestyle does have one particular issue, power consumption.

When we refer to power, we are obviously talking about electricity, most of the time. Now, since heating and cooling can be power by various fuels, we will use the term power universally.

Everything draws power when they are powered, and we all know this. There is a reason why we are told to use LED bulbs, turn off the lights when we are not using it, or even dialing back the heating and cooling when we are not home. But did you know many other devices draw power even when they are not plugged? The term for this is vampire draw and refers to standby power. Depending on the device, standby power may or may not be an issue, but the number of devices in standby can quickly explode when dealing with a smart home concept. Every light switch when powered off, conventionally uses no power at all, but a smart switch will continue to draw power. If I replaced all the switches in my place with smart switches, I would already have 8 always powered standby devices. If you make each lightbulb RGB, that adds more standby devices, the thermostats can, also, be changed out with smart wireless ones that will demand more power than basic digital thermostats, etc.

The more devices you add, the more power you are going to use, so the question is this, is it worth it?

If we are talking from a cost point of view, that depends on your income.

If we are talking from an ecological point of view, that depends on both power source and the power management features of the device. For example, some smart connected thermostats may actually save you power by allowing you to program a schedule, or just turn off heating or cooling remotely if something happens and you will be away for longer than initially thought.

Then there is the option of self-generated power sources, do you already have solar or wind power powering your home in part or completely. Beyond initial cost, a self-powered home will have little cost and only be dependent on power generated and stored, which can be more than enough for the home to be green.

Now, if power draw was ever going to be a concern, you can do a few things. You can refrain from using any smart devices or use smart devices that are more power efficient. You can simplify the setup, too, why have many smart bulbs which all draw standby power, why not use a single smart switch in those cases. Or use dedicated smart switches for each circuit. Decide what needs to be smart device enabled and what does not.

After all that, also, use devices with master switches that detect specific devices that may need power only when others are powered, like some surge bars and UPS battery backups. An example is my stream monitoring PC is always powered completely off unless my main computer is on, so instead of two computers being in standby all day, I only have one of them powered. The same for my extra monitors, they, also, have no power unless the main pc is on. This can be done through your house without sacrificing the smart home aspect.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net

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