Kill a Watt electric usage meter

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Kill a Watt electric usage meter

The Kill a Watt electrical usage meter is an amazing piece of gadgetry that can save you hundreds of dollars a year in electricity by measuring the wattage (power) used by all your home electric appliances (TV, computer, dryer, refrigerator, clock, oven, etc.) Ok, maybe not that "amazing", since the science of measuring watts, voltage, etc. has existed for decades, but cool nonetheless.

In fact, I should mention that last month I received an electric bill for $400 and I have oil (not electric) heat! I called the electric company to cry "foul". Surely, even I, Mr. Gadget Lover could not possibly be using $400/month of electricity! Could my 65" Mitsubishi rear projection TV be sucking that much juice? :( The electric company (NorthEast Utilities) was somewhat sympathetic to my plight. They explained that they use an average reading and that because my electric bill was low the month before that they had to compensate for this particular month.

Ok, so my electric bill the month before was $64, so you're telling me I spend $64 + $400=$464 for 2 months or $232/month on electricity? :@ The NU rep asked if I had an old fridge (yes) and if I had an extra fridge (yes - a small college fridge) and stated that they could add about $50/month. Even if you take off the $50, that's still a ridiculously high bill. The X-File conspirist in me asked her "Is it possible my neighbor is tapping my electrical line?" She said it was highly unlikely. Nevertheless, I went outside and traced the electric meter and the electric line all the way up to the pole and made sure there weren't any funny looking holes or tunnels leading to my neighbors yard. ;)

Doubleed also sells a similar unit that will log your electric usage to its memory but their low-end model starts at $99.95 where as the Kill a Watt device only costs $20.37 on Amazon, so I think I will pick one up and test my home electric devices, including my plethora of gadgets. I'll report back here with what I find.

Update: There is a newer model called the P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor. This one can calculate actual costs and forecast by the day, week, month, even an entire year. I bought one myself and it's pretty cool to see dollar amounts for how much you're spending on electricity. I was able to forecast how much I will be spending per month on electricity. The longer it's connected, the more accurate it is. It's only a bit more than the older model which doesn't do forecasting.

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