• Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

5 Ways to Minimize Your Technology Power Consumption

One of the biggest contributor on our household's electricity bill is your technology usage. If you are noticing this and would like to cut down on your electricity use then it's recommended to configure your devices to use less power. There are different ways on how to minimize the power consumption of your computer. Here's how you do it:

1. Use External Device Only When Needed. Your computer can connect to various external devices like a printer, speakers, or an external web cam. However, these devices require power to stay connected and be able to do their job. Even if they are not in use, they are still consuming a certain amount of power. For example, an average printer on standby can use 5-8 watts, while a high-end printer can go as high as 30 watts. In order to save electricity, you should remove or turn off all the devices that you don't need.

2. Adjust the Windows Power Options. In Windows and Macintosh, you can save a significant amount of power by tweaking the Power Options.

3. Configure Your Monitor to Use Less Power. If you are still using a CRT monitor, then it's probably time to switch to an LCD monitor. The reason is because LCD monitors use far less power and also offer better display quality than the CRTs. A 17CRT monitor uses 80 to 100 watts while its LCD counterpart uses only 25 to 30 watts. Aside from that, you should also lower down the brightness setting of your monitor. 100% brightness isn't required most of the time. All external monitors have buttons to adjust the brightness. On laptops, there will either be separate buttons, or you will have to use the Fn key. You should also turn off the monitor display whenever you leave your computer. You can do this by simply pressing the power button of your monitor or use the turn-off display button on your laptop (for some computers, it's Fn + F3).

4. Use Sleep and Hibernate Options. It is not a practical habit to shut down your computer whenever you need to leave it to do something else. That's why the Sleep and Hibernate options are available, which are the main power saver options that allow you to save computer power, and then lets you continue from where you left off.

Sleep: In Sleep state, almost all of the components of your computer will be turned off except for the RAM. Your current session is saved in the RAM, and you can easily restore your session when you wake it up later. In sleep mode, your PC will use around 5 to 15 watts of power.

Hibernate: When your computer is on Hibernate mode, the current session is moved to your hard drive storage. The computer is then turned off completely, and you can remove the power supply. Hard drive storage doesn't require active power to save data (unlike RAM), so it can save your current session without power.

In sleep mode, your computer will take 2 to 3 seconds to restore back to your current session. However, in hibernate mode it will take a bit more time, 10 to 15 seconds on average. If you are going away for a few minutes to an hour, then the sleep option is suitable. If you are going away for hours, hibernate is a better option. You can also schedule automatic sleep or hibernate after a specific idle time from the power options.

5. Quit Unnecessary Programs. The programs that are running on your computer use resources like CPU, GPU, RAM, hard drive, etc. The more programs you open, the more work these hardware components have to do. Make sure there are no unnecessary programs running. In Windows, press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Esc] to open Task Manager. All your active applications are listed under "Applications" and the background processes are shown under the Processes tab.

Look for unnecessary apps and background processes in these two tabs, and use the End Task or End Process button if you want to quit any of them.

What steps do you take to cut down on the power that your technology is using? Drop us a line and let us know.

Burton Kelso, father of two and Chief Tech Expert of Integral, which offers on-site and remote computer set-up and repair via locations all over the Kansas City Metro and online at www.integralcomputerconsultants.com. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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