Some months, we find that our energy bills are higher than others. We just pass it off as using more electricity that month, but we rarely try to break down what specifically is causing the bill to go up. There are a few ways to determine what room is the biggest eater of energy, and more accurately, what appliances are doing most of the eating.
The old standby of how to find which room is taking the most juice is to go to your circuit breaker panel and shut off all of them except ones for a specific room. After this, check the electric meter outside your house and count how many ticks go by over the course of 15 seconds, and multiply that by four to find how much is consumed per minute. After that, shut those circuits off and turn on another set for a different room. Repeat the process until you go through the whole board. This should give a good indication of what room is sucking up all the electricity.
More than likely, large appliances like refrigerators and window air conditioners will be the biggest culprits, but you can get the exact amount of consumed energy for any plug-in appliance by using a device like Kill A Watt. This device plugs into your wall outlet, and then you plug in an electric device to it. It measures everything from volts and amperes to kilowatt hours and hertz. You can also use an ammeter. An ammeter attaches to each circuit and will give you a readout of the draw on that particular circuit.
Finally, a comprehensive energy monitor will not only give you feedback on the draw of circuits, but some of them, combined with software, can track trends and energy costs in your home. Monitors like the TED5000 connect to the main power line and monitor the draw of electricity, wirelessly sending the data, including kWh and cost to your handheld TED device. This device will help you determine what’s drawing the most power by simply walking around the house and turning appliances and electronics on and off. The ECM 1240 Home Monitor is another monitor that connects to the mains, but also has individual sensors for each sensor. You will more than likely need an electrician to install this device. It wirelessly sends usage data to an iPhone and tracks that data over time.
With these combined devices and software, you can determine what room in your house requires the most energy. By reviewing this data, you can work around these electricity guzzlers to save yourself some money on your monthly energy bills.
Image: an ammeter
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