Earning Maximum Watts: Three Steps for OhmHour Success

There are many factors that influence electricity consumption in the home, and it’s difficult to guarantee OhmHour success. However, if you follow a few key principles and know some tips and tricks, you can get pretty darn good at it.

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Curtis Tongue
January 16, 2018

We know the feeling. “I spent that entire OhmHour reading by candlelight, but my usage was still pretty high! What am I missing?”

There are many factors that influence electricity consumption in the home, and it’s difficult to guarantee OhmHour success. However, if you follow a few key principles and know some tips and tricks, you can get pretty darn good at it. This page is here to help you get started on your journey toward OhmHour mastery.

Step 1: Understand Your Potential Watts.

‍As you know, OhmHour performance is determined by how much energy you save when an OhmHour notification comes your way. Your Potential Watts represent how much energy you could save if you used absolutely no energy at all, in comparison to the amount of energy the grid operators are expecting you to use during that time. By using less than the grid operators expect you to, you help out the grid and your community by creating an energy surplus that can be used elsewhere. 

The first thing every OhmHour savant must understand is how to interpret their Potential Watts. This means subscribing to the OhmHour email notifications, which give you an estimate of how many Watts you’re likely to be eligible to earn during each OhmHour

Pay attention to your Potential Watts over time and get familiar with what a typical average is for your home. Your Potential Watts may be different on weekends compared to weekdays, or during times when you’re usually home vs. times you’re typically away. If you see a Potential Watts amount for the next OhmHour that looks really high in comparison to normal, that means this event is a great opportunity for you to earn a lot of rewards. If your Potential Watta are low, you’re going to have to try extra hard to earn. (Again, remember the amount of Potential Watts in your email is just an estimate, so to be safe you should always save as much as possible.)

Step 2: Turn Off What Is Often Running.

If something in your home is usually on, it probably contributes to your average energy usage – and turning it off can help you earn Watts.

Your heating and cooling system is the biggest culprit. Heating and cooling combined make up the single largest use of energy in most American homes. Air conditioning is the biggest draw, but fan and heating play a big role too. By hooking up a smart thermostat to OhmConnect, or by turning your thermostat off manually during OhmHours, you’re taking a big step toward success. If turning it all off is unbearable, do whatever you can to use less. Set the AC to 78 instead of 72 on a hot day, or cycle it on and off every 15 minutes.


Perhaps the most consistent draw of electricity in the home is the refrigerator (and freezer). Refrigerators and freezers represent 10% of home electricity usage and are always on. But – they don’t need to be. As the FDA reports, a closed refrigerator will keep food cold for 4 hours (while a full freezer stays cold for 48). Many OhmConnect members and employees have boosted their OhmHour batting average by putting their fridge on a smart plug that automatically turns off and then back on. We double check after the OhmHour to make sure everything turned back on successfully, and if for some reason it doesn’t, we’ll notify you right away.

Next up is your electronics: TVs, entertainment systems, monitors, computers, etc. If you’re someone who uses these a lot, make sure they are off during the OhmHour. Smart plugs are great for these appliances, too – especially because, believe it or not, many electronics still pull substantial power even when they are turned off. To really step up your OhmHour game, unplug those power strips from the wall or put them on a smart plug. Power down and dust off that book you’ve been trying to finish. But be careful not to unplug your wireless internet router – OhmConnect needs your wifi to turn your devices back on.
Finally, don’t forget about your lights. Do a run through the house to turn off extra lights (or have your kids do it – it can actually be a lot of fun). Incandescent bulbs use much more than compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LEDs, so turn those off first.

Step 3: Avoid Turning Things On.

If you’ve turned off all the things that are usually on, you’re on your way to a win – unless you turn on certain energy-hogging appliances. Many home appliances only run for a short amount of time, but when they’re on, they’re using a ton of energy.

A general rule of thumb is that anything that changes temperature requires a lot of energy. So, avoid turning on anything that heats things up or cools things down during an OhmHour.

For example, we recommend waiting until the OhmHour is over before turning on the following:

  • Clothes dryer (4% of home electricity usage) and washer (1%)
  • Space heaters, hair dryers, or plug-in air conditioning units
  • Kitchen appliances (electric oven or stove, dishwasher, kettle, toaster, microwave)
  • Anything that runs hot water (i.e. the shower, bath, or hot tub) if you have electric water heating
  • Water pumps, fans or fountains (for you fancy folks out there)

So, how do I achieve a really big reduction? Like 1000 Watts for a 1 hour event?

Now you know our best tips and tricks – and you also know that your Potential Watts matter. To really hit an OhmHour home run (an OhmRun, you might say), you need a supersized Potential Watt value. So keep an eye on those OhmHour emails, look for your opening, and get ready to pounce. This doesn’t mean you should opt-out if your Potential Watts are low – on the contrary, a true OhmHour savant puts in a strong effort every time and understands that the email is just an estimate. But she or he also knows that when that big juicy forecast comes along, it might be time to make the extra effort, be a little crazy, and really win big.

At the end of the day, consistent performance and effort is really the way to maximize earnings. Speaking of which…

What about really consistent reductions? Like 75% or 90% of all OhmHours?

Being consistent means that you beat that forecast when it’s high and when it’s low. We recommend two key pathways to success:

  1. Automate. Let’s face it, sometimes you won’t be home or you might forget to turn some things off. The more smart devices you connect to OhmConnect, the easier it becomes to beat your baseline without a lot of manual effort. (And don’t forget all the great deals on smart home devices at the OhmConnect Store.)
  2. Know Your Battle. Watch your expected forecast closely – and notice when an OhmHour is going to require that you go the extra mile. We know you can’t turn everything off in your whole home for every single event, and you don’t need to to be an OhmHour master. But you do need to be able to recognize when it’s time to call out the cavalry.

So, there you go – now you have the OhmHour starter tips from the OhmConnect Team. We encourage you to not stop here! If you have lessons to share from your own OhmHours, or questions or ideas to bounce off other members, head to our Facebook page to share and explore.

Looking for some more helpful tips and tricks to receive maximum earnings?

Go get ‘em, Ohmers!

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