Monitoring house current draw?

I'd like to be more aware of the current draw in my house. This could help me locate appliances I forgot to turn off, or device that draw large current even when turned off, or hidden current leakage.
The easiest way is probably to add some sort of meter to the main electrical panel. However I don't feel like rewiring the panel for this.
Are there circuit breaker with built-in amp meter? I guess the meter would have to be very small. If such thing exists it would be the simplest solution. Or it could transmit the reading via powerline (x10 or insteon) that can be read with a PC interface.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

a clamp on ampmeter is one approach...........
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

But he'd prolly have to transfer the from one side of the incoming line to the other, or use two meters, and I seriously doubt if doing that on a continuous basis would meet codes.
There are "current transformers" available which could be placed over the two incoming ine feeds with their outputs driving AC voltmeters, but the OP has already said he doesn't want to get into the panel, so I think he's probably SOL at finding the "easy" solution he's seeking.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What you want to do is an audit of your use, there is a 100$ or so device that just clamps on your main meter and I think by RF it sends what the use is to what looks like a thermostat sized unit. A 25$ Kill- a- Watt meter which is very accurate you can use for whatever plugs into the wall, it measures amp, watts, Va, Hz, volt, used over time so you can accuratly figure out what your refrigerator uses it will tell you how many watts is used in say 100 hours. A clamp on meter is good to find any panel shorts, but best is one that goes to .01 amp and box stores dont have them that go that low unless you spend alot, A 35$ greenlee at your electric supply store is good.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 24 Apr 2008 11:20:51 -0700 (PDT), ransley

I agree. The OP should not forget to turn appliances off. Maybe he should just unplug everything in the house when not in use. People dont realize that those black box transformers all draw current when not in use but still plugged in. The same is true for many tv sets, computers, and other electronics. Rather than spend a fortune on monitoring and metering devices, just put a power strip on each location where there are electronic devices. Shut off the power strip so the read light on it is not glowing and there is no power being used. Ceiling lights are pretty obvious. Either they are on or off. Light bulb consumption is simply wattage of bulb times time in use. A 100W bulb left on for 10 hours is 1KWH of power. The amount of power used by electric heating devices such as baseboard heaters, electric ranges and water heaters can be determined by the wattage and length of time in use. That leaves refrigerators and motors which are not as easy to calculate. A kill-a-watt meter might help on those.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You can find it alot cheaper on ebay
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 24 Apr 2008 12:21:01 -0700 (PDT), ransley

Not if you want one that works. If it's on ebay, it's already been in the trash can. And it wont be cheaper once the shipping&handling fees are added.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You can also call your power company. In VT, they would send you one to use for a month and even sent you a postpaid box to return it. Of course, had to leave credit card info in case you didn't return it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Just step outside and observe your electric meter. If's the old style electro-mechanical type you just take your watch and measure how many revolutions the "wheel" makes in, say, 15 second. Write that down. If you look carefully, you might find a number on the meter that converts revolution to energy.
If you have a 100% electronic meter it should cycle around with one display showing instant energy consumption.
Otherwise you have to use a current transformer (a clamp on ampmeter includes a CT) and an AC ampmeter.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If in North America one normally has two 115 volt 'legs' that must be measured to determine the current draw. For example one may at any one time have lights and apparatus switched on that are on leg A. Then at perhaps other times circuits that are on leg B. So both have to be measured/recorded. Heavier 230 volt appliances, such as clothes dryers, cooking stoves and electric heat use leg A and leg B. So the current could be measured twice! The electrcity meter does this on behalf of the power utility. Trying to measure current without using the proper (and code compliant) apparatus sounds like a rather useless exercise? maybe the simplest is read the meter and/or invest in one of those devices (battery powered AIUI) that clamp onto the meter and transmit information to a battery powered unit inside the house. Congratulate the OP on cultivating an awareness of which appliances use most power and when they are on; but some so called 'economies' are meaningless. For example many homes here use electric heating; so that the more 'efficient' appliances or CFL lamps that today do not 'waste' as much electricity as heat do not contribute to home heating. As a consequence electric heating has to operate a little more in order to warm the house so the same amount of kilowatt hours are used, whether indirectly through 'inefficient' appliances/lights or directly through electric heating.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Google - "cent a meter"
I use these in my student rental units so tenants can see how much each appliance, light, etc. is using and adjust there usage for best economy.

If in North America one normally has two 115 volt 'legs' that must be measured to determine the current draw. For example one may at any one time have lights and apparatus switched on that are on leg A. Then at perhaps other times circuits that are on leg B. So both have to be measured/recorded. Heavier 230 volt appliances, such as clothes dryers, cooking stoves and electric heat use leg A and leg B. So the current could be measured twice! The electrcity meter does this on behalf of the power utility. Trying to measure current without using the proper (and code compliant) apparatus sounds like a rather useless exercise? maybe the simplest is read the meter and/or invest in one of those devices (battery powered AIUI) that clamp onto the meter and transmit information to a battery powered unit inside the house. Congratulate the OP on cultivating an awareness of which appliances use most power and when they are on; but some so called 'economies' are meaningless. For example many homes here use electric heating; so that the more 'efficient' appliances or CFL lamps that today do not 'waste' as much electricity as heat do not contribute to home heating. As a consequence electric heating has to operate a little more in order to warm the house so the same amount of kilowatt hours are used, whether indirectly through 'inefficient' appliances/lights or directly through electric heating.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Paul I couldnt get a link
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
my Google comes up with www.centameter.au click home at bottom of page.

Paul I couldnt get a link
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It just occurs to me, my power company uses radio AMR to read my meter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_meter_reading
Are there receives I can buy to receive the same signal?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
There is this glass enclosed device called an electric meter generally on the outside of your house where the electric wires come into your house. It often has a 4 or 5 inch diameter wheel inside that spins around based on the amount of electric you are using at that moment. The faster it spins the more current (power) you are using.
Additionally there are also 4 or 5 pointers on the unit that display the number of amp/hours used since the meter was installed. If you write down the numbers the pointer is pointing to (always the smaller number) and compare it to the positions in an hour or week, the difference is how many amp-hours you have use it that time frame.
If you have a digital meter, just write down the number and compare

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.