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Originally published Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:09 PM

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Devices that check your electrical use can be checked out of the library

Seattle residents who want to know how much electricity their appliances are using can find out by taking a trip to a Seattle library.

Seattle residents who want to know how much electricity their appliances are using can find out by taking a trip to a Seattle library.

The library and Seattle City Light are offering "Kill A Watt" home energy monitors that can be checked out of the library beginning Thursday. Fifty of the devices are being made available now.

By plugging in a monitor, which is a bit smaller than a VCR cassette, residents can find out how much it costs to run a variety of appliances including refrigerators, computers, and televisions. Only appliances that use 110 to 120 volts can be used. Appliances powered by 220 volts such as ovens and clothes dryers cannot.

To operate the monitor, plug it into an electric socket and plug the appliance into the monitor. The voltage will appear on the monitor's display. Push the watt/va button to see how many watts the appliance is using.

The monitors can even tell how much energy an appliance uses even when it's turned off.

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