How to Calculate Power Consumption With A Simple To Use Meter


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If you’re like most people who are concerned about conserving energy, you probably wonder exactly how much electricity each of your electronic devices actually use. In today’s article I’m going to teach you how to use a very simple and inexpensive home energy monitor that will tell you exactly how many watts and amps a particular appliance is using.

The product that I’ll be talking about today is called the P3 Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor. There are actually two versions of this product. The first is model number P4400 which usually runs about $20.00 and the second is model number EZ P4460 which will cost you about $25.00.

Which Kill-A-Watt Energy Monitoring System Should You Buy?

P4460 EZ - Photo Credit: P3 International

Regardless of which model you decide to buy, they will both tell you exactly how many watts and amps are being consumed by an electrical device. They will also display voltage, line frequency, and kilowatt hours.

I actually own the P4400 model but if you are connected to the electrical grid, I recommend that you purchase the EZ P4460 watt hour meter. This little gem has a really cool feature that allows you to program the exact price that your electric company charges you per kilowatt hour. Adding this feature to the unit turns it into a versatile power consumption calculator that can let you know exactly how much a particular appliance is costing you in dollars.

The other model will tell you how many kilowatt hours you’re using and it’s a simple math problem to figure out how much it would cost you in dollars but it’s a nice feature to be able to see the dollar amount on the display screen.

If you want to know how to do this calculation, you can click here: How To Calculate Electric Bill.

How To Use These Energy Monitoring Devices

Regardless of which kilowatt hour meter you decide to purchase using them is very simple. All you do is plug the power consumption meter into a standard electrical outlet. Then you plug the electronic device that you are measuring the power consumption for directly into the power usage meter.
Immediately after plugging the appliance into your new home power monitor you’ll be able to get some very good information. When I’m using mine, the first thing I do is check to see how many watts the device is consuming. This is the number that’s really important to you because your electric company is going to charge you a certain rate for every 1000 watts (kilowatt) of power that your home consumes.

Measuring Time Lapsed Household Energy Consumption

If you prefer, you can leave the device plugged in for several hours or even several days and find out how much electricity a particular electrical appliance is consuming over a long period of time. This will probably give you a more accurate representation of exactly how efficient or even how inefficient the particular appliance actually is.

How to Do an Appliance Power Consumption Audit

I recommend that you test all of the electrical appliances in your home and make a chart that shows exactly how much electricity they consume. This will help you know exactly what the real “energy hogs” in your home are so you can decide whether it’s time to replace a particular appliance.
Any time we go shopping for a new electrical appliance, the people in the stores must think we’re a little nutty because my husband always pulls out his trusty Kill-A-Watt power consumption monitor and tests exactly how much electricity the device would use in our home if we were to purchase it.

How To Calculate kWh

After you do an energy audit on your electrical appliances, you may want to know how to convert watts to kilowatts. Remember, your power company bills you for each kilowatt hour. To convert watt hours to kilowatt hours you simply use this simple formula: kilowatts = watts/1000. For example a 60W light bulb consumes 0.06 kilowatts (0.06 = 60/1000).

One of the things I like so much about the Kill-A-Watt home power monitor is that they take the guesswork and need to do math out of the equation. If you leave them plugged in to a device for any length of time, they essentially become an electricity usage calculator because of their ability to keep track of the power usage for as long as the device is plugged in.

How Accurate is this Power Monitoring Equipment?

It’s probably going to be hard to believe because these devices are so inexpensive but the manufacturer reports that they are accurate to within 0.2%! That’s pretty dang impressive if you ask me!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you did, you might also find my article called: A Look at The Different Types of Solar Panels to be interesting.


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