It’s called a Kill-a-Watt, and it’s a simple little gadget you can use to determine the electricity usage.
To use it, you simple plug the appliance/electronic item into the Kill-a-Watt and then plug the Kill-a-Watt into an electrical outlet. The Kill-a-Watt measures how much electricity the item uses. It’s best to let it measure the usage for at least a week or two, preferably longer.
Kill-a-Watts cost between $20 and $50 depending on the model you pick, but if you’re really serious about finding ways to save on energy costs, this tool will pay for itself.
If you live in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota, you can check out a Kill-a-Watt for free at your local public library. I’ve heard that in some parts of the country, local utility companies also lend Kill-a-Watts out to customers, so check around in your community for free options before you buy.
I used the Kill-a-Watt to find out what an energy sucker my 1980s chest freezer was. I estimated that the freezer was costing me about $10/month to run. I’ve since bought a new chest freezer that only costs me about $3 a month to run. I’m now looking to see what other appliances in our home are using too much energy.