Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

House dashboard

What’s a house dashboard?  Well it’s similar to the dashboard of a car that gives you all kinds of information about your car.  A house dashboard gives you all kinds of information about your house’s electricity use.

House dashboard

A house dashboard will tell you how much each appliance is costing you.  With this thing you can monitor the amount of electricity you use each minute, hour, day, week, month, etc.  The car dashboard will tell you when it’s time to fill up the tank.  A house monitor will tell you when you’re using too much electricity for your budget.

House dashboard

It gives you an estimated monthly dollar cost based on the amount you are using.  It also gives you an actual amount you’ve already used.  This is helpful if you have trouble figuring out how much to budget for paying your utility bill.  Especially these days when it seems the utility companies keep raising the cost almost every month.  Granted, this monitor does not measure the amount of gas you use in your house.  It only monitors electric use.

So think about that.  How many electric devices do you have in your house?  Chargers, appliances, tvs, lights, washer, dryer, microwave, dishwasher, games, computers, mixers, bread machines, and many other things.  Older electric items use much more electricity than newer items.  For example:  my old (tower) computer, by itself, has 6 things plugged into the electric power grid.  My very old tv has 4 things hooked up to the grid.  Two of those things don’t even work but must remain hooked up in order for the old tv to get cable.  My 30 year old refrigerator is a big electricity guzzler.

How many items in your home have a clock on them?  Geeze, how many clocks does it take to know what time it is?  Those clocks use electricity.  True, it’s a small amount.  Yet, those small amounts can really add up when put all together.  Do you really want to pay for the electricity to have  a dozen clocks in your house?

Only two parts

How many of the electrical items in your house are left on when you’re not using them?  How many of those items have an “instant on” or a “standby” feature?  Instant on and standby means the item is constantly using electricity while it waits for you to return.  The minute you start to use it, it’s instantly ready to work.  When I was a young mother, none of our electrical items had instant on or standby features.  We had to turn an electrical item on and wait a few seconds for it to warm up before it would work.

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of giving away my hard earned money to a power company.  I don’t mind waiting for few seconds.  Waiting a few seconds for something to warm up versus paying for non-use electricity?  A no brainer for me.

This thing was so easy to install.  Simply put the ring over the glass meter and tighten up just enough it wouldn’t fall off.  I had to position the “eye” just right.  This thing will work on most electric meters, even old ones like ours.

Fit onto the electric meter

The dashboard was just as easy to set up.  The instruction book has easy formulas for finding your cost per kilowatt hour based on how your utility company bills.  There’s flat rate, tiered, and time of use billing.  I took the easy way and called the utility company to ask the rate.  Ok, I wanted to call them anyway to be sure there wouldn’t be a problem with reading the meter with this installed.

The dashboard part

I’m glad I called because I had a really nice conversation with a young man who was excited I was going to use the monitor.  He said he wished he could convince others to use one too.  He said he deals with people everyday who run up really high utility bills then complain when it’s time to pay or be turned off.  He suggests free and very low cost ways to help cut down on their use but he feels as if it’s going in one ear and out the other.

The customers he deals with everyday rely on government programs and charity groups to help pay their high bills and do nothing to reduce their use.  I had to laugh at that.  “Why are you laughing?” he asked.  Well, think about it, anyone who actually works at keeping their use low would have no need to work out payment arrangements.  Anyone who actually does the cost cutting things wouldn’t have an extremely high bill in the first place.  And, they wouldn’t be relying on assistance.  So therefore, you would never have reason to talk with them.   He started laughing too.

I’ll be writing more posts over the next few weeks as I show more ways I’m cutting back my utility costs.  I hope the posts will be helpful for you too.

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One comment on “House dashboard

  1. kathi
    September 15, 2011

    THAT is really a neat device Anita!! hmmm? We have been very “big” on keeping the microwave (clock) coffee pot (clock) toasters, etc etc UNPLUGGED when we are not actually using them. Also deffinately shut OFF the computer when not in use, even unplug the modem box. However I am fearful of unplugging the entire “set up” . hmmm? The TV is behind a HUGE armoir in the living room. Older Tv. But there is no way to unplug that when not in use. (and yes, a plethora of items plugged in to make it all work) We want FULL REPORTS on how well this gizmo works for you, and the other electric use reductions. THANKS for a GREAT idea.

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