This article was last updated on May 17
After moving into my new house from a relatively small apartment, the one thing I noticed (and expected) was a large jump in my utility bills. Since my home AC and heating system were electric, I expected my energy bill to be two to three times larger than the one I was used to getting. It ended up being four times as much! And when I saw my bill for the first time, it was definitely a bit startling and much more than I had budgeted for. However while the electricity bill tells me how much I have spent, it provides very little information on how I could save money for my home specifically.
Fortunately one of the house warming gifts I received from friends (who had a similar experience when they bought a home) was a home use Power Monitor (EM100B Energy Saver Series from Black & Decker Corp).This device like other home power monitors provides real-time data about how much power you’re using across the house in terms that are easy to comprehend: cost per hour and cost per month. So no tricky calculations to try and understand what the readings mean. A convenient appliance mode feature allows you to track minute-to-minute changes in electric consumption as major appliances are turned on and off, so you can see where your money is going. This makes it easy for you to decide, for instance, which electrical appliances and accessories are really worth their cost, and which of your older appliances are costing you more money than they’re worth. You can also quickly tell how much you save by switching to compact florescent light bulbs or instituting other conservation measures in your home. Turn on the microwave and watch the cost jump from 10 cents to 25 cents an hour. Turn off some lights and see the cost drop a few cents.
Initially I was sceptical about the device and thought that I would spend all my potential savings on getting an electrician to install the device. However getting started is as easy as mounting the sensor to your outdoor electric meter, aligning it, and synchronizing the sensor with the cordless monitor. Once this is done, you can track real-time usage from a convenient, indoor location. The results are immediately available and can help you to start making smart energy-consumption choices. After getting used to the whole setup the device was very clear and easy to use. The power monitor also shows you the outdoor temperature, so you can account for heat used on cold mornings, and it displays your month-to-date usage along with an estimate for your upcoming bill. This advanced feature can work with any type of billing rate, including flat rate billing, separate peak and off-peak rates, or tiered billing structures. Based on early usage this is more accurate than I thought.
The product manufacturer says that lifestyle changes based on the information your family gets from this monitor can save you up to 20 percent a month on your electric bills. I would say the range is more like 10 to 15%, but given the monitor only costs $99.99, it pays for itself in a few months in a standard single family home. I recommend reading the Amazon customer reviews and there is a good video review worth watching which shows the device in action. Apart from being a money saving device, I think it also makes a great house warming gift for those with frugal minded friends.