December 07, 2023   4:36pm

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Ever wonder how much money you’re really saving when you yell out to everyone, “Turn off those lights!”

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Well now, you can know for sure with some just-out nifty new gadgets used to monitor power usage in the home.  They’re based on cost per hour and month, and you simply connect them to your electrical meters.

“An array of gadgets are vying to serve as electricity personal trainers, monitoring home power use minute by minute, and making you feel guilty about indulgences like blasting the air conditioner,” according to the article “Gadgets Show How Much Power Your House Eats,” from The Wall Street Journal.

Geoffrey Lewis (Tech writer Mossberg’s vacation replacement) tested some in his own home for review. Among them were the Power Monitor from Black & Decker Corp., the very similar PowerCost Monitor from Blue Line Innovations Inc., and the more-sophisticated The Energy Detective 5000 from Energy Inc.”

Lewis’s winner? The cheapest –and most “effortless” — Black & Decker model.  But regardless of product chosen, people who receive direct feedback on their power usage reduced their consumption by 5-15% on average, according to a study conducted by Oxford University.

Check out our quick performance overview below, or read the whole article here.

Power Monitor from Black & Decker Corp.: $97.99 [Click here to buy from Amazon]

“…instructions on this are relatively clear, and entering the data into the digital monitor involves a process similar to setting an alarm clock.”

“… features a rudimentary display that only reports the aggregate power use for your house at any given time. It can’t go back and show you changes over time.”

“… the large cost-an-hour sign on the Black & Decker Power Monitor offers the only feedback we really need.”

PowerCost Monitor from Blue Line Innovations Inc.: $99.99 [Click here to buy from Amazon]

“…a bit larger, and features a slightly longer range for the wireless signal that transmits power use from your electric meter.”

“Almost identical” to Black & Decker model.

The Energy Detective 5000 from Energy Inc.: $179 [Click here to buy from Amazon]

“…connects directly to a house’s power supply for a more-precise read than the Black & Decker. It comes with software that graphs how use patterns change over time.”

“While The Energy Detective 5000 offers many more advanced tools for sleuthing your home’s electricity waste than the other models, all of its sophistication won’t necessarily help the average user do much of a better job remembering to turn off the lights.”

“…installing TED requires turning off your home’s main power line and inserting a sensor into your circuit breaker”a process that the company says should be done ‘by qualified personnel only.'”


The Wall Street Journal, “Gadgets Show How Much Power Your House Eats,”  Geoffrey A Fowler, July 15, 2009

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