By Joe Levi | September 7, 2011 12:16 AM
We need to talk. You’ve got warts. They’re ugly. They’re unsightly. They’re big. They’re draining your power… and they’re spreading!
No, I’m not talking about the kind of warts that you get on your feet, rather, I’m talking about the kind of warts that are “growing” on your wall and are sucking down electricity 24/7! You read that correctly! Your unsightly wall-warts are consuming power, generating heat, and running up your power bill all the time, even when you’re not charging your smartphone, tablet, or Bluetooth headset.
Those warts convert your wall-outlet’s AC power into DC power that your gadgets use, but that conversion doesn’t stop when your device is fully charged. It doesn’t even stop when you unplug your device!
So, how can you save power, and hopefully get rid of those unsightly wall-warts?
Your first option is to simply unplug your wall-wart when your device is fully-charged. It’s simple, but it might mean you have to wake up in the middle of the night to physically unplug your phone’s wall-wart.
Since most of our devices are USB-powered, you can get a simple powered USB hub with enough ports to charge all your gadgets at once. USB charging usually takes more time than wall-wart charging does, but if you’re going to charge all night long, you probably won’t even notice. This won’t rid you of all your warts, but it will reduce the number to one — the one needed to power the USB hub
If you want to get rid of those unsightly warts forever, you could get an electrical outlet with USB ports built in! No, they won’t let you hack the power grid, but they will let you charge up your device without that ugly wart growing out of your wall.
The U-Socket actually incorporates two USB power ports into a standard two-socket power outlet. You do need to have some basic electrical skills and a “full-depth” electrical box, but once it’s all hooked up, it looks great, and saves you power! Who knows, if enough of us install these instead of using wall-warts, we might just save the planet!
These little guys are going to run you around US$25, depending on where you buy them. Try Google Shopping to see who has them in-stock.
Of course, the best way to get rid of wall-warts and save a ton power, is to avoid the power-grid completely. Using a relatively small solar panel (relative to the big ones that you see mounted on houses or buildings) or small wind turbine and a few other components, you can free yourself from the grid — at least enough to charge up your smartphone.
But we’ll have to talk about this option in another article.