Renewable Energy

It's all about energy, from renewable sources to energy-efficient usage.

Add to My MSN

What's Watt: How Much Electricity Are You Using?

1/18/2008 12:00:00 AM

Tags: Electricity, Kill a Watt

This week, I've been using a Kill a Watt at home. It's a small meter that costs about $25, and you can use it to measure the electricity consumption of your appliances and home electronics. (There are other meters that do more or less the same thing, including the Watt Minder and the Watt's Up.)

The way it works is simple. For any electrical appliance that you plug into the meter, it can tell you how many watts that appliance is using. Over time, it also adds up the kilowatt hours used, so you can relate that number directly to what's on your electric bill.

Using the Kill a Watt is easy, and it's easy to get a little carried away with it. I measured the energy use of every appliance and electrical gadget in my house, even when it required moving furniture. (Is your refrigerator running? As I write this mine is, and it's using almost 150 watts!) On the other hand, if you're just interested in a ballpark estimate of how much electricity each device uses, you can check out this list from the Department of Energy which has typical values for radios, coffeemakers, DVD players, washing machines and many other common appliances.

Once you've identified the electronics and appliances in your home that are using the most energy, you can target the areas where saving energy will save you the most money. For example, you might decide to start using energy efficient light bulbs, turn on the power saving settings on your computer, or replace inefficient older appliances with newer energy-efficient models.

Have you tried measuring your electricity use at home? Have you found easy ways to reduce it? You can add your suggestions to the comments field below.



Related Content

The Reagan Administration's Environmental Policies

In the first piece of a regular feature, the environmentalist group Friends of the Earth took a quic...

Yikes! My hair dryer uses HOW much electricity?

When you start measuring electricity use, you may be surprised by which appliances and electronics u...

Promoting James Watt, Secretary of the Interior

Why is James Watt, Secretary of the Interior, urging a book on his subordinates?

Refunding, Dioxin Poisoning in Vietnam, the Titanic Effect and More

Find out about the new money-saving craze called "refunding," see how dioxin poining in Vietnam affe...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

David_133
8/12/2009 7:40:39 PM
I've got to get one of these! Thank you for these resources! The kids and I have a pact to do something every month that improves the energy efficiency of our house. Last month it was changing all the bulbs to CFL's. The month before we started a compost pile. This month we'll be putting ChiliPads (http://www.chilitechnology.com/) on all the beds. They are matress pads that heat or cool the bed - which means no more AC or heating during the night, which means a lower bill and a lighter load on the planet.

David_133
8/12/2009 7:40:24 PM
I've got to get one of these! Thank you for these resources! The kids and I have a pact to do something every month that improves the energy efficiency of our house. Last month it was changing all the bulbs to CFL's. The month before we started a compost pile. This month we'll be putting ChiliPads (http://www.chilitechnology.com/) on all the beds. They are matress pads that heat or cool the bed - which means no more AC or heating during the night, which means a lower bill and a lighter load on the planet.







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.