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Save a Buck: Counting Kilowatts

Want to know how much you could save by turning off your computer at night or getting rid of that second refrigerator in the basement?

Check out affordable energy monitors that give you real-time data about the amount of power your home or business consumes and let you know which appliances or electronic devices use the most.

One of the gadgets, Black & Decker’s Power Monitor ($99.99), has a wireless sensor that attaches to the electricity meter outside your home. It monitors your entire home’s power consumption in kilowatts or dollars and transmits this information to a handheld monitor. Then you can watch consumption and cost go up and down as you turn lights and appliances on and off.

Another power monitor is Kill A Watt EZ ($49.99) made by P3 International. You plug the device into a wall outlet and plug an appliance into the device, which then displays consumption in kilowatt hours. By punching in your cost per kilowatt hour (found on your electric bill), the monitor will compute how much that appliance is costing to operate.

Once you know the real costs, you may decide to unplug that extra fridge and save yourself a piece of change.

Joan Rattner Heilman is the author of “Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can’t Get Unless You’re Over 50”.