Gear Review: Kill A Watt Energy Usage Monitor

 Whether you are looking to go off the grid, create a back up power system or just save on electricity; the Kill A Watt monitor is a great tool. You have to know how much energy different gadgets and appliances burn in order to know what you can power with what or what is running up that electric bill.

You simply plug the unit into the outlet and plug the item you want to check into it – simple. You can set it to measure Volts, Current, Amps and more. You can even input your local rate per KWH and calculate your Hour, Day, Week, Month and Yearly cost of whatever you are testing. What we found most useful was being able to see real energy usage as opposed to what the owner’s manual says. A 300 watt appliance may not actually use 300 watts every hour; a 300 watt item used 5 minutes a day only uses 25 watts. For example: our new All-in-one PC is rated at about 65 watts (an hour), but actually uses 35 watts when in active use and 18 watts in sleep mode (I used to hate sleep mode). Add this to the 5 watts for the modem and 5 watts for the wireless router; we’re pulling 45 watts when in full use and 28 watts when idle. Watching Netflix on the PC turned out to be WAAAY more efficient than turning on the TV. We found that our rarely used TV/Entertainment center was burning nearly 50 Watts (per hour) while sitting idle – more than our all in one desktop PC when in use. Yes, most electronics use at least some power even when turned off. We found that adding power strips and keeping them turned off when the items are not in use eliminated this waste (or you can simply unplug them.)  

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Knowledge is power, just the exercise of testing and learning what gadgets are burning how much energy, led to 14% or $35 reduction in our electric bill in just the 1st month. That may seem small to you, but that’s $420 a year that was previously wasted and could better be used elsewhere.

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Bottom line: if you’re looking to reduce (or replace) your energy usage, this is the place to start. I picked mine up at Home Depot for about $29, Amazon has it for about $27.00.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Happy prepping!

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