This only really relates to people living in Oshawa, Ontario...but, Oshawa PUC is lending out Watt meters through the Oshawa Public Library.
You can borrow one of these meters:
...by just presenting your Oshawa Library card and asking for one at the front counter of the library. You get it for 1 month, no fee.
I decided that even though I've done a lot (changed all my light bulbs, started using more efficient appliances, etc. over the years, there's more i could be doing. I borrowed one of these to see what I could identify as an energy hog and reduce my energy consumption even further.
I was pleasantly surprised that my laptop charger, which always has a glowing LED on it only seems to consume any appreciable power when the laptop is plugged in. I always unplug it anyway, but I was happy to see that when it is not charging the laptop it uses less than 1 watt. (the minimum that can be measured on this device). The same goes for the PSP charger and cell phone chargers. :)
I was very unhappy to see that my Playstation 3 (the old 60GB FAT version) uses a whole 25W when it is OFF!
I turned it on for a minute and it quickly went up to 180W. I imagine when I watch a movie or play a game for a while it will consume even more as the fans start to kick in.
It should be interesting to see what readings I get from some of the other electronic gadgets in the house
[Update Aug 8, 2010:
It turns out that the PS3 uses about 175W on average when it is on, regardless of how long it runs or what I do with it.
I tested my VCR/DVD recorder. It eats about 3-5W when turned off and 29W when playing a DVD. I guess I should use that to watch movies instead of the PS3. ]
[Update Aug 30, 2010:
My new favorite is our Daenyx DVD player. Not just cheap to buy, cheap to run.
It uses no power when turned off (you have to get up and push the on/off button, it's a real switch) and, surprisingly, it only consumes 5W when playing ! That's as much as the DVD/VCR combo unit (that we've now gotten rid of} used just waiting for an on signal from the remote.
The Dlink DIR-615 home wireless router (which I also like because I've installed DD-WRT on it) uses just 3-4W.]