Friday, April 10, 2009

Grab Bag Friday: Kill A Watt Meter

Yesterday, I spent some time at the Bowdoin College Climate Fair, showing people how to use a Kill A Watt Meter, so I thought I'd take a minute to pass the information on to you.

Kill A Watt Meters are becoming available at libraries all over the country (you can check them out just like a book...just ask your friendly librarian). You can use them to find the biggest energy hogs in your house.

They're a snap to use:

  • Plug the Kill A Watt Meter into the wall
  • Plug the appliance you'd like to test into the Kill A Watt Meter
  • Let it sit for an hour
Once you have a reading on the kilowatts per hour you can go to this handy calculator and find out how much that appliance is costing you per month. (You'll notice it defaults to the Maine state rate of $.17/kwh, so if you live in another state, you should change that. To find your state's rate, here is a handy chart.)

Here are some examples:
  • My television costs me $12.24 per month when it's OFF. If I plug it into a power strip and flip it off when I'm not using the TV, I could save almost $150 per year. (Or I could just unplug the TV and skip the power strip, but that would mean reaching behind the TV...not an easy task in our house.)
  • If I turn my computer off during my lunch hour instead of leaving it on, that's another $80 per year.
  • If I run my bedroom air conditioner for one hour less per day, I save $75 per summer.
You can see just with those three little painless changes, I've just earned myself a little spa weekend. Thanks, Kill A Watt Meter!

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