Our family has a room in my basement we’ve made into a modest home theater.  Its just a TV mounted on a wall and an inexpensive surround sound system, but its a great place for the kids to play video games or for the family to watch a movie together.  Being down in the basement it can get chilly,especially in the winter, so we have a space heater we purchased from Costco in the corner of the room.  Having the room heated that way has always worried us a little, since space heaters are notorious for causing fires.  To keep our home safe I’ve gotten in the habit of making a trip all the way downstairs to make sure the heater is off before we leave the house.

Recently I got my first Qolsys IQ Smart Socket. What an amazing device! It has two outlets, both of which can be controlled from the IQ Panel, and the LED screen on its face reports the current watt usage, so I know exactly how much power is being drawn. On the panel, I can see a report of energy usage over time, letting me know what parts if the day use more power and giving me trended data over a day, week, or month.

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The IQ Smart Socket.

Learning it into my panel was easy, and I could even change the socket names to say “Theater” and “Space heater” respectively.  I have a surge protector where all my home theater components are plugged in which I placed on one side of the smart socket, and I plugged my heater into the other. Instantly I saw readouts of the energy being used.  Even with everything turned off I noticed that both sides were still drawing some power.  The heater, in the off position, only used a single watt.  Perhaps to power the red “off” lightbulb.  I wondered how many watts it used when it was on, and eagerly turned it on.  400… 564… 831… 974… 1024…  I watched the numbers climbing steadily, remembering how people always say “those space heaters use SO much energy” but were never able to quantify that statement. Now I could… at over 1200 watts it was literally sucking the life out of my energy bill! I switched the heater from “hi” to “lo” and watched the watts drop to 665.2.  Simply knowing the difference between those two settings would change my behavior forever.  Why would I ever use the higher setting when the lower saved me so much energy?

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When I turned my space heater to the “Low” setting, I noticed it used HALF as much energy!

I decided to try the Theater.  Surely a TV, video game system, and surround sound would not use as much energy as a heater…  I turned it on an watched the meter climb.  Over 400 watts, equal to the heater on low.

From my IQ Panel, I can even turn either plug on or off, cutting power to the room completely.  I thought of the look on my son’s face the next time he refused to come up for dinner because he was too busy playing video games.  A simple touch of a button from upstairs and I would shut down the entire system.  That should get a response pretty quickly!

Using the Home Control apps button on my Qolsys IQ Panel, I now have the ability to not only to monitor the energy usage of these devices from upstairs, but create rules that automatically turn off my devices when our IQ panel is armed in “Away” mode.  This means no more trips downstairs, “just to check” and energy savings whenever we’re not home.  These same rules can be applied to my thermostat as well, making our entire energy footprint a little lighter.  And if I ever forget to arm my system when I leave, I can do everything right from my phone.

Its a level of control we could only dream of before, but is an affordable reality today.  To learn more about the Qolsys line of energy saving products, as well as home control devices and security solutions, visit

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