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511 KWH on the last electric bill. Can you beat that?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Sandor, Jun 15, 2007.

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  1. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    "Ok Moon-Doggie. Go catch a few of those gnarly majors. I'll be out shortly. Honest dude, I will. I'm gonna stay here and hang with Annette for a little bit. Good luck brohah."

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  2. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    244 in June.
  3. djrobx

    djrobx New Member

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    I think *that's* low! For the month of April we somehow used 1100kwh in our 1350 sq foot home. No AC use (although we have attic fans that got heavy use). We have just one relatively new refrigerator. Computers all have LCDs. Admittedly we had not gone CFL yet but we don't really use the lights much (we watch TV in the dark in the evenings and get by on the fluorescent under cabinet accent lighting). Gas stove, water heater, and clothes dryer.

    I've been running around with a kill-a-watt. The other "factors" are:

    Fish tank = 40-140w depending on heating
    Outdoor pond pump = 60w
    3 computers running 24x7 ... two at around 150W, the third at around 60W (mac mini)
    Two DVRs that use 45w each.

    A couple interesting gobblers are the coffee maker used every day set to 3 hr auto-shut-off. We just replaced that today with a thermal model. Computer speakers that used 40w even when off.

    My mother has about the same KwH usage but she has two older fridges, incandescent, a pool, runs her AC all the time with poorer insulation (no attic fan), has a 24x7 computer with a CRT ... I just don't get it. :(

    I've replaced almost all my lights with CFLs, and got two of the three computers working with S3 standby which works quite well. I know my bill will drop proportionally to my conservation efforts but I can't help but think someting is fundamentally wrong.
  4. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    You've got the "tortise and the hare" syndrome......the tortise ran slow but all the time.....your "tortoises" are the pond pump, the computers the fish tank and the two DVR's......they don't use that much power (so in that sense they're the "tortise" because they run slow) but they run all the time and in the end, the tortise consumes far more power than does the faster (but less frequently) running "hare".....in this case, the tortise sucks up the most power. When you add the 60W pump, the two 150W computers the 60W computer, the two 45w DVR's, and the approx 60 W fish pump/heater, you've got 570 watts running for about 720 hrs per month. That's 410 Kw-hrs per month...in only a few devices............ add to that two attic fans (about 250 watts each) that might run 1/3 the time and that's another 120 Kw-hrs or so per month for a total thus far of 530....half your electricity!

    Tips for reducing costs:

    1) put the pond pump on a timer.......why run it when no-one is around to see it......... knock it down to, say, from 10AM - 10 PM. If fish are in the pond, I would think they'd survive the outage. Savings: 23 KW-hr/month.

    2) turn of the computers when not in use. Unless they're servers and must be up 24/7, you're wasting energy. Turning them off when not being used will save about 75% of their energy consumption. Savings on all three computers: about 194 Kw-hr/mo

    3) with a house of only 1300 sq ft, one attic fan (well placed) should suffice. Turn-off one fan. Savings: about 60KW-hr/month

    4) Unplug the speakers until needed. Savings: 29 KW-HR/month

    5) put the DVR's on an on/off switch that actually kills the power when not used. Don't know if this is possible because it has a clock and if you record, well then it has to be up all the time.

    6) a big one here.......turn off or remove from the wall all battery chargers even if they aren't charging batteries at the time. I have seven battery chargers and I either unplug them or put them on a power strip (power strip still consumes a bit).

    Total savings with just these first four reductions alone is about 306KW-hr/month.........28% of your bill! Then you can attack other items like parasitic loads from battery chargers, replace bulbs with CFC's, etc. and knock down another 10% or so...........in all, you can easily reduce your electric by 40%....50% if you're a bit of a miser!

    As an example: I have a 1660 sq ft ranch that was built in 1952 and is well insulated. It has an attic fan, a 2.5 ton whole-house air conditioner that I use frequently, an electric dryer, washer, two computers, two laser printers, one CRT, one LCD, a laptop, three tv's, two DVD players, two VHS tape machines, a gas water heater that has a power vent fan on it, dishwasher, one fridge/freezer combination, a large microwave, an all electric range/oven, outdoor landscape lighting, two sump pumps, two electric garage door openers, 5 sets of outdoor security lights (2, 40w bulbs in each for a total of 10 bulbs, but they're only on when the motion activated sensor commands them but the sensor itself is a 24/7 drain), two bathroom fans, a radon fan and one power hog halogen lamp that my wife likes that sucks 300W and is on about 3 hrs/day. My last months bill was about 577 KW-hrs and the one before that about 530 KW-hr. Also, I have not yet put my TV's

    There are additional hints (not already mentioned) to using some of the above that save money:

    1) dishwasher: wait until full before running it....I run mine once every 3 days and not daily......
    2) electric range top: when I heat a can of soup, the burner is on for only about 2 min....I turn it off and the soup's still cold but the burner has "stored heat" and after 4 more min (with the burner off) the soup's hot!
    3) security lights: they're only there to illuminate and/or ward off unwnated visitors so why use 100 watt bulbs? I use 40 watt bulbs and they're great!
    4) landscape lights...again, only there to illuminate....I dumped the 20 watt bulbs it came with went to 10 watt bulbs instead.....50% savings and hard to tell that I sacrificed anything......
    5) power adapters: unplug until you're ready to charge a battery, then charge it, remove the battery, and unplug the charger.
    6) Use CFC's where possible. A 23-Watt CFC replacing a 75 watt incandescent that's used 4 hrs/day, saves 6 kw-hr/month!
    7) get rid of those conventional 4 watt or so nightlight bulbs........three 4-watt bulbs burning 24/7 use almost 9 Kw-hrs/mo......about 1% of your bill! Use those flat glow panel ones instead that use about 1 cent of electricity per month or less!

    Bottom line: you can easily reduce your bill by 50%.....look for the "tortoises" and kill them.....LOL
  5. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    A lot of people here have heard my story about my well pump. Check things like that. Hidden consumers. A few years ago, I noticed that our water pressure had been low since we bought the house. We also noticed our electric bill was huge. One day, my wife said those two things in the same sentence and the little switch in my head put 2 and 2 together. We replace the pump and the cracked pipe 300ft down the hole (how the hell does THAT happen??!!???) and our bill dropped by 1/3. Older fridges are another source. I'm going to get a kill-a-watt meter this week to start looking for the rest of ours. This bill is awful. Thanks to you all for offering me more perspective on it.
  6. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Warren,

    Some day when nothing is running, go outside and watch the electric meter and calculate the "continuous parasitic load" that your house draws. This will tell you what you're paying to have all those battery chargers, VCR's, DVD's, TV's, computers, night lights, etc. plugged-in and in the "hot state"....the "hot state" means the TV's are almost "instant on" because they're in a warmed condition by being plugged into the wall. Then go KW hunting....... Parasitic loads can be responsible for a significant amount of your power bill...I mean a HUGE percentage!

    Here's an example: if a small device draws even 5 watts continuously, then in a months time (720 hours), this single device consumes 3.6 KW-hrs or, in my case, about 0.75% of my total monthly bill. Now, I have 7 battery chargers (drills, screwdrivers, hedge trimmer, cell phones, etc) so this represents over 5% of my bill....just by removing them from the wall or putting them on a power strip and not activating them until I need them. I'm going to check my TV's and DVD's and VCR's and see what they add to the mix but I'll bet it's a lot more than 5 watts.


    Bottom line: conservation alone can reduce your electrical bill by a significant amount.
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    After I get my boiler installed, cast, I'm going to attack our electricity usage in a comprehensive way. I think we can do most of what you suggest and probably save a big chunk 'o money.
  8. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Might be a good idea for all of us to report back as we get results. Maybe with something like "parasitic loads and how much we saved by unplugging them"
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I don't think plugged in transformers hooked up to a fully charged battery consumes much.
    That's what I remember my Kill A Watt saying.
  10. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    The Kill-a-watt is necessary to identify all of the phantom loads. The kids stereos draw 13 and 15 watts each when they are "off". The VCR is 15 watts. The kids TV's is 5 watts each.

    All adds up, as Cast points.

    The well pump is an interesting thing. I know the bladder tank is beat, need to go down there and change that out... the pump will cycle less often.

    Good suggestions... keep'em coming.
  11. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Sandor,

    Assuming your kids have a total of 2 TV's, those items you mention consume about 53 watts total and at 24/7 they use 38 kw-hrs per month. At your electric rates these items cost you about $4/month and based on your last bill of about $52, that's about 8% of your bill even though you may never have turned the items on! ID another group of items like these and unplug them until you need them and you've reduced your bill 16%. Now that's FREE money and, unlike politics, that's something all of us can agree on... :lol:
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Heck no! I want the govt. to pay me for unplugging the idle TV. (jes kidden)

    But hey, 26.5 w per idle TV seems pretty high. I put my Kilowatt on the kid's 1985 Panasonic 23" TV and it is only drawing 4 watts when off. Regardless, I unplugged it. No need for it to be sucking any juice when not in use.
  13. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Read an article about one of the new LCD or plasma TV's and the dirty little secret was the amount of parasitic loss it had while plugged in but not being used.......it was MUCH HIGHER than that of a regular TV....need to watch that as consumers....
  14. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    We're down to 2 refrigerators at Mo Heat Manor. "Old Brown", the ancient fridge in the garage, has been decommissioned and will only be fired up on special occasions when additional cooling capacity is needed on a temporary basis. I lost my Kill-a-watt spreadsheet in my last disk drive crash a couple months ago, but I believe that should save about $15 per month, or between 5 and 10 percent of my bill.

    Radon levels continue to be low, so my 12 hour timer will soon be reset to 8 hours. The radon fan sucks about 75 watts.

    This is the first month that both computers have regularly been shut down when not in use, which should also help.

    Hopefully, all this will be reflected on the next electric bill. I almost feel like I'm cheating someone. :)
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah. This guy:

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  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No worry, it'll be a cold day in hell before my kids have a plasma tv in their rooms. The power consumed when a plasma tv is running is very high. Put your hand on top of one running and it feels like a room heater.

    I checked our LCD TV and it was also low - 5w. Can you point me to the article? We have been considering replacing our living room TV with an LCD unit. I'd like to avoid any model that has a high, off load.
  17. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Might not be...but when you add up all the households that have a similiar load just imagine the wasted energy. The power companies do...lol
  18. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Now that you mention it, I may have gotten it backwards......I think the dirty little secret was that regular TV's had higher than wanted parasitic loads when "turned off" and that the LCD or plasma ones had higher running loads.....several hundred watts while running. I'll look for it though.... thanks

    edited to add this:

    found this article: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060515/news_mz1b15power.html

    look at the "box" in the article on the right hand side called "sucking energy".....they compare two TV's (32" CRT and 42" plasma) both run 5 hrs/day. The crt uses $29/year while running and the plasma uses $88/yr while running. Also, the article says they're "all over the board" as far as energy consumed but because they're larger than CRT's and for other reasons, LCD's and plasma tend to hog more energy while running.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yep, plasmas are energy hogs. 4-500watts is common. There are some variables with LCD TVs based on the wattage of the amplifier in them. But in general a 32" LCD set will use about 150-164w running.

    The big issue is the size that TVs have grown to. Obviously a 50" TV is going to use a lot more energy than the 21" tvs that many of us grew up with. If it has a built-in 5 channel 150 w amplifier, it's going to suck even more current when running.
  20. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4 Minister of Fire

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    i use between 500 - 600 killawatts a month and my bill is always around $100.00 - now why would a dishwasher be less exopensive than washing dishes by hand (it's just me in the house and i never use the dishwasher)
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    More efficient use of heated water is my guess.
  22. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    I think the avg persons elec bill is about 1,100 KW-hrs/month which assumes some all elec homes and others partial elec because they have NG or propane or coal. Just guessing but the avg ALL elec home is probably MUCH higher....maybe upwards of 2,200 KW-hrs/month so 511 is absolutely GREAT for an all electric!
  23. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    I am NOT all electric, but have a teenage daughter and pre-teen son. My usage for Nov was 1200 KWH. But I can say that with the insert my Oil usage is 1/3 of average.
  24. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    If you heat with oil (or something NOT electrical) how can your bill be so high? 1,200 KW hr/mo is a very large draw for a non-electric home........I have a 1650 sq ft ranch, NG heat, A/C and even when both my daughters were living at home, our bill was about 580 KW hr in Nov for four of us (me, wife and two kids).....A/C is not used in Nov in PA or here in OH so what's driving your consumption so high in Nov? Also, even in our worst summer month, our bill was about 850 KW-hrs......
  25. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

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    I wish I knew. We have a two story colonial 2700 sq. ft.

    We blow through about 40 KWH per day. The best day that we ever had was 23 KWH. (Yes that is right I track it every day to try to find out our usage. )
    Electric dryer doubles the usage, A/C tripples the usage.

    Now this really is bothering me. I think it is time to do more investigative work to find out where the juice is going.

    If I had an 850 month I would be estatic.
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