Dear Lifehacker, I recently had free government-sponsored Embertec smart switches installed which help save power by turning off appliances in standby mode. The equipment works well, however, I have heard of concerns about using these, mostly about the temperature of the electrical equipment in standby mode and how this changes with the equipment being fully switched off. Do you know if there is any real risk of damaging AV equipment by using smart switches? Thanks, Switching Teams
Smart Switch picture from Photobucket
For our non-Victorian readers, the Embertec SmartSwitch is a power-saving device that residents can opt to have installed free in their homes through the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme. (A similar initiative has also been introduced in South Australia.)
To answer your query, we haven't come across any major concerns when it comes to smart switches and their effects on the durability of AV equipment. In fact, some enthusiasts suggest that turning your equipment off (rather than leaving it in standby) can prolong its lifespan.
That said, the actual power savings you make from a smart switch will depend on the wattage of your A/V equipment. If you have a basic TV/DVD player/console setup, the difference to your electricity bill will be negligible. We've also heard people complain about having to constantly override their smart switch by fiddling with their remote controls — ignoring the notification leads to an automatic shutdown, which can be annoying if you happen to be taking a toilet break, for example. If you're happy with the device though, I wouldn't be too worried.
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