The number of electrical appliances we have connected to the power grid is constantly increasing. As well as lighting and appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, washing machines and televisions, in recent years we have been adding an ever increasing number of new devices including dishwashers, air conditioning, computers, sound bars and, of course, all manner of chargers for our electronic devices.
This means that our home "electricity map" is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to monitor in terms of consumption and the saving measures we can take.
Being unaware not only of what we are consuming but also of the distribution of spending makes it very difficult for us to save and consume more efficiently.
However, there are various ways of calculating the consumption of your home and establishing its distribution. To find out more read on.
If you want to now how much electricity each appliance is consuming you need to use devices known as meters. These instruments enable energy consumption to be calculated and to determine which appliances consume the most and the least electricity.
There are two kinds of meters: individual and global meters. Individual meters, which are simple to use, provide us with the consumption of a particular electrical appliance and in specific circumstances.
All we have to do is plug the meter into the power supply and the electrical appliance whose consumption we wish to establish into this meter.
The main disadvantage is that if we have to measure all the appliances in our home we have a rather arduous task on our hands.
The second issue we face is that there are some consumptions which are impossible to measure using this method. For example, home lighting, when it comes to lamps or halogens that are directly connected to the power line without a plug.
And thirdly, the measurements would have to be taken under different circumstances. For example, the consumption of a washing machine is very different, depending on the type of programme or load level. But if it reliably indicates the consumption of appliances of continuous use such as a refrigerator, or that of a television or computer for an average time of use (for example, for each hour that we have it on), this is also a good way to know the phantom consumption that occurs when left on standby.
These meters are not expensive, but extrapolating all this data does mean a more important investment in time and the result, as well as seeing how they affect different savings, measures is complex.
To solve many of these problems, we can use global meters. This system is much more complex, being composed of several devices that connect to the installation to monitor it.
The downside of this system is its higher cost and the fact that it requires an installer to put it into operation. Furthermore, although we get the consumption in an aggregate way, which is difficult with individual meters, on the contrary, there is no way to see the consumption of each appliance or by group.
It does, however, help us to see how the different means of savings or simply changes in habits affect expenditure, although there is a simpler, more efficient and cheaper method of doing it.