Monitor Your Energy Usage

Monitor Your Energy UsageI’m sure by now that you realize that anything that you plug-in relentlessly sucks energy even if it’s  “turned off”.

But how much energy is being consumed with these idle appliances, that entertainment center collection, phone charges, electronics, games, and other gizmos?

Green Blizzard covered phantom energy  in a recent article.  Hopefully the insights covered in this post will give you a little kick-start motivation to minimize and monitor your energy usage. But just how does one best go about it?

This is where energy monitors come in handy.

Energy monitors are cheap, handy, and offer a smart efficient way for the average person to really understand their power usage.  The big surprise to me was that there are a surprising number of hidden energy hogs around every home – even eco-conscious homes like mine.

These monitors will help you calculate on a daily or annually basis how much energy and money is being wasted even when the device is turned off.  This phantom loads are a hole in your wallet.  Easy opportunities for savings – forget coupons.

Seems like everything uses electricity when not is use, even in standby or in sleep mode.  But just how much and at what cost.   Energy monitors are cheap and affordable.

I found that the $25-$30 I spent on a monitor was quickly recovered in energy savings in just a month or so.    It’s also a  great device to lend out to friends and family after you’ve covered all corners of your house.  Just spread your new found ability to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle with anyone you know and even spread the word about this article!

Operating of any one of these monitors is simple.  Just plug-in between the socket and device and read the monitors display.  Some even have extension cords to make it plug in and monitor the energy usage.

A few of the most popular monitors are Kill A Watt P4400 ($20) and the Kill A Watt EP4460 Monitor ($28) or the Belkin Conserve Insight Monitor ($24) or Weanas Monitor ($29).    I recently bought a Kill A Watt P4400 and found that it really got the job done.  Consumer Search  reviewed and couple of these and highlighted the pros and cons the Belkins Conserve Insight.

Phantom loads are not a joke.  Here’s how to monitor your energy usage.

Behind every hour of wasted energy are trainloads of coal rumbling to the power plant.  Check out the video below to really comprehend the huge pipeline of daily coal trains that feed our power plants.  Every step towards reduced electrical usage, actually every step towards smarter electrical usage means less CO2 being needlessly pumped into the atmosphere.

Here are some comments that people wrote in about the surprised learnings from their energy monitors.

“My entertainment center which has a, 55 inch LED TV, ps3, ps4 xbox 360, Wii, cable box, home theater system, and a small lamp. With everything turned OFF, I was drawing almost 1300 watts of power and just under 12 amps, and that was just in standby mode. Thanks to this little tool I’ve cut our power bill in half just by putting everything on power strips and turning them off when not in use.”

“Eye opening to find out how much appliances are costing you. My 52 inch TV costs me $3/month but just having my PC running 24/7 costs me $25 per month”

“My air purifier uses 85 watts all the time… 85 * 24 hrs * 30 days / 1000 watts = 61.2kwhr * $0.20 = $12.24 a month.Well, that’s quite a costly monthly addition I never thought of. And that’s just the beginning.  My Vornado fan uses 45w… my air conditioner, on high 6 (out of 12) spikes up to 1200 watts. Jeez.  My computer, at idle with external drives, uses about 250w.  And get this, my light behind my computer desk, with five, 10-watt bulbs, doesn’t actually use 50-watts as any logical person would think.  Instead I found that it uses 50-watts for the bulbs, PLUS 30-watts apparently just for the light unit to function.”  As Gomer Pyle used to say “surprise, surprise, surprise”

Over the course of three months, my household actually reduced our energy usage by 25+%, just by identifying where the waste was going and then easily eliminating it.   For instance, both my coffee maker and toaster have nifty devices that display useless information when not in use – I simply pull the plug in between uses – its pretty easy to plug it in every morning.  I bought a surge strip for my entertainment center and power that off when I head out the door or call it a night.

Take a look at this massive train hauling coal, every day, every hour there are hundreds of these moving around the world feeding the thousands of coal-fired electrical plants.

Be sure to also read: Gift Ideas For A Green Handyman, What is Phantom Electricity?, Green Cleaning Products, Savvy Green,Energy Efficient Windows, Water Conservation Around The House.


About the author

Danielle Jappah

Danielle brings a touch of southern US charm to our writing team.Since points of view on climate change vary depending on resources, economies, and political viewpoints of the region, we wanted a southerner to expand our point of view. The U.S. South has its own unique POV on climate change and Danielle writes from her office in Atlanta inspiring southern naysayers to wake up and recognize what happening everywhere.