Look what I found at the library last week! It’s the Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor.
This is great because I have been trying to cut down our electricity usage this year. Our electric bill has been trending up over the last few years. Take a look at our daily usage graph.
The big spike in winter 2011 was due to baby RB40. He was born in the middle of winter and we cranked up the heat after we bought him home. That largest bill was $125 for reference. Previously, we used much less electricity (see 2010) and I would like to get close to that level eventually. Our condo is in a concrete building and it retains heat quite well. The ability to retain heat and our kotatsu table kept our bill low before 2011. I think we can teach Kid RB40 to use the kotatsu table this year and use the heater a bit less.
Saving money is one factor, but we would like to live a more sustainable lifestyle and use less energy overall. Last month I purchased a couple of power saving devices from Amazon to help us out. I’ll do a quick review here. All the product links on this page are from Amazon. They have nice product pictures so you can see what these devices look like. Please don’t feel obligated to click on them.
Belkin Conserve Power Switch ( I paid $6.99)
The first one is a simple socket with a switch. When I went to visit my aunt in Australia, the wall sockets in her kitchen has small switches built in. I thought this was a great idea and I have been trying to find something like that in the US ever since.
I plug our hot water dispenser into this switch and turn it off after we make coffee in the morning and go off to work. I have a feeling this hot water dispenser uses a lot of electricity.
Belkin Conserve Socket with Energy Saving Outlet ( I paid $24.89)
This device is intended to be used with your entertainment center. You can plug the TV into the master outlet and when you turn off the TV, it will cut power to 4 controlled outlets. There are 2 outlets that are not controlled and are always on.
Currently, I have the TV plugged in to the master and the DVD player, stereo receiver, and the XBOX in the controlled outlet. In this configuration, I’ll eliminate the vampire power to these devices and save some $$$ in the process.
We went to story time at the library last week and I spotted the Kill A Watt near the new books section. This was great because now I can find out how much money I’m saving with these devices and how long it will take to break even. I’ve been busy plugging my electronic devices into the Kill A Watt and here are the results.
|Cellphone charger||2.5 w||0|
|DVD player||10 w||0|
|Spiral light bulb||25 w||0|
|Hepa air purifier||19-80 w||0|
|Stereo Receiver||39 w||2 w|
|Xbox (original)||70 w||3 w|
|42’ LCD TV||250 w||0|
|Hot water dispenser||680 w (boiling)||36 w (keep warm)|
|Space heater||620 – 1,500 w||0|
As I suspected, the hot water dispenser is one of the biggest electricity users we have. The toaster oven is quite a power hog too, but it’s on only for a few minutes per day so overall, it’s not bad. The space heater uses a lot of power too, but I need to figure out how how much power it uses per hour since it cycles on and off. I’ll redo this again when we need to turn on the heater in the winter.
To me, vampire power doesn’t seem to be a big factor in our household. The way I have the entertainment center setup, I’ll save 5 Watt hour or about 120 kWh/day at the most (5w x 24 hours.) That’s 3.6 kWh (kilowatt hours) per month. We are paying about 12 cents per kWh so the total savings comes to… drum roll…. 43 cents/month.
I paid $24.89 for the Belkin Conserve Power strip. At this rate it will take about 57 months to get that back. That’s not exactly a great investment.
Active Shut Down
The Belkin Conserve switch on the other hand needs an active hand to flip the switch. I know it’s almost just as easy to pull the plug, but I never do it. With the switch, I can turn it off for about 10 hours every weekdays. The Kill A Watt can find out how much energy a device uses over time. You just plug it in and check several hours later to see how much energy it used.
I plug the hot water heater in over night and got 530 Wh in 13 hours. That’s about 41 W per hour. That’s pretty surprising to me because it tells me the hot water dispenser didn’t spend that much time boiling water. In the previous table, we saw that it took 680 W while boiling water and used 36 W while keeping warm. Anyway, here is a small table to compare the hot water dispenser to our fridge (9.4 cubic feet total capacity.)
|Hot water dispenser||About 40.75 Wh|
|Small refrigerator||About 46.46 Wh|
Let’s calculate how much money we would save with the Belkin Conserve switch.
- 10 hours per day
- 20 working days per month
Are they worth it?
Light bulb reference from wiki.answers.com
A 60 watt light bulb uses 60 watts of power in a period of one hour or 60 watts in one minute or 60 watts in one second or 60 watts during any period of time.
How much total energy a 60 watt light bulb “consumes”, which is the amount of electricity that has to be paid-for, is measured in watt•hours (that’s watts times hours). So a 60 watt bulb consumes 60 watt•hours in one hour, or 60 Wh x 24 hr/day = 1440 Wh per day.
That is the same as 1.44 kilowatt•hours (kWh), so, if you look up what your electricity supplier charges for 1 kWh you can figure out how much it would cost you in money. If 1 kWh costs you 25 cents, then leaving a 60 watt light bulb switched on for 24 hours straight would cost you 1.44 kWh x 25¢/kWh = 36 cents.