DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

· Registered
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in an elderly LA 2600 sq ft home that was completely rewired 10 years ago. My electric bills have gotten sky high. A neighbor suggested using a
Plug Load Controller to track usage. I have no knowledge of a Plug Load Controller. Cab my Forum Brothers or Sisters educate me? What do they do and how do they do it? Do you recommend them?

May thanks for any insights you can offer!


· Registered
5,468 Posts
What they are refering to is a power usage meter.
They are readily available and not expensive.
You simply un plug your appliance,
The plug in the power monitor
Then plug the apliance into the power monitor
What this does is keep a record of how much power this unit uses.
Sometimes some apliances will usefar more than you would expect.
Once you know for sure,than you can take steps tp moderate it's use.


· Registered
2,256 Posts
I live in an elderly LA 2600 sq ft home that was completely rewired 10 years ago. My electric bills have gotten sky high.
Did they go "sky high" 10 years ago or just recently?

If "recently", it is because a "change" has recently occurred.
Do you have a new appliance - or is an old appliance running more than previously, such as a Refrigerator/Freezer/Air Conditioner with insufficient "Gas".

If not, you may have some form of "leakage" - which could be a fire hazard.
If you "turn off" and disconnect/unplug everything on the premises there should be no movement/"change of reading" noticeable at the "supply" meter over a short period of time (say, ONE minute)
If there is any "usage" registered under such conditions, "open" all circuit breakers and check again.
(If there is usage with all breakers open there is a leakage problem - somewhere after the meter)

If no usage is detected, "Close" each breaker one at a time and check for usage each time. If you detect (significant) "usage" after any breaker is closed and all items on that circuit are "turned off" or "disconnected", that is a circuit on which there may exist a leakage problem.

(Smoke detectors and similar equipment would be permanently connected but such devices draw such little current you may not notice it over a one minute period.)

· Super Moderator
18,310 Posts
Are your bills high due to usage or is it the kWh charge? Has your usage gone up recently?

You can search Legrand plug load control for some information about products available.
  • Like
Reactions: JoeBronxLA

· Registered
8,194 Posts
Start by going through your bills very carefully to see what has changed. It might be a rate change, e.g. summer/winter. The basic unit of billing is a kilowatt-hour (kWh), and is typically 12 cents a kWh in most of the country. Also, some utility web sites will let you see hour by hour usage, typically finer resolution than that.

A typical toaster takes 1000 watts or 1 kilowatt (kW), so using a toaster for an hour is a kilowatt-hour. Also a lot of toast lol.

Most heat appliances (coffeemaker, heater-fan, griddle) take 1500 watts or 1.5 kilowatts. One of those for 40 minutes is a kilowatt-hour.

Now, get conscious of what your loads are.

How do I know what appliances take? They have a nameplate that tells you. Sometimes you see watts stated as a different unit called VA (treat it as the same)... other times it's listed as amps (A) and you must multiply by whatever its voltage is to get watts. So if you have a 22 amp water heater, well those are 240V so 240x22 = the watts (a lot).

For some appliances, nameplate is only "maximum" and they often take much less. For loads that plug in, you can use a gadget like @dmxtothemax showed you - Kill-a-Watt being a common brand sold at Walmart.

For hardwired loads (air conditioner, water heater etc.) they take their nameplate but only when they are cycled "on".

Learn to watch "real time/live" action on your electric meter.

The 5 digit number changes very slowly and is not worth watching.

The old electric meters with the spinning discs, you could just watch the speed of the disc. There's even a formula for how long it takes to make a circle. Today, smart meters have *some way or another* of watching the "wheel spin". And you can get the model number off your meter and google the instructions and read them. Some have 3 little lights that do sort of a marquee chase, so you can see speed of usage (and time it with a stopwatch if you need hard numbers). Others, you push a button to get to a screen that shows you instantaneous usage.

Now, watch for high usage. If you see it on the meter, start turning things off until it goes away.

· Usually Confused
10,841 Posts
Has your consumption gone up since the Covid thing started. A lot of folks have been at home when they would otherwise be at work over the past few months.

· Registered
5,468 Posts
Curbing high energy use can be difficult,
Seldom is it just one problem,
Usually it's a mixture of many small things together.
points to consider -
Electricity costs usually go up every year.
A small leak in a hot water tap can increase hot water usage.
Hot water plays a big part in your bill.
Ditto with air conditioners, they get dirty and clog up,
this reduces there efficency resulting in more power use,
A / C too, just like hot water plays a big part in your bill.
Drafty houses use much more power.
BIG screen tv's can use high amounts of power,
So to computors with multiple monitors.
The extra beer fridge in the garage also adds to the power usage.

I could go on, but you should get the picture by now !
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.