A way to measure your power consumption for free

August 21, 2012

Borrow a power meter from your library

Portable power meters are excellent tools for helping you save on energy, because they measure the power consumption of anything that plugs into a wall outlet.  Your power bill might tell you the total amount of energy consumed in your home, but it doesn’t provide any indication of where it was consumed.  How much power does your toaster use? Or your PVR?  Or your hair dryer?

A portable meter can tell you precisely.  As well, it can help you find phantom power users.  (Phantom power is the trickle of power used by many devices even when they are turned off; it can be eliminated with the use of a power bar.)

Here’s some great news: many libraries now have power meters you can borrow like a book.  It’s an excellent, zero-cost opportunity to do a little measuring so you can identify ways to lower your energy bills – and do the planet a favour.  It’s great fodder for a school science fair project, or to stimulate a family discussion about ways to save energy.

(Of course, you can always buy a meter if you like – they’re available in many hardware stores, including here, here and here.)


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