Predict Your #OhmHour Results Future Just By Stepping Outside

Want to know EXACTLY how much energy you’re using during an #OhmHour? Head straight to the meter.

My house is weird.

Even when we think EVERYTHING is off, we find out that it’s still using quit a bit of electricity - a lot more than you would expect.

How do we know this, you might wonder? After a bit of digging, we’ve figured out how to find this information on the smart meter itself! Here is what we see when we look at it:

When we first started looking at our meter, honestly, we were confused. We had no idea what any of the numbers meant. It kept cycling through various numbers, most of which we don't really care about.

What we learned however, was that the the important one is the one that shows "kW" since this is the power that we are using right now.

Here is a close up of the important number. Notice the "kW" on the right.

In this case, we are using 0.698 kW of electric power, or almost 0.700 kW. This is because we have quite a few things on, like a couple of computers, too many lights, our air-cleaner and TV. (Yes, I admit, we are one of those families that watches TV and have our computers on at the same time!)

The numbers would be a lot higher if we were running our air conditioner or space heater, or were cooking, drying clothes or running the dishwasher.

But still, 0.700kW is a lot of electricity.

Bringing that number down during an #OhmHour

During an #OhmHour, we need to get it lower so we will start turning off stuff, and even unplugging things, and then running back to check the smart meter display to see how much each one saves (okay, truth time, I have my kids do the running back and forth, not me). By doing this, we get our electricity down to a reasonable level so we can make sure we beat our #OhmHour goal.

Now we don't really love sitting in the dark doing nothing for an hour (maybe we should take up meditation?) so during #OhmHours, we still have on a few lights, the Internet router and our laptop computers. Even with this stuff on, our power usage will be around 0.100 kW, which lets us beat almost any #OhmHour goal.

Wondering how I can beat my #OhmHour goal with the lights on? Check out this blog showing what REALLY uses energy in your home.

When we really want to go crazy and beat our MEGA #OhmHour goal to qualify for one of the great MEGA Summer OhmHour prizes (Disneyland, here we come!) it’s super satisfying to turn off the circuit breakers and see that number drop to 0 - wahoo!

Turning off the circuit breaker is also a good excuse for going out to dinner, so it makes me happy to get an #OhmHour when it’s my turn to cook. Darn it, Honey! I guess we’ll have to go out to eat!?

If we didn’t feel like heading outside to check our meter, we could also go online to our utility account and check our usage there, but that is delayed by at least a day and often by quite a bit more. So while the online account is useful for seeing what we have used in the past, the best way to see what we are using right now and be sure that we will beat our OhmHour goal, is just to go look at the good old meter itself.

Max Dunn

Max is driven by his passion to move the world towards a clean energy future. With an engineering degree, a Sustainable MBA and startup experience, he is attacking this problem from many different angles. He is also an electric vehicle nut, riding a Zero electric motorcycle and powering his house from his electric Nissan Leaf.

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