I bought myself one of those little energy monitoring units
... really easy to set up and use. Identified potential savings already
which will more than pay for the unit in less than a year.
I set the little thing running and then turned on or off appliances to see
what energy they were using. The first thing I noticed was that the "low
energy" bulbs in our little day room where consuming approx 22 watt each.
They're supposed to be only 11 watt consumption for 60 watt equivalent at A
rating .... I've put this down to them been of the older design/model and
are not as efficient as modern A rated bulbs so 3 bulbs replaced (you could
get 5 for a £1 in the January sales so no real added costs in replacing the
bulbs) and I've saved 33 watt.
The microwave (we have two one for big cooking and a little one for
reheating bits and bobs) they seem to consume around 4 watt when not in use
.. must be the clock? They're now turned off at the socket.
I think I'm going to have fun with this little gadget running around turning
things on and off. My wife went to bed early last night (wonder if it had
anything to do with hubby playing with the new energy saving gadget?) and so
she turned her electric blanket on ... instantly you can see the increase in
energy used ... so I turned a light of in the living room and it nearly
balanced the electric blanket been put on .... every little helps !
Anyone else have experience of this or similar little gadgets?
Actually, it's down do a design fault in the energy monitoring
device you are using (which can't measure Watts, only VA). The
lamp power will almost certainly be whatever is printed on the
lamps, but the energy monitoring device is incapable of
measuring that accurately.
If you want to do accurate power consumption measurements, one
of the plug-in types is going to be better. Use the one you have
to show increase and decrease in load, but the actual values it
gives you are not at all accurate, as you've found, and can't be
due to the way it works.
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
Having just received a 900 quid bill for the last quarter...
I'm fairly keen to check my meter, how difficult is it to fit a second
meter in to the system? Is it something that I could do myself - they
are fairly cheap to buy, certainly less than the fee required to have
the existing meter tested - or should I resort to an electrician?
The clip on variety don't seem accurate enough to get the supply company
to take any notice.
You don't have to resort to electicians, special meters or expensive checks
by the meter provider to get a rough check of your electricity meter, this
is what you can do.
1) At a time convenient to the occupants, switch off all of the electricity
consuming devices in the house and check that the meter is completely
stationary, older meters have a very visible silver coloured meter, and more
modern meters still have a wheel but it is visible through a small hole.
If the wheel is still going round then either you haven't switched
everything off or someone else is using your electricity !
When you have got the wheel stationary, read the meter, (this is reading A)
including any red digits on the right hand side of the reading, write it
2) In the state described above, find an appliance of 2 or 3 kW rating,
which has no thermostat and can be run continuously, a 3kW fan heater may be
a good choice. Plug it in, turn on to max, start a clock (or stopwatch if
you are really keen). Obviously, don't let anyone in the house turn stuff
back on during this test period, or you will get a high reading.
3) Wait exactly 1 hour and read the meter again, write it down, this is
4) Do the sum Reading B - Reading A, this will give you the kW hours
5) If the result is 3kWhr, for a 3kw fan heater, or 2kWhr for a 2 kW fan
heater then your meter is reading correctly, about.
Now this is only a spot reading, the meter could be iffy in that it misreads
at other times.
If you want more accuracy then you can use one of the 13amp plug in meters
to check that your fan heater really does consume the power that it says in
the rating plate, and you can carry out the test for longer, say 5 or 10
Out of interest, just now I have checked my old Phillips 3 kW fan heater
with a plug in meter and it shows 2.6kW, this discepancy may be due to the
Voltage being at 235V only.
Are they running at 22W, or at 11W and 22VA?
If the latter, you are paying only for the 11W but there's a heating load
on transmission of 22'W'.
CFLs have a very poor Power Factor; most are little better than 0.5. CFLs
over 20W are supposed to have correction of PF and I bought a 30W Status
CFL from Morrisons that is about 31VA, thus a PF of about 0.97.
You can tell from the mA: an 11W lamp should be 46mA but is usually about
90mA; a 20W should be about 80mA and is often 150mA (the PF tends to get
less bad as wattage increases).
This 30W Status caught my eye as it had 130mA on it - so I bought it!
Only the plug-in beastie from Maplin. Not accurate for 'peculiar' loads but
OK for comparison. I changed the PSU on my PC and the draw went from 118W
to 93W; when I'd finished the new system it was 45W!
Most things don't need a meter, just simple mental aritmatic. Saw a proggy
wher the presenterdroid ran a shower for 10 min. and read the meter. I
timed a shower last Summer: 4m 45s @ 3.75kW - why read the meter?
I saw an audio stack that was 0.5W on standby (needed, as the user can't
stand up unassisted) or 11W with the clock on!
You don\'t understand Newton\'s Third Law of Motion?
Beware of energy conservation paranoia Ash - unless of course you would wish
to return to heating one room only - with a coal or wood fire (and using it
for cooking and boiling water for the weekly bath), wearing four layers of
clothing in the house, candles for lighting (or going to bed at dusk and
waking up at dawn), doing away with the TV, computer, radio, XBox etc - but
I suppose that's what the Climate Change scaremongers want!
Climate change happens, and making the cost of energy so high that the
average person has to scrimp and save to be able to use it will *NOT* stop
it happening - and the bloody windmills that they are advocating are totally
And with us paying for with a compulsory subsidy on our energy bills that
means even more taxes to the government and profits to company directors -
we go cold, while the sit in their overheated offices!
Ah well, rant over.
Thanks for the words of wisdom Cash. I'm not worried the least about "Global
Warming" ... it doesn't exist apart from the clever marketing the government
does to increase tax to combat this world menace! The world has been heating
up for the last 10,000 years ... since the last Ice Age in fact ... and the
weather always go in cycles of hot and cold .. in fact February 2009 has
been the coldest since 1962 so I think we're all due a tax rebate because if
we're paying tax to reduce the world warming up it's reduce the temperature
No the reason I'm penny pinching is because like the rest of the country
(Bankers and MP's excluded) I'm skint. Took early retirement due to ill
health a few years ago and finding it really hard to make ends meet. I could
make a few bob doing DIY for people but I tend to do odd jobs for people who
can't afford to pay for the professionals to come and so they just pay for
material and my time is free. Nothing big or anything which is going to put
people out of work ... mainly elderly neighbours who need lights changing,
fuses sorting, etc.
So my reason for energy watching is not to save the planet (it's looked
after by the Big Guy Upstairs) but just to try and reduce my outgoing costs
and so far I'm doing ok. This month I've saved £120 switching house
insurance and £50 on car breakdown recovery ... not to mention all the
penny's switching off the lights !!!
A man after my own heart with those words Ash - and I bet taxes will rise
Almost the same situation as you are in Ash - retired early, but tend to
keep away from something that I did for a very long time - work that is,
unless SWMBO or the kids want something done. LOL
Again, like you, I try to save costs, *but* there are limits to the cost
cutting whereby they can actually cost more!
Silly I know, but it has happened - especially when you try to make a claim
from the el-cheapo insurance company and they refuse to pay out because they
say that you didn't comply with their T & Cs to the exact letter and down to
the last full stop (as happened to me many years ago, way back in the
When I look at the comparison websites on t'internet, I find that yes, I can
save cash by switching, but when I then go as near as like-for-like that I
can with insurance and breakdown recovery companies, I find that they don't
beat the costs of the company I have dealt with for years!
I insure my car, house and breakdown recovery through my union (as a retired
member) and the car is full comp for £215 and house and contents are top of
the range cover for £229 (Frizzell and a bit of haggling done at renewal
last year ) with breadown recovery at around £120 (Britannia [changed
from the RAC a few years ago after a dust up with them and saved £££s for
the same cover]).
As for switching gas and electric - I'll pass on that for the moment as I am
not entirely convinced that there is an actual *long**term* saving (after
the intial saving on switching for the first time) - although I may take
that leap sometime in the next year or so.
Though I may just ditch my ISP and phone company this year, and take it all
to Sky - and that *will* save me a fair bit of cash, even after their 3
month 'deal period' expires.
What I have done, was to get the loft and cavities insulated  (£225
through my electric company [and that was half the price that British Gas
quoted for the same job] and finished off my door and window replacement by
fitting the last two items [again I negotiated a damn good deal with a local
PVCu company that save me around £900 from other quotes]) and that has cut
down my heating bills by around 15 - 20% a year (with a little tinkering
with various thermostat settings and a few thermostatic rad valves
 Told them that their renewal figure was too high and I was taking my
business elsewhere - and they dropped the price by over £50 after about 10
 Hated getting the cavities filled though and did it with some
trepidation, as cavities are designed *NOT* to be filled for a very good
So far, there are no major problems, but I do have minor one in one of the
bedrooms with a bit of fungus growing in the corner - and I'm not sure
whether that is caused by SWMBO drying the washing in there, a cold spot
caused by the lack of cavity insulation or the remains of a roof problem
that I had some time ago. It's under investigation now, with the paper
stripped off, fungus cleared and fungicide applied and that area painted in
white just to see what happens over the next few months.
All the best
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