What I Learned Before the Sun Came Up This Morning

My Christmas toy is a Kill A Watt, a cool little goober that you plug into an outlet to see how much electricity something uses. Today’s calculation: the desktop computer, despite being off, is responsible for about 2 percent of my average household electricity consumption.

Die, vampire! With my power strip that has an off switch, I drive a stake through your heart!


  1. Yes, we have one and lend it around, and the newer basic ones are really pretty cheap. Watts up? has similar products.

    For intermittent things, like fridge, it’s nice to have the model that does cumulative readings.

    Another useful item is a noncontact infrared thermometer, <$30, for checking out insulation, see which windows need work [for some places, Hunter Douglas Architella blinds claim R-values above 7. we have some and they really work, especially in dry-air climates with lots of sun and cool nights.]

  2. John –

    I have one of those infrared thermometers too. I learnt about them from a high school science teacher, who said they’re the best science teaching gizmo he’s ever found. Give ’em to a kid and let ’em go – they start measuring and thinking.

  3. Last month I met someone with a wireless, whole-house, energy monitor. I think they had the bluelineinnovations.com brand, but google for “wireless whole house energy monitor”. There are several options.

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