The Sugar Grove Library is helping residents learn about their electrical use.
It is lending out two Kill-A-Watt meters, so people can measure just how much electricity a toaster oven, computer and stereo are using.
"It has been a well-used item," said Beverly Holmes Hughes, the library's director. The library received the meters from the ComEd Care program at the start of autumn.
"People have reported some good information so far," Hughes said.
The library used a Kill-A-Watt meter last spring itself, to determine the cost of electricity used to run its decorative water fountain. The board was trying to determine whether to keep the fountain running all year, even in winter. After finding out the cost, it decided it was worthwhile to keep the fountain going, so birds and other wildlife could drink and bathe in the fountain even in the winter.
Users can plug the Kill-A-Watt device into a wall outlet, then plug an appliance, lamp, computer or other electricity-using product into the meter. Its LCD screen shows the kilowatt hour consumption of the item, as well as the voltage, amperage, wattage, line frequency and power factor.
"It's pretty painless to use," Hughes said. "We're glad to have this available to our patrons."
She said several other libraries offer the devices, including Carol Stream, Poplar Creek, Wood Dale and Oak Brook.