Monitoring Energy Usage Utilizing Energy Efficiency
Energy Efficiency in a household is a common practice for many people, whether their goal is to save the environment or just to save money on electricity and gas. The most well-known device is the P3 International® Kill A Watt™ meter, which displays not only voltage, current, and watts, but tallies the kWh used during operation as well. However, we soon found out that this device wouldn’t work for our espresso machine. The Kill A Watt™ is limited to 15A and 1875W, both of which are exceeded by the espresso machine’s heater, which runs at 16.6A and 2000W. (You can get a sense of the Astra’s higher power just by looking at its power cord: it’s over half an inch thick). In general, most appliances in the US operate below 15A, so the Kill A Watt™ and its competitors work fine. However, this also means it is nearly impossible to find a similar power meter that is rated for 20A. So, our solution is to build our own. My initial design for the device is shown as a render in Figure 2. Although the materials only cost a little more than a more than the Kill A Watt™, ours will be capable of handling 20A and 4500W. Also, with the longer power cord the screen can will be easy to view even if the power outlet is difficult to access. In the next blog post, I’ll explain my process behind designing and building a small device like this one to further learn about energy efficiency.