I’ll start this by saying I wish this could have been an automatic alert, something like, “We’ve detected an odd electrical reading. You might want to investigate.” I just happened to look at the meter because I installed a new garbage disposal and wanted to see how much power it draws when I turn it on. I opened the meter and immediately noticed something strange. There was a reoccurring largish power draw. So I zoom in and see that it’s happening almost exactly every 1 minute, but only lasted for 4 - 6 seconds. The power draw was anywhere from 600 - 900 watts. Then I zoomed out and scrolled left on the timeline to see that it started on Saturday. So for about 3 days straight, every minute.

There are 4320 minutes in 3 days. Multiply that by 5, and that should be about how many seconds the device was spending on. So 21,600 seconds. Divide by 60 to get minutes, then divide by 60 again to get hours, and you get 6 hours. If we say it was averaging 750W, then that was 4.5 kWh of wasted electricity. That’s 1.5 kWh each day. If I hadn’t noticed it when I did, it could have kept going on for weeks or more.

Took a little work to track it down, but since it was reoccurring exactly every 1 minute, it wasn’t hard. I turned off each breaker, 1 at a time, to my major appliances, waited a minute and saw the uptick on the meter. So I quickly ruled out all my 240v appliances this way. So then I started thinking about what 120v devices I have that could be drawing that much power. There weren’t many. So I was able to figure out it was the printer fairly quickly. We had a power flicker on Saturday and I’m guessing the printer was stuck in a loop of some kind and not able to sleep.

This is what the power meter looked like.