Kill A Watt


Active Member
Thanks to BSR posting in Hot Deals last June, I ordered several Kill A Watt meters.

This afternoon, finished my outside Christmas decorations. Drawing power from three different outlets, running almost 11,000 lights.

Started checking current draw from each.

Number 1 was 5.89 amps, that's OK

Number 2 was 7.38 amps, that's OK

Number 3 was - cord hot!!!! checked anyway and pulling 13.92 amps on a 16 guage cord. Dang!!!!

Started load shifting, big time. Got number 3 down to 10.32 amps and replaced with a 14 guage cord.

Numer 1 is now up to 9.49 amps - should still be OK, but it's a 100 ft plus run on a 16 guage. I going out tomorrow and buying a 100 Ft 12 guage for saftey.

Thanks BSR - you probably saved my house!!!
You might want to try LED lights as you replace them. I have about 800 up and it is probably less than 50 watts. A HUGE savings in electric.

Granted they are not quite as bright as a mini bulb they are getting a lot closer.

Edit: I just measured my Christmas Tree which has about 300 or so mini lights. It was 236 watts. Gotta convince my wife to use LED lights which would be about 15 to 20 watts.

You are right. I only have one string of 50 LED lights ( C3 size bulbs ) outside now that I am trying out. They are brighter then the mini bulbs.

I have 650 feet of rope light - over 7,500 bulbs, ever priced that in LED's ? At $4.75 a FOOT buying 150 ft. spools would be $ 3,087.50 plus the AC/DC converter connectors at ten dollars each. (Commercial Grade)

So far, the LED Christmas light technology is still evolving, especially for outdoor LED strings. Many are not very well sealed against rain, some have reported having had strings explode when used outdoors and gotten wet, even though the package stated suitable for outdoor use. But it is maturing more each year.

Let there be LIGHTS !!!!!
I had the original FOREVERBRITE LED Lights and they were great until I put them outside and they crapped out after one season. I have 8 strings of the C3 Foreverbrite LED's and using them for the second year now. I have one LED bulb died out of 800.

The regular mini lights were always a problem with burnt out bulbs or bulbs breaking etc. The LED's seem more reliable.

They are getting cheaper and cheaper so the payback is very short.
Thanks John, that's a good idea using those to measure the current on temporary lighting!

Matter of fact, if anyone is in a similar situation where they are stringing a bunch of lighting and want an easy way to know the current draw, let me know and we will work something out so you can borrow mine! ;)

Yes, d-lights boards do look good.

I'm waiting on the new Light-o-Rama II to be introduced (spring 07 I think), before commiting to new contollers.

I think all three of the major light controller companies are having to do some board revisions to accomodate using LED lights with their products. Sone are having problems with fading the LED's
I used my kill-a-watt this year too to make sure I wasn't exceeding 13 amps. This allows me to make sure that my appliance modules aren't being overloaded, and that the extension cords won't have any problems (rated up to 13A). I am a little disappointed at how fast 10 strings of C9 bulbs add up :/
I use my Kill-A-Watt to monitor my Fridge. I'll be moving it to other places around the house (Next to my Audreys to see what they are drawing).

I'm hoping to check on my server at some point, to see what I'm drawing on it to see if there is actually a $$ savings (as HS saves $$ by controlling the lights...BUT the server is running all the time).

The server does still have the convienience factor, so $$ or not, Homeseer is worth it!