Know what it costs to run your gadgets

I run a dehumidifier every day from 8am to 8pm. I don’t like to but if I don’t the basement gets stuffy and with stuffiness cones mold. The dehumidifier costs me $0.68 per day to run. How do I know? Well, thanks to the KILL A WAT ™ meter.

Yes, I’ve dabbled in a little promotion on my site and yes this is a total plug for a product but I won’t feel bad about it. I got the KILL A WAT  meter many, many years ago and it has been worth the investment.

This goes right back to my earlier post on financial goals and plans start with education. The KILL A WAT ™ can educate you in lots of detail about where it is, your electricity is going during the day (or night). It will let you measure what it costs to run your gadgets.

The KILL A WAT ™ allows you to plug it in between your outlet and whatever device you want to measure its usage for. The display on the KILL A WAT ™ will give you all sorts of information that is interesting to the geeks among us but more importantly it allows you to figure out exactly how much a device costs when it’s up and running (or even in standby mode).

The device itself will only tell you about the usage. It can’t tell you about the cost as that depends on how much your electric company charges you. In order for you to calculate the cost of a device you’ll need to look up your last month’s electricity bill (or log on to your providers website).


from the picture above (taken from our electric bill) you can see the highlighted line: Energy (791 kWh x $.131110/kWh). This means our electric company charges $0.131110 per kWh used. I could go into what a kWh means but I’ll leave that to Wikipedia. All you need to know is that KILL A WAT ™ will provide you exactly that number. All you have to do is multiply that number with the price of your electricity.

So here is how I measure how much money our dehumidifier costs us.

Step 1: plug in the KILL A WAT ™ into the outlet the dehumidifier is plugged into

Step 2: in turn plug the dehumidifier into the kill a watt meter

Step 3: let it run for whatever period you are comfortable with. If you’re patient and want to see what something cost for the entire month, let it run for the month (on its usual schedule). If you can do the math, measure it for some hours and calculate it from there. In the case of the dehumidifier I let it run for 2 hours.

Step 4: after the time period you chose to measure at read the meters kWh number. in this case after 2 hours the kWh read 0.87.2 hours of demumid

So if we do the math:

0.87kWh per 2 hours means 0.87 divided by 2 = 0.435 per hour

0.435 times 12 hours per day=5.22kWh per day

5.22 time 0.131110 (our cost of electricity per kWh) = $0.68 per day

“$0.68 per day isn’t that bad, I spend more on Starbucks every day” you may say. Well to you I say; consider going without Starbucks for a while but beyond that, I run the dehumidifier some 150 days a year which adds up to  $102.

Knowing this number won’t save you any money but decisions based on this number could. In all fairness I ran this test a long time ago, back when I was still running my dehumidifier for 24 hours a day. The math back then came in at over $200 a day and with that knowledge I decided to try running it shorter. The realization that I was spending $204 made me make a change and in the process saved myself $102 a year (which after 7 years now adds up to $714 in savings).

If your interested in saving money I would strongly suggest looking into the KILL A WAT ™ as it can educate you on how much your devices are costing you (even after you paid them off).

You can buy the KILL A WAT ™ at most local hardware stores or you can here get it at

There you have it my shameless product plug for which I don’t feel bad as it has helped me out.

Good luck reaching your financial goals.


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About Maarten van Lier

Maarten came to this country with a suitcase and a diploma. He created a financial plan and goal to become a millionaire in 10 years. He successfully turned his financial goals into reality, wrote a book about it and now blogs actively in hope of inspiring other to do the same.