Monitor Energy Usage
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What is a Kill A Watt Monitor?
A Kill A Watt Monitor is a device that measures the electrical usage of small plug-in appliances and other devices. You can use a Kill A Watt Monitor to learn which devices use the most energy, and to find devices that use energy when they are turned off (called “phantom” loads).
Kill A Watt Monitors are available for check-out from local libraries, or can be purchased at electronics stores. We also have a limited supply of monitors available for check-out from our office.
What You Can Measure
The Kill A Watt Monitor can be used to measure the electrical consumption of 120-volt household electronics up to 1875 watts. 220-volt appliances, such as ovens or clothes dryers, cannot be measured with a Kill A Watt Monitor.
Here are some items you might measure:
- Cable or Sattelite Box
- VCR/DVD or Blue-Ray Player
- Stereo Equipment
- Gaming System
- Computer Printer
- Coffee Maker
- Window A/C Unit
- Cordless Phone
- Space Heater (1,875 watt max)
- Hair Dryer
- Cell Phone Charger
- Fountain Pump
How to Use It
1. Plug In the Kill A Watt, Then Plug In the Device
Plug the Kill a Watt Monitor into an electrical socket, power strip, or extension cord, and then plug the device you want to measure into the Kill a Watt Monitor. Turn the device on. The voltage will appear on the display. It should read approximately 120V.
2. For an Instant Reading, Press the “Watt/VA” Button
For an instant reading of the number of watts being used by the device, press the “Watt/VA” Button. You can take readings on several different devices to compare the energy they draw. A lamp with a 60-watt standard incandescent light bulb will draw about 60 watts. A lamp with an equiavelent compact fluorescent light bulb will draw about 15 watts.
3. Turn off the Electrical Device to Check for Phantom Loads
The Kill A Watt can be used to identify phantom loads. Just turn the electrical device that is plugged in to the Kill A Watt Monitor off and then check the “Watt/VA” reading again to see whether the device draws power when it’s off. Some common sources of phantom loads are devices with built-in clocks, such as coffee makers, or instant-on capabilities, such as cable TV boxes. Also, devices with remote control capability or battery chargers draw power continuously.
4. For a More Accurate Reading, Wait an Hour or More
The Kill A Watt Monitor will continuously measure the power used by a device from the moment the device is plugged in until you unplug it. To get a good average reading, leave devices plugged in for one hour, then press the “KWH/Hour” button to see the total energy consumed. Items that cycle on and off, such as refrigerators, should be plugged in for several hours or overnight. To re-set the Kill A Watt Monitor to measure a new device, unplug the Kill A Watt Monitor and and plug it back in.
Local Libraries with Kill A Watt Monitors
Kill A Watt Monitors are available for check out from these local libraries:
St. Helens Public Library
375 South 18th Street
St. Helens, OR
Scappoose Public Library District
52469 SE 2nd Street
Columbia City Community Library
205 I Street
Columbia City, OR
City of Rainier Library
106 B Street
Borrow a Kill A Watt Monitor from Our Office
We also stock a few Kill A Watt Monitors, and a different style of monitor with a longer cord that is useful for measuring the energy use of refrigerators or for customers who might have difficulty bending down to read a Kill A Watt Monitor. Contact us at (503) 397-1844 for more information.