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Real-Time Home Energy Monitoring

Do you know how much energy is being used at your house when no one is home? I do.

Last summer I purchased a power meter to monitor whole-house energy consumption. The cost was about $150, but the thought of having this new toy seemed warranted (in my mind at least!) since I love gadgets and data. 

The power meter posts my home’s energy consumption to an on-line 'dashboard' every 5 minutes. It’s quite remarkable. You can see when the coffee maker is on. You can see when the microwave is running. You can see when I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed. The appliances that cause spikes in home power consumption include:

  • Gas clothes dryer
  • Washing machine
  • Microwave
  • Panini press
  • Electric outdoor grill
  • Coffee maker
  • Hair dryer
  • Gas fueled baseboard heating system
  • Vacuum cleaner

The most surprising thing to me is the amount of energy consumed when no one is home.  The lowest I have ever seen measured is 130 watts - and that is when the fridge and freezer are not running. The 130 watts works out to about $150 per year. I understand that this is the price I have to pay for not having to plug in my computer, printer, scanner, lamps, TV, DVR etc. etc. every time I want to use them.  I have been able to bring that number down a little by purchasing a powerstrip that completely powers down my home office when not in use.

Do you know how much energy is being used at your house when no one is home? What do you do to minimize phantom power consumption?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Laurie Hunt November 21, 2011 at 05:47 PM
We installed a unit that stores this power and then sends it back to our appliances found here: http://power-save.com/1200.html. We have noticed a difference in our bill.
Crishmartin October 10, 2012 at 07:21 AM
Monitoring energy consumption is vitally important for businesses that want to cut their costs and environmental impact by saving energy. I just visit www.entouchcontrols.com and found great information regading it.

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