Handy Energy Devices
There are a number of easy-–to-use, inexpensive tools you can use to control the amount of energy you use around your home.
Electricity Use Monitors
Electricity use monitors can help you understand how much it costs to operate various appliances and other electrical devices in your home or office. A number of different models from different manufacturers are available.
Many of these monitors allow you to plug in an electrical device. The monitor will measure how much energy the device is using and will tell you how much it costs to operate it. More sophisticated models will interface with your home computer and allow you to record thousands of measurements so you can track your usage over time.
See an example of an electricity use monitor. Hawaiian Electric Company does not endorse a specific brand or model.
Many electronic devices and appliances continuously draw small amounts of power while plugged in, even when they are switched off. Some examples include computers, DVRs, televisions and wireless phone chargers. This is known as “phantom power.” Power strips offer a convenient way to completely shut off several devices and appliances. Using a power strip to turn off your computer (after properly logging off) can save 50 kWh and $13 a year.
Take advantage of Hawaii’s fresh trade winds and sunshine by hanging laundry on a clothesline instead of using the dryer. You’ll save energy – and wear and tear on your clothes!
Low-Flow Shower Heads
Installing a low-flow shower head can cut down on the amount of hot water you use while taking a shower. Regular showerheads use up to 5 ½ gallons of water per minute. Energy efficient low-flow showerheads use about 1 ½ gallons of water per minute.
Appliance timers allow for automatic control of air conditioners, lamps, TVs, and appliances. Many models will simply plug in to a conventional wall outlet and allow multiple on-off settings per day.
A note about water heater timers
Water heater timers can help you save money if they help you reduce the actual amount of hot water you use. However, if you consume the same amount of hot water you may not see any actual savings. This is because most of a heater’s operating cost goes toward heating cold water. The heating element comes on for only about a half-hour a day to maintain the temperature. You may not see any savings if your water heater has to reheat water that has already cooled.
Families will save if they set the time on their water heater to be on for only a short period each day and do with less hot water the rest of the time.