Watts Clever? A power meter, that’s watt


I’m strangely interested in how much power I use.  I’ve replaced all of the light bulbs in the house with CFL (except for the sensor light at the front and the lights in the range hood).  I wasn’t able to install the solar PV system of my dreams (4.5kW would fit on my roof) because of the expense of cabling from my property to the Point Of Entry via 3 other properties!  And my greatest source of exercise is from switching off lights and closing doors that my wife has switched on a opened to save power and heat.  (Remember the kitchen scene in “Sixth Sense”?  That’s our house.)

On the other hand I have a lot of gadgets and I probably spend a not insignificant amount on standby power.  I also have several computers that run BOINC 24/7 to cure disease, do really hard sums, save the planet and communicate with alien species.

To try to measure what I am using I bought a Watts Clever EW-AUS4001 power monitor for appliances.  (If their website wasn’t so hopeless, I’d show you a great picture and specs.)  It is simple enough to enter the electricity price or prices and times to change from peak to off-peak and then plug it in.  Then I can flick though the display to see lots of interesting measurements.

BTW I can’t easily fit a power monitor for the whole house for the same reason that I couldn’t feed power back to the grid; there’s no obvious cable upon which to clamp the detector.

Experiment 1 – Washing machine

Electrolux EWF 1282 8kg front-loader.  Energy rating 4 stars and will consume 114kW if run daily on a cold wash or 285kW for warm (60°c) Eco 60 wash.

My results for a cold wash were:

  • 0.2 kW/h
  • 0.2 CO2/kg
  • Maximum power 1035 W
  • Time 1′ 54″
  • cost of electricity used 4.4¢
  • When stopped and beeping at me was using 5.0w
  • or 0 – 0.9w on standby.

The Australian Standard measured 114kW/h for 365 washes or about 0.31kW/h per wash.  Given that the meter only reads to 1 decimal place, the 0.2 figure I measured could be close to 0.3.  At least it isn’t 27, 0.00001 or “medium”.

Wait until I test the dryer!  There’ll be no need for decimals for that one.

Remote Control Power Switches

The other spiffy thing Jaycar had on sale was a Watts Clever 3 adapter remote switch.  The adapters plug into the wall, plug the thing into the adapter, and then use the remote control to switch the whole smash off.  The kit was only $39.95 (what a bargain) so I’m hoping that there’s a bit lot of standby power ready to be quenched.

More results to come.

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