In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses are constantly looking for ways to increase sales and cut costs. One way to save money that is often overlooked is to make efficient use of power strips.

At one time, power strips were no more than a convenience: a simple way to turn one electrical outlet into six or eight. That is no longer the case. High-quality power strips can now protect your equipment from power surges, keep your computers and other devices operating if your electricity goes out and help you save some money on your utility bills along the way.

Irreplaceable Data

Considering how useful a smart power strip or an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) can be, there’s really no reason for you to take the easy way out and plug your electronic equipment into the nearest wall socket. After all, your equipment probably would be expensive to replace, and some of the data that’s stored on your computers and other devices might be difficult to recover.

Here are some reasons to consider buying high-quality power strips for your office.

  • If you use them correctly, they will help you save on your energy costs. Some smart strips automatically shut down printers and monitors when you turn your computer off.
  • They help protect your electronic devices against potentially damaging power surges.
  • If you are hit by an unexpected power outage, a smart strip can keep you from losing data stored on your computers, tablets and other devices.
  • They offer the option of shutting off power to more than one device by flipping a single switch. For instance, a smart power strip can serve as a source of power for one or more computers, a couple of printers and even a lamp or a radio.

Sudden Surges

If you value your electronic equipment and the data stored on it, you need to guard against a power surge. When unprepared, a surge can cost you money and bring on all kinds of headaches for your company. What causes power surges?

  • Thunderstorms and other violent weather – Lightning races to the most conductive material. If it strikes near a power line, it could blast a large amount of random electricity into the wiring in your office.
  • Overload – Surges can be the result of man-made mishaps as well. If you plug too many devices into a single outlet, firing them up all at once can cause a surge. Similarly, the motors and compressors that run high-powered electrical devices such as air conditioners and elevators require lots of energy to turn on and off. This creates sudden demands for power, which can upset the steady flow of voltage in your office building.
  • Other sources – Surges also can be caused by faulty wiring, problems with your utility company’s equipment and downed power lines.

Vampire Power

In addition to providing protection for your equipment, smart power strips can help you control your electric bill. In mythology, vampires are strange beings who subsist by feeding on the blood of living creatures. In the world of electronics, vampire power is the phenomenon that continues to suck up electrical power even when your equipment isn’t running. If you are using an outdated, traditional power strip, as long as your equipment is plugged into the strip, it continues to use power.

However, a smart power strip can sense when devices such as printers and computers go into standby mode and cuts the power to those outlets. If you don’t have smart power strips, a significant portion of your office’s energy consumption will be sucked up by vampire power. The Energy Information Administration points out that the total cost of vampire power in the United States exceeds $3 billion a year.

Here are some devices that use the most vampire power.

  • Desktop computers
  • Computer speaker systems
  • Modems
  • Inkjet printers
  • Wireless routers
  • Laptop computers
  • External hard drives

Backup Power

A UPS battery backup is a power strip that serves an additional and useful purpose. When it determines that the flow of electricity is insufficient, it starts using its reserve battery power. Depending on what type of UPS battery backup you have, it could provide power for a few minutes or for several hours.

There are two types of UPS battery backups.

  • Off-line battery – This one is similar to a laptop battery. When it recognizes that there is a power outage, it starts supplying power from its reserves.
  • Online battery – This one is able to provide electricity at any time and can protect your computer and other devices from voltage surges. It’s a more reliable battery, but it’s also more expensive.

Finally, many top-of-the-line power strips now include warranties with insurance that will pay if a device gets damaged while using the strip. Consumers should strongly consider purchasing one with this extra level of protection.

You can save money by using smart power strips, and you can also protect your valuable equipment and data.