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Five best green gadgets for the home - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Five best green gadgets for the home

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© Hemera/Thinkstock © Hemera/Thinkstock


By Michelle Tako

Most of us are aware of the need to do our part to conserve energy and natural resources. Not only does that cut down on environmental pollution and strain on the planet, it creates awareness of the world around us, and the impact of our lifestyle.

Going green also saves money, a major concern for most of us these days. Even small changes in energy consumption can lead to big savings when your electric and water bills arrive. By simply switching off appliances when not in use, upgrading to more energy-efficient products, cutting down on water waste and sealing energy leaks in your home, you can do your part to help the planet, as well as your wallet.

The following are five green gadgets that don't cost a lot, are easy to use and will help you go green in your home.

1. Kill-A-Watt EZ from P3 International

This handy gadget allows you to easily see exactly how much your electrical appliances cost to run. Just plug the Kill-A-Watt EZ into any of your wall outlets, enter the cost per kWh (kilowatt-hour) your electric company is charging you (this will be found on your electric bill), then plug the appliance you want to test into the Kill-A-Watt EZ.

The easy-to-read LED screen will display how much that appliance costs to run per hour, day, week, month or year. Armed with this knowledge, you can make decisions about appliances you might want to replace, or at least keep shut off when not in use. This can lead to large savings on your electric bill each year.

The Kill-A-Watt EZ retails for $59.95. You can purchase it at most home improvement stores, retailers such as Target or WalMart or Amazon.com.

2. EcoCharger from Volt-Star

Standard phone chargers continue to draw electricity even after the cell phone is fully charged. This reduces the life of your phone battery, as well as wastes energy. In fact, if you leave a standard charger plugged in with no phone attached, the charger is STILL consuming energy, and adding to your monthly electric bill.

Solve that problem with the EcoCharger, which automatically switches itself off once the phone is fully charged, and consumes zero idle power, so there's no need for you to remember to unplug the phone charger to save energy. The device also has a built-in surge protector, to keep your cell phone from damage caused by power line surges.

The EcoCharger is available with adapters to charge cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, Bluetooth, iPod, iPad or PDA's.

The EcoCharger's retail price is $29.90. You can purchase it at www.voltstar.com

3. Evolve showerhead from Evolve

It's a scenario all-too-common to busy moms everywhere - start the shower to let the water warm up, but before you can get in, your kids need you, or you remember a load of laundry in the dryer, or the phone rings. By the time you get back to the shower, you have wasted a lot of water, and now you don't have enough hot water left for an enjoyable shower.

Solve that problem with a showerhead from Evolve. Its temperature sensor cuts water flow to a trickle once it reaches a comfortable 95 degrees Fahrenheit. No more water wasting down the drain, and you know exactly when your shower is ready. Just flip the toggle switch to restore regular water flow, and enjoy the wide-coverage spray, and great feeling shower with low-flow technology.

The Evolve showerhead's retail price is $39.95. You can purchase it from www.evolveshowerheads.com or Amazon.com

4. Eco-heater from Ecoheater

Your chilly house has you reaching for extra sweaters, but you don't want to drive your fuel bills through the roof by turning up the heat. Plug in the Eco-heater, and put those sweaters away. The Eco-heater is a wall-mounted convection space heater that uses less than one third the electricity of a typical space heater. Less than 24 square inches, the Eco-heater mounts three quarters of an inch from the wall, and creates a convection heat channel, pulling cool air in, and circulating warm air out.

No noisy fans, safe for use around children and pets, and you can even paint the Eco-heater to match your wall. Just plug it in and turn it on with a simple on/off switch. One Eco-heater will warm a room up to 120 square feet.

The Eco-heater retails for $119.95. You can purchase it at Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Amazon.com and other large home improvement stores.

5. Thermal Leak Detector from Black & Decker

Drafty windows, soft spots in insulation and energy leaks can all lead to wasted energy, and higher fuel bills. The Thermal Leak Detector uses infrared sensors to track temperature changes. Just scan it across walls, near windows, fireplaces, doorways or anywhere that might have poor insulation or leaky seams, and the Thermal Leak Detector will change color to red for warmer spots, blue for cooler.

An accompanying booklet explains how to seal leaks and improve insulation for greatly lowered heating and cooling bills. You can even use the device to check your refrigerator and freezer temperatures, as well as heating and air conditioning units.

The Thermal Leak Detector retails for $49.99. You can purchase it from Amazon.com, Target, Lowe's and other home improvement centers.

Saving energy and water not only helps the planet, it helps your wallet. These easy-to-use gadgets will help you improve the energy-efficiency of your home with little expense. Go green, and help create a better future for your children, as well as a better present for yourself. 

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