Tools and Equipment

Energy projects require the right tools and equipment.  Here I provide you with some information on tools and equipment I’ve used and found to work well without breaking the bank.  Please note that I do not have any affiliation with these products or the companies that sell them, and I do not endorse the products or sellers.

Kill-A-Watt Power Meter

Kill-A-Watt Power MeterYou can’t manage what you can’t measure.  And this applies to determining how much electricity devices use.  The information we need to measure is watts.  A multimeter is not a convenient tool for measuring watts for numerous plug-in devices around the house.

So along comes the Kill-A-Watt meter for around $20.  Plug the Kill-A-Watt meter into an outlet or an extension cord (there’s a 3-prong plug on the back) and then plug the device you want to measure into the front of the meter.  Pressing buttons on the front lets you display volts, amps, watts, and more.

The Kill-a-Watt meter is available from Amazon at this link:

https://www.amazon.com/P3-P4400-Electricity-Usage-Monitor/dp/B00009MDBU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466040573&sr=8-1&keywords=kill+watt+meter

To save money on utility bills, all we need to measure is watts.  You’ll find a couple models of the Kill-A-Watt meter, and either of them will do the job just fine.

To keep your expectations realistic, please be aware of one thing.  I’ve found that these meters cannot read small wattages (< 1 watt).  For example, a cell phone charger that pulls less than a watt will likely not read on the meter display.  It’s not an expensive meter and it doesn’t have the sensitivity to read and display such small electrical currents.  However, I personally don’t care because I can leave my cell phone charger plugged in all month and never see a blip on my electric bill.  But some stereo receivers, televisions, the refrigerator, etc. use a lot of electricity.  These are the devices with a real potential for savings, and the Kill-A-Watt meter works great for them.  Try it – I think you’ll find it to be a pretty handy gadget around the house!

Inventory Spreadsheet

I’ve provided a simple Excel spreadsheet file that goes along with blog article titled “How to Save Energy at Home – Part 2 of 3”.  You can use this spreadsheet as a starting point and modify it as you wish.

Note:  For your protection, Microsoft Excel opens all files downloaded from the internet in “Protected View”.  So you’ll need to click on “Enable Editing” the first time you open it in Excel.  Then you can make changes and save it on your computer.

Here’s a screenshot of the download:

Home Electric Devices Inventory File Screenshot

Download “Electric Device Inventory” Home-Electric-Devices-Inventory.xlsx – Downloaded 246 times – 12 KB