Saving money is always a concern for homeowners, but that electric meter just keeps spinning. Monitoring your energy use can help keep your costs low. There are many ways to keep track of your energy use and multiple ways to reduce it. Learning to read your electric meter allows you to monitor your energy use, analyze your consumption, and determine wise changes.
Your utility company monitors your meters each month to determine your usage and your bill. You can use your meter to help cut back on both. On your utility bill, you’ll probably see the measure for the billing period, usually one month. If you learn to read your meter, you have the ability to collect more specific data. For example, compare weeks, or compare certain days of the week. Use this data to help analyze your family’s habits, and decide upon changes to make in order to reduce your consumption. Also, these readings can also alert you of usage spikes, which may mean there is a problem with one of your appliances.
Locating Your Electric Meter
Chances are you already know where to find it. Your electric meter is usually located outside the home. It's typically found outside near the home’s main fuse box or breaker box. Do you live in a home with a basement or crawl space? Your meter may be located there, or indoors near your fuse box or breaker box. Your electric meter is typically housed in a metal box, with a clock-like face. In a single-family home, you should be able to access your meter as you please. For apartment dwellers, your meter may be housed in a utility room or cabinet with those for other units. If so, it may not be accessible to you.
How to Read Your Electric Meter
Your utility company bills electricity by the kilowatt-hour (kWh). Electricity is measured by watts, and one thousand watts equal a kilowatt. The dials on your meter indicate your usage and should be read right to left. If a dial is pointed directly on a number, look at the dial to the left. Use the lower number for the dial in question if this one is not past zero. Use the smaller number if the dial falls between two numbers. Your meter may have a digital read-out, which can make meter reading easy.
How To Use The Reading
The numbers from your meter will give you great information about your electricity use. You can read your meter as often as you’d like, choosing which time periods you’d like to measure. If you’ve been compiling your meter readings, you can take a look back historically to your energy use from the previous year. Have you found you are using more or less energy this year? Consider recent home improvements. Did you upgrade appliances, install new or additional fixtures? Or, maybe a lifestyle change caused the shift. Did the kids go off to college? Have you switched to CFL or LED light bulbs?.
Monitoring your meter readings will help you become more conscious of your energy use. If you see that your readings differ, take a look at how your habits relate. Your meter readings will help identify changes in usage, so you can determine if the changes you made have helped or hurt.
Things to Consider
Meter readings can also alert you of issues. If your reading jumps drastically, decide if you know a good reason for it. For instance, this could include recently turning on your heating or air for the beginning of a season or installing an additional appliance. If not, you may have an energy hog on your hands. If you’re seeing your readings going up compared to years prior, it could indicate that your electric-powered appliances are losing efficiency.
For an accurate comparison, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. For example, make sure you’re comparing August 2015 to August 2016 for monthly comparisons historically. And, if you’re measuring weekly, make sure to measure every 7 days.
If you have questions about reading your electric meter or would like to learn about how you can reduce your electricity use, contact Frye Electric. We’re happy to help you conserve energy in your home.