Is there a way to view real time energy use??

Old 04-21-03, 03:53 PM
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Is there a way to view real time energy use??

Greetings all, nice forum you have here.

I would like to be able to know how many KWH I am using at various time of the day without having to go outside to check the meter.

Is there any way to get some sort of real time digital readout inside a house that would let me know how much I'm using as I'm using it.

My goal is to become more aware of where my energy usage is going and keep an eye on it during day to day activities.

Thanks for any help

Old 04-21-03, 06:28 PM
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There are several manufacturers that make digital meters that can be used directly at the panel to measure KWH, but for what they cost, you'll want to continue walking outside to look at your meter.
Old 04-21-03, 06:41 PM
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Many commercial customers have energy management controls that take "pulses" from the electric billing meter. Each pulse represent a certain amount of power (kilowatthours) and an energy management computer monitors this information in an attempt to control the maximum demand (kilowatts). They do this by integrating the energy information over time. This is pretty common with commercial customers such as Home Depot and Walmart. Since most utilities bill residential customers for energy only, the demand issue isn't a real consideration.

I've seen portable wattmeters which would give an instantaneous power reading. These have clamp-on current transformers (much like an amp-probe) and voltage leads.

Are you toying with the idea of going on a time-of-use rate?
Old 04-22-03, 03:38 PM
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No time of use rate, I just want to be more aware of my usage. I don't like being surprised by the bill, I'd like to know more frequently than once a month how much energy I'm using.

ie I'm washing clothes and running a dishwasher and I can see I'm hitting some usage level, maybe I'll leave the thermostat a little higher or do something else to counter it.

Thanks for the info
Old 04-22-03, 04:16 PM
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Although not completely accurate, you can purchase a clamp-on amp meter. The measurement of amps per hot conductor is directly proportional to the KW (and hence KWH) that you use in your home. These are available for varying prices around $50, and will allow you to see usage on an individual load, or if measured on the incomming feeders to the panel, the whole consumption.
KWH is a calculation that can be done knowing: amps x volts x power factor x time.
So you can see that knowing amps is a good start. A clamp-on allows you to move it at your will.

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