Lower your electricity bill…by keeping track of it

We’ve reviewed some of our favorite items from the TerraPass green store ourselves. But increasingly our readers are outdoing us. Tom Harrison published a review of the PowerCost Home Energy Monitor on his blog fivepercent.us. With Tom’s permission, here are some highlights:

The PowerCost Monitor's sensor on a digital meter

The sensor attached to Tom’s digital meter

The PowerCost Monitor's sensor on a digital meter

It also works with older mechanical meters

The PowerCost Monitor's sensor on a digital meter

The display includes cost-per-hour information

[It] installed easily in about 20 minutes. It has a device designed to be strapped around the electric meter, and it actually reads the meter. It can work with most common meters, even the old spinning-dial ones. Instructions were good, and there’s a special book for each different meter kind.

The meter-reader part has a wireless transmitter that sends a signal to the display part that you put inside your house. You set the date and time, and also, using a current electrical bill, enter the amount you pay for a kilowatt-hour of electricity, which is usually right on the bill. That’s all.

It shows your electrical consumption in dollars and cents on a little display you can put where you like. Your electrical use is no longer “out of sight, out of mind”.

And boy does it work!

I bought one and installed it, and, having received our first electricity bill since then, can confidently say that it will pay for itself in less than a year. Maybe a lot faster than that!

When things are mostly quiet, we still use about 5 or 6 cents per hour — a dollar a day. When we’re up and about, it’s usually around $0.12 per hour; lights are on, the refrigerator is running, the computer or TV is on, and so on.

But when I look down and see $1.22 per hour, I know the dryer is on. Holy cow!

Read Tom’s full review, together with some other great tips on saving energy at fivepercent.us.

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