Paying the monthly electric bill feels a lot like paying a tax on your technology. The air conditioning you use in the summer, computers, televisions, heating in winter, washer/dryer, and even your refrigerator are a constant cost to you. Some of them have average hourly costs, enabling you to predict their impact on your monthly statement.
When it comes to saving money on electricity, knowledge is key. Knowing if there is a device running and wasting your power can help you to nip unnecessary costs in the bud. You shouldn’t be caught off guard by a sudden increase in your bill.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some useful gadgets and how they can help you save money.
During my time working at an electric utility, I recommended Kill-a-Watt over any other gadget to customers who wanted to get a better idea of what affected their monthly costs. Here in Texas, your air conditioner can triple your regular bill during the summer. You have to save energy anywhere you can to avoid your electric bill being the thing that breaks the bank.
Kill-a-Watt plugs into a standard outlet and acts as a pass-through for your various appliances and electronic gadgets. Just plug it in and let it run for 24 hours. After that time, you’ll see how much power your devices have used and how much that usage has cost you. You can also see a real-time view of power consumption to solve energy vampire electronics that draw energy even when they’re off.
You might be surprised at how much energy your entertainment system chews up when you’re not even watching TV.
MeterPlug is an ambitious Indiegogo project that promises to deliver accurate real-time energy usage statistics from a single outlet to your smartphone. Utilizing Wi-Fi, MeterPlug gives you the ability to monitor energy usage, shut off power to connected devices, and give you an accurate estimate of a particular outlet’s costs broken down by day.
What I like about this particular project is that it promises to provide international support to meet all the various power standards out there natively. At $50-60, MeterPlug isn’t the cheapest solution by far. You’ll spend a small fortune getting your entire home set up on these little gadgets.
Not everyone has the luxury of a smart meter in their home. Wattvision makes it possible to safely monitor electric usage for your entire home and have the results accessible on your smartphone via the cloud in near real-time. This is an excellent product for folks who don’t care so much about individual outlets, but the entire home’s energy consumption as a whole. Are you paying $0.17 cents per hour for electricity or $1.20? Wattvision can tell you.
Eddie Ringle did a write-up on LockerGnome about Wattvision a few months ago. Be sure to check it out if you’re interested in reading more.