Have you ever wondered how much that appliance is costing me to run? Can I get a more efficient appliance and save enough energy to justify buying a new one? How can I identify the “vampire” loads in my house? That is, the power that an electronic device might use when it is not operational...
There are several types of simple plug-in monitoring devices that can help the homeowner with these questions and more. You can Google “residential plug-in monitors” and find several brands. I have attached a link to one that I have purchased. It is inexpensive ($24.95+tax+no shipping cost) and can answer these questions for you.
While I remembered the term "vampire power" from that email, I had completely forgotten (in my conscious mind) about the Kill-A-Watt meter. Somewhere deep in my brain, however, I must have remembered it because I bought that exact model a few months ago to run the Day 34 freezer experiment.
Today, I've hooked it up to the power strip in my computer corner to find out how much energy each item uses when it's on and when it's "off." The picture below shows my setup (click on it for details on each component):
Everything on: 104 Watts. Everything off: 14.5 Watts. That latter number is equivalent to running my stepdaughter's night light 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Looking at my electric bill from last month, I see that I was charged $48.35 for 458 kiloWatt-hours or $0.11 per kWh. If I assume 8,766 hours per year, this rate equals $0.93 per Watt-year. Since this is pretty close to $1, I'm going to adopt it as a new "rule of thumb."
Reducing "always on" energy use by
1 Watt saves $1 in 1 year.
This is a little depressing. I had already wired all of my computer components to a power strip that I would dutifully shut off and save money. At most, I would save $14.50 the whole year (or enough for three trips to Irazu Coffee.) This is a start, but there must be a way to make deeper cuts into the energy bill.