I Want a TED: The Energy Detective

by Chris W. Rea on

I wrote earlier about a gadget I own called the Kill A Watt. The Kill A Watt helps me measure the energy usage (and cost) of electrical appliances that can plug into normal household electrical outlets. It’s an eye-opener. Yet, one challenge I highlighted is this:

One thing I haven’t been able to do yet is measure the energy consumed by the biggest appliances in the house: the furnace fan, the air conditioner, the clothes dryer, the range, the oven. These are either wired direct to the panel or don’t use standard outlets, since each requires a lot of juice. The best I’ve been able to do is guess based on research of similar appliances.

I discovered a complementary solution: The Energy Detective (TED). TED connects to a home’s electrical panel. It can measure the entire home’s electricity usage, in nearly real time. TED displays and tracks consumption in kilowatts and dollars, and time-of-day pricing can be set up, which is important to me since my local utility has introduced that.

The only drawback I see is that the manufacturer recommends hiring an electrician or other certified professional to install TED, since it connects to a home’s electrical breaker panel. Still, it’s on my wish list.

Perhaps governments who want to promote energy conservation could give each home a TED and a Kill A Watt, then hike electricity prices? <Author ducks & runs for cover> :-)

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