Dec05

## How to Use a “Kill A Watt” Energy Meter

Want to test your household appliances to see how efficient they really are?  A Kill A Watt Energy Meter allows you to safely and accurately measure the power consumption of household appliances. You can check the amps, volts, and even see the cumulative consumption of your appliances by kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is the measurement your utility company uses on your bill.   This tool exposes those dreaded vampire loads around your house.  A vampire load is an appliance that uses energy even when they’re “turned off.”  Some of the main energy-sucking culprits in your home could be the microwave, PC, coffee maker, or television. You could have a number of these vampire loads running 24/7, costing you hundreds of dollars every year.  Anything with a digital clock is a suspect, so let’s learn how to test an appliance! This little gadget will make it easy to determine what’s costing you the most. You can set the Kill A Watt Energy Meter to measure the cost of running an appliance by adjusting this energy meter to a rate(s) that’s comparable to what your utility company charges per kWh. The Kill A Watt Energy Meter is particularly helpful for estimating the amount of energy used by appliances that cycle.  I decided to plug our refrigerator into the Kill A Watt to see just how much energy it draws.   Step 1. Plug it in To get started, plug your appliance directly into the Kill A Watt and then plug your Kill A Watt into the AC wall outlet.  Currently drawing 118.8 Volts Now you can reference the Kill A Watt’s LCD display to see the voltage (Volts) and current (Amps).  In addition to volts and amps, it’ll show you Watts (which is volts x amps), and frequency in Hz.   Over time, the Kill A Watt will rack up kilowatt-hours.  To get an idea of how much it costs to run my fridge, I have the rate set at \$0.25 per kWh.   I’m presupposing that that I pay my utility company a quarter for every kilowatt-hour I use.   Step 2. Check the Clock You might want to take a note of the time you plugged it in, even though it will tally the hours that it’s connected.   Come back in a day, a week, or whenever.   Step 3. Write it Down Once the Kill A Watt has been plugged in for a while, you can read the sum of the energy your appliance consumed in kilowatt-hours. After reading the LCD display for the cumulative kWh, you can use this information to calculate the average amount of energy used by the...

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