Do you suffer from high electricity bills?

October 31, 2005

If the answer is yes, then please read on, I've found an electronic wattage and current meter which I've been using in my fish house for about a week, to analyse running costs and efficiency of heaters, filters, air pumps and compressors in order to reduce my electricity bill or possibly complete the calculations and switch to Economy 7. I'm so impressed with this device, I want to share my experiences with you, so you too can reduce your electricity bills.

The Wattage and current meter in use:-

 

1. Plugged into a standard UK Socket. The unit has seven modes of operation that can be selected using the Function Button.. When first connecting the units to AC it shows the date, day and time. This can be set using the Set and Change buttons.

 

 

2. An electrical appliance is connected to the socket, Voltage Display

Maximum current is 13A, 220-250v AC that can be drawn by an electrical appliance, so this should be ample for most electrical appliances fitted with a standard 13A plug. Mode 1 shows the present voltage (V) and frequency (Hz) being supplied to the appliance. I've connected an Eheim 1260 External pond pump to the meter for these tests. . The display shows 241v and 50Hz in the photograph.

 

3. Amps display

The present current strength (A) and the power factor received by the appliance are displayed. The display shows 0.45A and 0.80 power factor in the photograph.

 

 

4. Wattage display

In this mode, the power is displayed in Watts. The photograph shows 87.12 W, this is an interesting measurement, because the manufacturer states this has a power rating of 65 watts. I have found this mode very helpful, in checking appliances for efficiency. You cannot always believe, what is typed on the sticker, and certainly with air compressors and blowers, wattage increases under heavy load and clogged air stones.

 

The wattage display has another display which is very useful, especially for measuring Maximum wattage drawn by an appliance(s). When pressing the 2-Price button in wattage display, it shows the maximum wattage recorded and pressing the 2-button display again displays the date and time at which it was recorded. The photograph shows a maximum recorded wattage of 1222W (1.2kW). This was previously recorded when the unit was connected to a multi-channel thermostat controlling the temperatures in six aquariums in the fish house.

 

This display shows the date and time the maximum wattage was recorded. The photograph shows 15:56 Sunday, this coincides with me opening and closing the fish house doors, when completing partial water changes. I've also now been able to graph, temperature drops in the fish house, with external temperature outside temperature, and add extra insulation, I'll also be using a fan heater in the colder evenings with a electronic plug-in thermostat, to come on to keep the ambient fish house temperature at approx 25 degreesC.

 

 

 

 

5. Operation Duration

The total time displayed during which the connected appliance has been switched on. If the electrical appliance draws no current, no time is recorded. The photograph shows the multi-channel thermostat has been connected for a total of 62 hours and 11 minutes.

 

6. kWh display

A very important mode, in this mode, the cumulative total electricity consumption by the connected appliances in kWh is displayed. This is important because it is this unit, that we are charged for by our electricity suppliers, and is often referred to as the Unit charge. I currently pay 8.1p per kWh to Npower. If the 2-Price button is selected, you can toggle between Peak and Off-Peak settings, if you have Economy 7.In this photograph 20.38kWh have been consumed. Most watt meters end here, but there's more...

 

7. Electricity price per kWh

This is mode 7, but I've jumped to this mode for a reason. This unit, allows you to program the cost of Electricity price per kWh, at day and night rates if you have Economy 7. I've set the meter at 8.1p per kWh in the photograph. Other current and watt meters do not allow you to set a cost, and you need to complete the maths, not difficult, but if you have a device that can automatically calculate the cost, and display it, you can easily see at a glance, how much an item is costing you, and how hard it's hitting your pocket.

8. Cost

This is what we all want to know and calculate, we can gather the the manufacturers wattage for an appliance, calculate the kWh and complete the maths to finally calculate the cost, BUT manufacturers specifications are incorrect, it is very difficult to account for thermostatically controlled appliances, aquarium thermostats and heaters, that are not connected 24 hours a day, fridge freezers etc

 

 

Actual measurement of the appliance under test is the only true method, of costing an appliance.

In this photograph it shows a value of 1.65 GBP, this is how much it costs me to heat six fish tanks in my fish house for a period of 63 hours and 11 minutes, maximum wattage recorded was 1.2kW at 15:56 Sunday 30th October 2005, when I opened and closed the fish house door! I hope this information has been useful.

Some technical details on the current and wattage meter are as follows:-

  • Modern electronic monitoring system permits readout of electricity consumption and running costs of connected appliances.
  • Clear display, including actual time and day of the week.
  • Voltage and frequency display in AC volts (V) and Hertz (Hz).
  • Display of present current consumption and true power in amps (A) and cos phi.
  • Power consumption display in Watts (W).
  • Display of metered period in hours and minutes.
  • Display of total current consumption during metered period in kWh.
  • Display of total costs of metered current consumed.
  • Display of local electricity tariff per kWh. (user programmable).
  • Maximum power recorded against date and time.
  • Helps to save costs and electricity.
  • Maximum current 13 Amps.
  • Made in Germany.
  • Battery backup, so you don't have to re-input date and time, price per kWh.
  • Available mail order from JLB Electronics via the Internet.

This wattage and current meter is unique, do not be fooled by cheaper units made in China, this is the only unit that can be programmed with your Electricity Unit charge (price per kWh, available from you electricity bill), that will give you a real cost displayed in pounds and pence, it's also the only unit that records maximum power drawn, which is time stamped. I believe this is available exclusively from  JLB Electronics, but don't quote me on that. I've already purchased two units.

I'm not easily impressed with electronic gadgets but this wattage and current meter rocks big time, and "it does what it says on the tin", don't take my word for it, purchase one and test it for yourself. An excellent Christmas Present.