Watts Up – Know Your Loads
High utility bills? Grab the reins and take control of the electricity you use by identifying where your energy dollars are going. Learn how much electricity your loads are using!
What’s a Load?
A load is anything in an electrical circuit that when the circuit is turned on draws power from the circuit. A load can be an air conditioner, a water heater, a computer, a clock radio, a TV – anything in your house that uses electricity!
Of course not all loads use the same amount of electricity. Per hour a TV will use less electricity than an air conditioner. Per hour a 4 watt clock radio will use less electricity than a water heater.
To determine how many watts each of your loads uses, reference the manual or search for the label on the air conditioner, water heater, computer, clock radio or TV. Most likely the label will have a watt number on it. If you only see the amps and the volts, don’t worry. The percentage of watts can be determined by multiplying the volts times the amps. P(watts)=E(volts)xI(amps).
What’s a watt-hour (Wh)?
Load use is measured in watt-hours.
A (Wh) is a quantity of electrical energy when one watt is used for one hour. For example: a 4 watt clock radio uses 4 watts an hour. A 3500 watt (2.5 ton) central air conditioner uses 3500 watts an hour. A large 1440 watt window unit AC unit uses 1400 watts an hour.
For those of us living in the Big Easy air conditioning consumes the majority of the household electricity we use. You could then say it uses the most watts per hour. Therefore air conditioning warrants the most attention. Water heating usually consumes the second largest amount of watts per hour. Lighting usually comes in third.
Understanding loads and the amount of watts they use can help you adjust your habits and save you money. Take control of your utility bills! Grab the reins, learn your loads, know your watts and make your home work for you - not the other way around.