I recently set up a Wattvision meter on my Fort Myers, FL home to evaluate its effectiveness. I have to say, I love it! It definitely clues you in to how much energy you are using, when you are using it, and what appliances cost to operate. The device pays for itself by identifying power hogs. For example, I cut down the time my pool lights come on each night because they were consuming 600 watts! On the other hand, I decided to run my fountain longer each day because it uses next to no energy.
The charts on the Wattvision website are excellent. You can view real time, hourly, daily, and monthly data, and can download raw data to use in spreadsheets for further analysis. Take a look at this chart from last Monday.
What can you learn from the chart? Here is my analysis of what happened on Monday (list numbers correspond to numbers on the chart):
- The baseline load for my home is around 400W at night when we are sleeping. This energy goes to digital video recorders, chargers, TVs, coffee maker, and other appliances that draw a small amount of energy constantly, plus some outdoor landscape and security lighting. The little bumps show the times when the refrigerator is running.
- The water heater starts up about 4-5 times a day just to keep the water in the tank hot. Around 6:00 am we got up, took showers, and got ready for work. We used a substantial amount of hot water, and the water heater ran for a long period of time, costing us about 50 cents per hour of operation. Around dinner time the water heater worked during cooking and dish washing, and came back on as we got ready for bed.
- My variable speed pool pump is scheduled to run at low speed from 9:00 am to noon, and again from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm.
- The pool pump ramps up speed from noon to 2:30 pm to give the automatic cleaner time to work and get adequate pool filtration.
- The baseline during the evening increases as we use lights, watch TV, and use computers. The fountain and outdoor lighting also comes on at dusk.