Should I do the ironing?

About a year ago, I borrowed my electricity monitor back from a friend, and have just got round to installing it again.

The monitor usefully shows how much electricity I’m using, without me having to dig out the key in order to read the outdoor meter. I also want to know how I best I can use my lovely solar electricity, but I have also lost my list of electricity consumption by gadget so need to work it all out again.

First up, I’m making some bread, so may as well check out the figure in the bread machine manual. It says it uses 505-550 W. I have very little else on, but the monitor reads anything between 1500 W and 2400 W. Maybe it’s the fridge-freezer cutting in and out. I wait until the bread is done and turn the fridge off. The monitor jumps from 750 W to over 1000 W to 2600 W!

And then I twig, the monitor doesn’t care whether the electricity is flowing one way or the other. It is simply measuring electricity. When the sun is out, I’m generating more than I’m using, so the monitor is telling me that I’m exporting – 2600 W, or 1900 W as I’m writing this. The monitor is still positive when a cloud comes over, but now I’m less sure whether I’m consuming or exporting.

So a bit of guesswork is needed to work this out, combining the instantaneous electricity monitoring with the 15-minute solar panel monitoring, and I still need to find out how much electricity my various gadgets use, but maybe the electricity monitor is even more useful than I thought. At the moment I know I have 1900 W to play with, which is probably enough to do the ironing… except that the sun has gone in, so maybe I’ll read a book instead.

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