Thursday, April 5, 2012

Saving Energy, One Outlet at a Time

We have so many gadgets and related chargers around the house to keep up with — sometimes things begin to look a little crowded as devices begin competing for the wall charger, like this:

This is so wrong on many levels — not useful or efficient, and not appealing to the eye by any stretch:

As we've mentioned here on the blog before, I used to be an electrician by trade, so I am always looking into the latest solutions out there on the market for saving energy and innovation. In my regular line of work, I was able to snag a sample of the following receptacle with two usb outlets and knew this would be a welcome addition to our home!

The beauty behind this little receptacle is that once the phone or other device being charged signals that the battery is full, the receptacle shuts down and does not keep delivering power to that device*.
The receptacle portion does indeed remain on though and is also tamper resistant. Cooper claims this device can save right around $25.00 a year! This is the first patented version out and I am hearing rumblings of an update version coming out real soon.

Before getting started, I made sure to turn off the breaker tied to this outlet — electrical currents running through my fingers would not be good. This is also where our little under the cabinet LED tap-lights came in handy to shine a little light on the situation.

Remember these guys?

When installing, you'll come across two screws on the back of the receptacle —a ground screw, a silver screw (for the white or neutral), and a copper screw (for the black or hot wire).

 Hook these up according to the directions provided with your receptacle.

We really like being able to simply plug the usb cables directly into the wall now and love the little LED indicator next to each unit that tells us when our phones are charging and the fact it shuts down the current when they are complete (and the LED light turns off to tell us everything is charged up and turned off).

Even though I was able to pick this up as a sample, you can find them readily available. Now we just need to come up with a creative solution for the exposed cables. Maybe a DIY spin on something like this?

*Energy Saving Tip: the normal cable and adapter that you plug into the wall outlet and into your phone is actually a transformer of sorts — so if that is plugged in the wall (even if the phone is not attached) it is wasting valuable electricity. So unplug those adapters when not in use.


  1. I was wondering if this outlet is still a GFI? and safe for areas like the kitchen.

  2. Very observant! This device is not a Ground Fault Interruptible (GFI) device. Rules for this are different so check your codes locally. Where we live you either need a GFI receptacle or a GFI circuit (where the breaker is the ground fault).

    If in doubt I would be safe and put this device in a den or office area away from an area requiring ground fault. This device is child proof meaning you cannot stick a paper clip in one of the holes. The prongs from a receptacle is the only thing that will open the slots.

    Thanks for checking!

  3. Replies
    1. Hi Steve we see our links were not working in the post. You can purchase the receptacle here:

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Husband is getting this for Christmas, and I went through the link as a little Merry Christmas to you both :)

    1. Thank you Willow! Merry Christmas to you and yours!