Tools Used to Help you Discover Your Daily Energy use Around the Home

Have you ever wondered how much energy is used to operate your home appliances? You may also be curious about hidden energy leaks or drafts in your home. Let's discover how you can monitor your energy consumption and save money.

Posted by Guest Blogger on January 9, 2013

Have you ever thought about how much energy you are using? Maybe you have also wondered, “Where can I start searching to find this information?” Like many others, you’re probably always looking for ways to save money.Wright-Hennepin has some answers for you.

First off, check out our website’s energy conservation link.Under the conservation link, you will find all types of energy saving ideas. There’s even a link for a kid’s page that can teach children the importance of energy consumption.

Second, your cooperative has some tools available that are free for you to use.You can either come to Wright-Hennepin, where you can borrow one of our kWh meters and a thermal leak detector, or you can contact a Customer Service Rep and have them shipped to you.

The thermal leak detector looks like a small hairdryer and can be pointed towards the object you want to take a reading of. While reading, the device will show the actual temperature of the spot or area you’re pointing it at. Thermal leak detectors are used to detect wall surface temperature to spot hidden energy leaks.

One important area to check in your home is the ceiling and its lighting fixtures. This part of the home is susceptible to air leakage if lights are improperly installed.

For example, if you have recessed can lights in the ceiling that forms your attic’s floor, it is possible that you are experiencing air filtration caused by leaks. During the winter, the air filtration from the attic prevents hot air from staying in the house, as it filters into the cold attic. Similarly, hot air from the attic may enter your cool house in the summer.

While checking for possible leaks, you want to make sure that the thermal leak detector’s light is off so that it does not interfere with the accuracy of the temperature reading. After verifying that the light is off, simply point the leak detector in the direction of the can light. Shortly after, point the leak detector at a nearby ceiling. The temperature of the can light and the nearby ceiling should be almost the same. If the temperature is off, it could indicate that there is not enough insulation in the space surrounding the light.

Another common spot to check for drafts is around the entry doors in your home. Over time, door sweeps can wear out and allow air into the house.Without a thermal leak detector, individuals sometimes test the door sweep by lighting incense sticks. Passing an incense stick around the edges of doors or windows can detect air leakage because the hot air will waver to the cold areas.

After using our thermal leak detector, you can try the kWh meter. The kWh meter is a small device with a receptacle that you can plug any 120 volt, 15amp appliance into.While testing the appliance, the device will tell you how many watts, amps, volts, and kilowatts the appliance is using.

For example, let’s say you have that old fridge in the garage that your grandparents gave you when they bought a new one. Sure it works well, but seems to run a lot and you really don’t keep a lot in that fridge. If you want to determine if you should buy a new one or simply stop using it, all you need to do is plug the fridge cord into the kWh meter and check the usage. In 24 hours, the meter will show you how much energy the fridge used in one day. Next, you will multiply that by the number of days in a month and again by the cost of electricity. The number may surprise you. Finally, after you’ve completed these steps and you’re ready to make changes to your house, you can go to the MyMeter page on WH’s website and put in energy markers to track the differences in your daily energy use. Good documentation can help you better understand the results.

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