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If you could track and tailor your home’s energy consumption to save twenty percent a month, would you spend a hundred dollars to do it?  Black and Decker hopes so.  With their recently launched “Energy” series of products they aim to help you conserve by educating you about the energy your place chews up every month.  This power monitor, the lineup’s flagship product, measures and displays your house’s overall energy consumption as well as individual appliance cost, and it sends that info to one handheld device.

The Power Monitor consists of two parts:  a wireless transmitter collar that slips onto your electric meter, and a wireless handheld device that analyzes the data from your electric meter and displays information about your energy consumption.  Once you dial in your electricity cost –- which is listed on your bill — you can track minute-by-minute changes in electricity consumption as major appliances are turned on and off.

In some cases your electric meter might not be compatible with the transmitter collar, and the product has some limitations — but the positives might significantly outweigh the negatives.  If you save twenty percent on a $150 electricity bill, the $100 unit will pay for itself in a few months.

Power Monitor [Black & Decker]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


6 Responses to Black & Decker Power Monitor

  1. techieman33 says:

    Or you could just pay $20 for a kill a watt that will monitor an individual items power draw. Yes it won’t give you the “big picture” but I think it’s looking at the little things that will have the most effect on your power bill.

  2. KMR says:

    Wait! Don’t buy a Kill-A-Watt tool when you can build the same thing probably for free!

    You’ll need a clamp on multimeter that can read AC current and a spare extension cord. Unsheath a portion of the extension cord, but do not strip the insulation from the wires. Use your clamp on multimeter on the hot wire with the multimeter set to measure AC current. You can now measure the AC current running through the extension cord to whatever appliance / device is on the other end.

    Then just convert amperes into watts to figure out the energy consumed by the device.

  3. techieman33 says:

    I think that saving me all the math is worth the $20

  4. David Bryan says:

    I admire KMR’s way of thinking and I sure wouldn’t want to discourage that kind of ingenuity and resourcefulness, but I’d like to add a few things. If you don’t already have an ammeter a Kill-A-Watt might be more useful to you. I’ve got one and I don’t even know how many ammeters I have. I’ve also got a Sure-Test circuit analyzer I’m really fond of. If you’ve got an ammeter you might already have an AC line splitter, which does what KMR’s extension cord modification does. If you modify an extension cord like that you want to be real particular about using it for anything else. You’re also only getting an instantaneous reading, which doesn’t really tell you very much conclusive about power consumption. And you can’t get watts just from knowing volts and amps in an AC circuit. You can recognize trends, and make approximations and comparisons, but unless it’s a purely resistive circuit you have other factors involved in determining power.
    But my hat’s off to you, KMR, you’ve got a mind of your own. Don’t let anybody scare you out of using it. All that said, this little Black and Decker thingy looks interesting.

  5. Bill Schuller says:

    I purchased the BlueLine Power Cost Monitor (the OEM of the B&D model) last year when I purchased my first home. It works as advertised. I was surprised how much of an affect just being aware of how much electricity we are using on an ongoing basis had on our consumption. All of the sudden I’d remember to go turn the compressor off when I wasn’t in the shop, not to mention lights. Summer thermostat changes can be immediately correlated to pocketbook savings.

    The only thing I haven’t worked out is a problem with alkaline battery performance when the mercury drops. I’m from California, but made the move East to Texas last year. This freezing a night thing is new to me. Even though it occurs more often out here, thanks to finally being able to afford a home with central HVAC, we notice even less. I do recall this battery issue being addressed in the manual (lithium batteries?), but haven’t bothered to address it as the weather is just turning cold again.

    Highly recommended, and now that B&D is selling the unit, it’s about $30 cheaper than I paid when I imported it from Canada. Here’s the OEM unit on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Line-Innovations-PowerCost-BLI-24000/dp/B000RBEGTS

  6. David Bryan says:

    To Bill Schuller- Those colder temperatures probably won’t give you much trouble with your batteries. Under low current drains alkaline batteries aren’t so bad at sub-freezing temperatures. If you do worry about it, lithium batteries last longer and do perform better at lower temperatures. They cost more but if they provide a little extra peace of mind they’re worth it. Now maybe in the manual they had Canada in mind, but you ought to be all right in Texas.

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