Ask any energy consultant and they’ll tell you: most people think they use far less energy than they actually do. If you’re not actually measuring your electricity usage, you may be spending up to 20% more on your power bill than you need to be.
There are 2 types of power monitoring solutions available. You’ll need both to optimize your energy savings.
Plug-In Electricity Monitors for Appliances and Other Electronic Devices
The first type is a plug-in meter for measuring power use by an individual appliance or device, such as your refrigerator or your laptop. Here’s how it works:
You just plug your device directly into the electricity monitor. Then you plug your power monitor into the wall. The electricity monitor’s display will reveal exactly how much electricity your device is using – and expose the energy hogs that are killing your electric bill.
A basic power monitor like the Kill A Watt P4400 will tell you how many kilowatt hours are being used, as well as information on voltage, amperage, wattage, line frequency and power factor. More advanced models like the Kill A Watt P4460 let you forecast how much your appliance will be costing you by day, week, month or year. And for sensitive devices like your computer, you can get an electricity monitor with the protection of a built-in power strip, like the Kill A Watt PS P4320 electricity monitor with built-in surge protection.
For more advanced electric monitor applications, you might want to consider a unit like one of EED’s Watts Up Meters. Their standard model, the EED Watts Up Electricity Monitor 57777, displays basic electricity consumption information, plus it lets you enter in your utility costs for an up-to-date display of what it’s actually costing you to run your device. (Imagine the edge this could give you when negotiating with your kids!)
EED’s more advanced Watts Up models, like the Pro/ES Electricity Monitor 82756 and the Pro Monitor 99333 come with software that allows you to download your power usage information onto your computer. The feedback you’ll get will allow you to tweak your power usage to the nth degree. (If you’re considering a solar or other renewable energy system, such an advanced understanding of your power usage could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars as you scale your system needs.)
For the ultimate in electronic device monitoring, the .NET Electricity Monitor 72222 even gives you the power and flexibility of remote monitoring via the Internet – great for vacation homes or frequent travelers.
Whole House Power Meters
A whole house meter connects to your home’s electric meter for overall monitoring of your energy consumption. It helps pinpoint those energy hogs that consume your hard-earned cash. As you turn off lights and other appliances you can see your usage (&your bill) drop.
The Blue Line PowerCost Monitor utilizes wireless technology to let you see exactly how much energy you’re using. It has two parts – a sensor unit that is easily installed on your outside electric meter, and a tabletop display unit you can put in any convenient location in your home.
Here’s what one user had to say:
“It is great to see my electric consumption! When I see it high, I immediately try to figure out what is on. It is amazing to see your savings when you shut off all those lights you’re not using. It's also astounding to see how much electricity it takes to run your dryer! A great tool that saves you money by revealing your electrical usage.”
Black & Decker makes a similar two-unit product (the Power Monitor EM100B) that displays your energy usage in real time in both kilowatt hours and dollars and cents.
Both whole house power meters and plug-in electricity monitors are cost-effective solutions that make it so much easier to figure out how to save on your electric bill. They will more than pay for themselves by allowing you to target your household’s biggest energy sinks and adjust your usage to save both energy and money. Imagine how much the country could save if everyone had one?