Alternative Technology at Home in Suffolk
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Wetekom Power Meter
I discovered a small device called the Wetekom Energy Consumption Monitor, which can measure the electricity power usage of any domestic appliance that can be plugged into a normal UK 13 Amp wall socket. It checks the voltage, frequency, current, power and consumption for any device plugged into it. There is also a facility for it to indicate the cost of the electricity consumed. This is incredibly useful as you can tell immediately the big energy users in your home or office and take steps to minimise it.
It's only £9.99 including VAT. I actually spent a long time tracking down this power meter, as there are not very many around in the UK. I can thoroughly recommend this easy to use power cost monitor for anyone like me, who has concerns about unnecessary energy wastage.
Intelliplug Power Saver
I found this plug adaptor called the Intelliplug. It is used where you want to switch off various peripheral appliances automatically when the main appliance is switched off. An obvious application is for a computer that might be used with a printer, modem and amplifier, all of which are using power when the main PC is switched off. This power adds up to quite a large amount if on 24/7, so the Intelliplug can be used to turn off these appliances when they are not required. I have put one on my lounge television, so that it switches off the VCR, Sky box and DVD recorder automatically when the TV is not in use. I worked out that the cost of the electricity saved will more than pay for the price of the Intelliplug in less than 9 months!
It costs only £14.99 including VAT and I can recommend this to anyone who has unnecessary energy consuming devices in their home or office.
More information and to order the Intelliplug
Masterplug Time Switch
Another way of reducing consumption at very low cost, is to use a time switch to switch off appliances that use power even when not being used. These are called phantom loads. For instance you could have a timer connected to your television, DVD and video equipment so that it is disconnected at night when not being used. This can save a surprising amount of power, which can add a lot to your bill in a year.
This is a simple, reliable mechanical time switch which has a clever self resetting override switch that enables you to switch the equipment on or off without disturbing the time settings. So if the timer is set to go off at midnight and you feel like going to bed early, you can operate the override switch and it will go off and not come back on again until the next preset on time. This timer is made by Masterplug and is available for only £4.99. You could actually save that much in electricity costs in just a few months.
When I set up my timer, I just arranged it to switch off only at 2am and then not come on again until manually overridden. This way, the timer was not needlessly switching on when I was out of the house, but it still switched off at bedtime.
The timeswitch could have a very useful security function during holidays too. You could make it switch on table lamps at various times during the night, giving the impression that someone was at home.
More information and to order the Masterplug Timer
Firewood Moisture Meter
This is a meter which measures the dampness in firewood, especially useful for those who use woodburning or multifuel stoves. The best efficiency and cleanest burning is obtained when wood has a moisture content of 20% or less. This can easily be checked with this meter. It has two brass probes which you push gently into the wood and it then gives a readout of dampness in percentage when you push the button on the side. The reading is frozen for a few seconds even if removed from the log being tested, so there is plenty of time to get an accurate figure. I found that it was best to check in the middle and at the ends of a split log to get an idea of just how wet or dry the wood was overall.
It costs around £10.00 plus delivery in the UK and is an indispensable tool for those who use wood as fuel for heating.
More information and to order a Moisture Meter
If the above link doesn't work try this for a similar, but slightly more expensive alternative on eBay