Monday, March 30, 2015

Measuring The Watts

Recently I've downsized my empire and split with the wife. No more mansion, but no more endless bills and things to clean and fix. Sometimes my electricity and other city services would run close to a thousand dollars per month. And that was just to keep my house 55 degrees in the winter because I liked the cold.

Now here I am a bachelor living in a cabin in the woods with 4 dogs. There's a 500 foot piece of romex wire supplying power to the cabin most of the time. It's going a long distance, and there's a 10 amp breaker on the other end.

The genny is a last resort. A very loud, last resort.

And a couple times the electrical connection has just gone out, and the last time it was down almost a week.

Because I may be running a generator, an inverter or the strand of romex, I need to know what methods of power can run what devices, and to do that, I need to know how much power each device draws.

It turns out there are lots of these types of gadgets that help you measure you electricity usage. Below is a listing of some common household items that I have informally measured. Many devices, such as desktop computers can have wide swings in the amount of current they draw.

All measurements below in watts.

Above you see I'm running my desktop, a wireless router and a 65 watt light

Device Low High
Hot Plate 700 1400
60 Watt CFL Bulb 12 -
Desktop Computer With Monitor and Wireless Router 147 265
Small "Bachelor" Fridge 125 155
Laptop, 60 Watt CFL Bulb and Wireless Router 35 65
2.5 HP Canister Vacuum 700 -
Small Space Heater (Standard) 600 900
Small Space Heater (Ceramic) 300 600
Large 12 Amp Upright Vacuum Cleaner 1400 -
3.1 cubic feet ultra-efficient fridge w/ freezer 40 300
Small Steam Cleaner 75 225
Table Top Oven 900 -

As time goes on and I test more devices, I will add to this list.


  1. I need to know how much power each device draws.

    1. Watts is power. If you want amps, then watts = amps x volts
      So at 110V then 100 watts would be just short of 1 amp.