How To Check, Track & Meter Electricity Usage
Over the years, I've witnessed many 'debates' about who or what caused a power bill to go up.
I've also heard plenty of misinformation about which devices use the most electricity.
In this blog post, I'll outline several devices you can use to check your electricity usage. These devices will help you understand what really uses the most electricity, so you can get on with saving energy!
As you'll see, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to monitoring energy usage. The device you need is different depending on whether you're checking a beer fridge, metering a granny flat, or tracking how much power is used by a caravan.
1. How to check the electricity consumption of any plug-in appliance.
A hairdryer, kettle, and mobile phone charger all have one thing in common: a standard power plug. This makes them relatively easy to check for high or low electricity usage. In fact, anything with a regular '10 amp' power plug can be measured with a plug-in power meter.
Before you go on a measuring blitz, I'd recommend that you first check your electricity bill. In particular, you should note down the daily average kWh figure. This number gives you something tangible to compare the measured electricity usage against.
For Example: You might measure a fridge for 24 hours and find out that it consumes 1.2kWh/day. If your total power usage is 12kWh/day, you now know the fridge is responsible for about 10% of your electricity bill (1.2kWh divided by 12kWh = 0.1, or 10%).
We currently sell three plug-in power meters for this purpose:
- Reduction Revolution Power Meter. This low-cost option does the job for all ad-hoc monitoring around the home. It's not suitable for continuous electricity usage data logging.
- Smart Wifi Plug With Energy Monitor. This is a great solution if you want added features in addition to the ability to check electricity usage. For example, you can use it to remotely switch appliances on and off from your smartphone, even if you are not at home.
- Power Mate Lite. This is more of a professional tool for energy auditors, electricians, or tech enthusiats. There is also a 15 amp model for 15 amp appliances that you may find in commercial kitchens, caravan parks, and elsewhere.
Two of our most popular plug-in power meters.
2. How to track the electricity usage of hard-wired devices.
Such as lighting, air conditioning, spas, ovens, and hot water.
You'll soon realise that some key energy users cannot be plugged in. Items such as light fittings, reverse cycle AC, outdoor spas, and electric hot water systems.
To track the electricity consumption of these items, you'll need to install a wireless energy monitor.
Energy monitors give you a real-time display of your total power consumption. Here are some of the ways they can help reveal underlying energy usage and cost issues:
- Switch the appliance in question on and off. Note down how much the 'kW' figure goes up and down by on the energy monitor. What is the impact on the cost figure?
- Check your electricity usage before going out. How much power is being used? What could still be on that doesn't need to be?
- Check your energy usage overnight. Should consumption be this high when everyone is sleeping? Or at work, when the office is closed?
We sell two main types of wireless energy monitoring options:
- The Powerpal energy monitor. This device can be easily self-installed on any smart or digital electricity meter. The Powerpal tracks your usage on your phone with an app.
- The Efergy Elite. This device uses current sensor clamps installed at your meter board. It has a wide range of potential uses, including tracking the output of your solar panels.
Our three best-selling wireless energy monitors.
3. How to meter the electricity usage of specific rooms, buildings or loads.
Including workshops, office sub-tenants, granny flats, cabins, sheds, electric vehicle chargers, caravan powered sites, boat marinas, coolrooms, and more.
Another issue I often encounter is one of suspicion about the power draw in a specific area of a property. The area may be occupied by a tinkering-husband, law-unto-themselves-teenager, or your parents-in-law.
Or you might run an accommodation business with lots of separate areas (rooms, cabins, or sites), but only receive one power bill.
The good thing about these areas is that they usually have their own power circuit. This makes them an ideal candidate for an electrical sub-meter. An electrical sub-meter allows you to meter a circuit, or group of circuits, for the purposes of on-billing, or just being better informed.
Once you know how many kWh an area is using, all you have to do is deduct this from your main electricity bill to understand its relative impact.
We offer three sub-meter options:
- 45 amp sub-meter - for small single-phase areas, many electric car chargers, and similar.
- 80 amp sub-meter - for larger sub-tenancies (larger granny flats, commercial offices, etc)
- Three-phase 100 amp sub-meter - for large, three-phase sub-circuits.
Our three sizes of electrical sub-meter. These are installed at your meter board by an electrician.
Still got questions? You might like to check out our blog posts on some related topics, including: