Tracking Electrical Consumption in the Home

Over the last few decades, the number of appliances taking in energy and driving up your electric bill has increased dramatically. Not only do you need to worry about HVAC and refrigeration, but also computers, tablets, multiple televisions, smart devices, cameras, and more. Understanding which of your devices are consuming the most power can help you make more informed decisions about how to approach adding or removing devices to your home. I would recommend every homeowner take the time to figure out the consumption of individual appliances in your home.


There are a number of digital tools which can be used to create estimates about the energy consumption of devices and appliances in your home. While these will obviously not give you a perfectly accurate number, it can be a good tool to get started when trying to get a handle on your electrical spending. Many devices have known power consumption rates, although even if you can find a rate for a specific model of appliance, yours is unlikely to be exactly the same. Everything from location, climate, age, and use habits can affect the electrical consumption of most appliances.

Measurement Tools

It is relatively easy to order a simple tool which can measure the power draw of an appliance through an outlet. Typically, it will function somewhat like a small power strip. You plug the device into the wall, then your appliance into the device, and the device will measure the amount of power being drawn. If you leave this on for a while, you can  get a pretty good idea how much electricity is drawn in an hour of use, which can then be multiplied based on the average hours of use the appliance gets per month.

If you have smart technology in your home, there are actually some home management system which offer the ability to give you this information without having to purchase additional equipment. If this is you, then simply check what your smart technology can do, and where it is installed. Sometimes you will be able to view all sorts of metrics, such as usage patterns, times when energy expenditures are highest, and also ways to save energy.

Whole home electrical monitoring systems are also available, and should be installed by a qualified electrician. While these will be pricier than a simple measurement devices for one outlet, they have the benefit of being much more accurate and being able to gather data over a period of time, reducing variability in measurement. You will also be able to get ratings much more quickly overall, as you will not have to spend time measuring each appliance and recording your results somewhere before finally getting an estimate of power usage. Whole home monitoring systems are great for the tech minded homeowner who wants to be more responsible about their overall energy consumption.

The Electrical Company

Understanding your use is only helpful if you also understand what the electricity costs. Electricity is measured in kilowatt hours, which is a unit that represents a certain amount of electricity. A kilowatt is a rate of electrical flow, and measures a certain rate of power consumption. A kilowatt hour is the amount of electricity that would be consumed in an hour by a device drawing 1 kilowatt of power. So find out how much you pay per kilowatt hour, and integrate this information into your findings. Make sure to look at more than just the number on your electric bill. Often, their will be tiers of payment, so if you are above or below a certain usage threshold, your costs may not scale linearly. Getting a full understanding of the electrical consumption pricing plan available to your house will be a great help in ensuring that you manage to save money over time.

Saving Power

There is little point in gathering all of this information unless you plan to do something with it. While some may be satisfied with understanding where all of their power is going, most people will want to go out and make changes to their electrical consumption. Unfortunately, some things, such as your refrigerator, your pool equipment, and your security system should probably not be turned off. So you will have to look at other appliances to find real savings. One of the appliances which is most commonly turned off to save power are HVAC systems. Climate control is quite energy expensive, and some people may prefer to save the energy than sit in a comfortable house. Additionally, devices like computers and televisions often consume more power than you realize while in standby mode, and you may wish to begin unplugging them, or installing power strips which can be set to turn off the power to the devices when not in use. Either way, do your research, and carefully decide on the devices which are using more power than you want to allow.

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