The last few days I have been playing with a new device. I spent approximately $18 to purchase a Kill A Watt from Amazon. Now a Kill A Watt is a device that will measure exactly how much power you use to run an appliance.
The U.S Department of Energy reports that 20% of our electric bills come from items that are left plugged in when they are not in use, or items that are in standby mode. With the Kill A Watt P4400 we can monitor the energy eaters in our homes and cut down our electric bills at the same time. Plug whatever item you want into the device and it will tell you the efficiency of that item by displaying the kilowatt per hour. It will also let you monitor how many watts your appliance requires and what the start up wattage is. It also lets you measure kill a watt-hours and amperage.
Unless we live off the grid, most of us never really try to get by without the power off for several days. Now I have both solar and generator backup for a grid down situation. I have always figured that I needed to at least have power to run the freezer and a couple of basic items long enough to preserve the freezer’s contents by other means.
So for the last few days I have been using the Kill A Watt to measure the wattage required by the electrical appliances we would want to keep running for a period of time. Now one of my big concerns was how much power the freezer takes on start up. Many electric motors require a surge of power to start. Depending on the appliance this can be considerable, often 1200 -1400 watts. So imagine my surprise when I found out that my new energy star freeze only draws 200 watts on startup and then drops down to approximately 120 watts.
This was great news; it gives me a much bigger safety margin than I had planned for. By the end of the week, I should know exactly how much power I will require to run the necessary items in my home. If you do this it will help you to determined the size generator or solar system you will require. To do this measure the wattage drawn by each appliance or light you intent to run, total up the numbers and you will know how much power you need. Remember you do have some leeway because not everything will be running at once.
I would strongly suggest that if you intent to stay in your home get a Kill A Watt and determine exactly how many watts you need to run your necessary items. I found the Kill A Watt easy to use and it will also save me money in the future. I am checking to see how much it is costing me to let some things stay on standby instead of turning them off. I suspect I will be turning a few things off.