1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

For you power consumption monitoring types...

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Highbeam, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,855
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    So my power use is high. 35 kwh per day with no heat, all electric house, no well pump.

    We called the power company and they (without notice or telling us) swapped the meter to a nice, new, digital version and I am logging data.

    Here's the question. My base load with nobody home for 24 hours is 12 kwh. How does that compare with your base load? Temps outside are in the 60s and the only thing running is the water heater, hot tub, fridge, and freezer.

    Yes, I have a hot tub. It was made within the last 10 years and even when shut off for two months every summer, our power bill remains nearly the same.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    5,740
    Loc:
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    HB, that's on the high side of my normal daily usage.
    Upright 14 cu ft freezer, elec. stove/oven, elec, dryer, well pump, fridge, lcd big screen, 2 laptops, all cfl's, air purifier runs 24/7.
    My meter is barely moveing when I first get up in the a.m......then the coffee maker makes it go crazy.:cool:
    You've got something sneaking power...somewhere.
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,855
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I am able to conclude that 12 is my base load and that an additional 20 per day is from activity in the home by people doing things. If you're able to run near 12 total then I've got two problems, high baseload and a high action consumption.

    It's killing me. My main panel cover is off, has been for a week, and I have the clamp on ampmeter testing for leaks with no culprits found.

    One of the next steps is to shut off big things one at a time when we will be gone for a day and note the difference in base load. At some point I will shut off all breakers and see if I have any consumption.

    I am fairly certain that my water heater is to blame but all of my research has concluded that there is little that can go wrong with an electric tank heater. Even if it was half full of mud and the elements coated in scale.

    The ampmeter has shown me that my modern flat top electric range/oven has a constant 24 watt vampire draw. Weird.
  4. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    5,740
    Loc:
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    Start with the water heater. Shut 'er down. You'll find out quickly if it's the culprit.
    You know this though.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,587
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Must be the porn server in the garage. :eek: j/k ;lol

    Are there any lights running during the daytime? Computer, UPS?
    Joful likes this.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,632
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Two fridges, my wife's LCD TV and DVR all running 24 hours a day and my computer on 12 hours a day with a laptop running the security cameras flat lines between 14 and 15 KWH a day. When the two window units are running in the heat we average 30 KWH a day. Dishwashing, baths and clothes washing pumps five more a day. Haven't used the dryer except for sheets in a long time.
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,855
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    We shut down everything after use, even the computer. For the base load determination there were no lights or computer for that period at all. I would call those things active consumption.

    The only person serving porn in my garage is not hooked up to the grid.==c

    BB, do you have electric water heat?
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,632
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Yep. The joint is all electric. But just the two of us old retired folks here. You are using more than we were when I had three large servers and commercial UPS units running in the basement.

    I have daily logs going back to 2007. I just looked at them and on a July 90 degree day in 2008 I had to drain the water heater and refill it with our ice cold well water. One A/C was running upstairs. The 24 hour usage was 33 KWH. That was with the servers and UPSs running. Base load back then was 17 KWH a day without the A/C. The servers and communications rack were shut down at night for eight to nine hours.
  9. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,749
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Just happened to open this with my bills in front of me.

    We get billed in two month periods. The absolute max our daily consumption has been was 31.1 kwh/day, that was last October/November after just getting the new electric weater heater on line. The last bill in front of me is for this past March-April, at 19.7kwh/day - electric tank has been shut off since January after getting the boiler all hooked up & running. Family of 5. Liberal use of dryer, upright freezer, a fridge that I know is not working efficiently, my computer on pretty well 24/7, 4 TVs in the place, two PS3's. We could be doing a lot better. I was actually pretty surprised to see the last one dip below 20 - gives me a bit of an extra incentive to burn some wood this summer once in a while for DHW even if it is 80° out.

    I have to think the hot tub would draw quite a bit?
  10. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,457
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    We just got a bill too. It was 14 kwh/day for most of may and a little april in 2013 and 8 kwh/day last year. We now have an electric water heater. There are two of us. My wife is retired, so she's home.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,632
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    On very odd occasions our KWH usage drops like a rock. I know that the TV and DVR upstairs have been turned off. My wife is disabled and that damned setup is pretty much her life 24/7 so what the hell. TVs cost me more than the electricity. She burns up one every two years like clockwork. I paid $40 for the only extended warranty I ever bought in my life last month when I replaced that TV again. A four year full replacement warranty. I will get my $40 worth two years from now.
  12. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    291
    Loc:
    SW Montana
    Hi,
    You might want to pick up a TED power monitor http://www.theenergydetective.com

    While most people use them to monitor total house power, they can easily be used to monitor individual circuits (120 or 240 VAC) by clipping the current transforms over the wires for the circuit of interest. It will then continuously monitor power for that circuit and give you a nice plot for a full day (or more).

    I think there are now some competing brands out there that do the same sort of thing.

    Gary
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,855
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I replaced the water heater breaker last night. I had no idea that they weren't supposed to buzz or hum a bit. The new one is silent. I doubt it will change my consumption but it could prevent a problem with the buss bar down the road.

    My daughter took a shower to test the breaker and I took some data. The water heater turned on within two minutes after the shower started, 12 minute shower, and it ran for a total of 40 minutes for just under 3 kwh for her 12 minute shower. Not bad. I was a little surprised to see the heater come on so soon after the shower started. I am expecting that there is a decent amount of mud on the bottom of the tank. Each shower costs us 30 cents.

    The hot tub has a 60 amp breaker but since we shut it down for one to two months every summer, I can conclude that it is not a big draw. Even our summertime usage is high. When I am able to log power use you can bet that I will single out this device to analyze the impact.

    The new meter is showing a daily average under 30 now for the last week. I do believe that the old meter was reading a bit high.

    I did research the TED and one other brand of monitor. They aren't terribly expensive, I will be ordering one for my next gift opportunity. Birthday, Xmas, anniversary, etc. For now, I spend a lot of time with the clamp on ampmeter chasing down loads. Say I notice a 5 amp load on the main, then I go from circuit to circuit until I find and identify the draw, then I have to count breakers and refer to the removed panel cover where the labels are. After awhile I have learned that each significant load has a signature number of amps so I can identify the load by it's draw. For example, 18.5 amps is the water heater and 23 amps is the dryer.
  14. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,749
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    There are 4 showers taken per day at my house. Using that 3kwh/shower number, and our rates of around 0.16, that would work out to $55-60/month just for showers. But our electric bill only went up $30/mo when our new 80gal. HWH came on line heating all our hot water - so the 3kwh/shower number seems quite high to me. I also don't think it should heat for much longer than the time the shower is running - electric tanks have very quick recovery times. When I turn mine on, the temps start rising almost immediately.

    I suspect a dirty tank/elements. How old is it?
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,855
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I researched electric tank heaters and all of the sites indicated that there is nothing that can go wrong to cause a water heater to overconsume power unless it is leaking. I also suspect dirty tank and elements but what does that have to do with it eating up power? It would appear that your hot water tank is twice as efficient as mine.

    Before the new 80 gallon DHW heater did you heat water with something else? If all of your hot water is covered by 30$ then by comparison mine is an energy hog.

    Our tank is not new. It was in the house when I bought the house 6 or 7 years ago. So probably 10YO We are on well water so sand is often encountered. The sand on the bottom of an electric tank just lowers the storage volume.

    When my water heater is off, it is off, there is no current flow to the elements.

    Oh and we have the energy star 2 or 1.5 gpm shower heads so that 12 minute shower was under 25 gallons. Incoming water temp is 55, hot water temp is 120.
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,632
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Yeah my 50 gallon electric water heater would give me heart failure if it ran that 4500 watt element for more than ten minutes.
    Wildo likes this.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,855
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Guys, this could be it. I sat there and watched the 4500 watt element take 35-40 minutes between on and off. Part of that time was the 12 minute shower itself. If that energy isn't heating water then what is it heating?
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,632
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    I have a load of dishes washing right now. Water heater came on for three and a half minutes ago. Don't know what it will do for the whole wash and rinse cycle. I will try to get a delta between the .6 KWH per hour that seems to be the base today without A/C and the average for the time the dishwasher takes to finish.
  19. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    663
    Loc:
    SE PA
    No idea of my baseline load must measure next time we leave home. For overall consumption, with three of four occupants that love long hot showers, shower flow restrictors removed at install, A/C at 72, one fridge, one TV, one laptop, perhaps 60% CFLs or LEDs, our annual consumption is about 11000kwh/year. This year should have been the sixth straight year of declining usage, but our well pipe was leaking underground and we didn't know for almost two months....
    I'm already sure that last winter's air sealing, and my stove mod to prevent downdraft are paying dividends on the a/c bill, I hope to see a total under 10k next year, without sacrificing any comfort.
    I took the killawatt around the house, but when I figured those costs on an annual basis the only thing I changed was moving a halogen upright lamp to the guest bedroom.

    TE
  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    8,855
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    All electric, wood for heat only?
  21. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    27,632
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    The dishwasher running and the hot water it used came in @ around 2.35 KWH.
  22. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    1,847
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Those figures seem really high. We don't have an electric hot water heater, but we do have a well. Dishwasher runs once per day as well as a load of laundry in the washer and drier. Family of 5 here.
    Second column is monthly useage, then days, then cost/month, units per day, cost per day. (Much more on my spreadsheet, but don't want more folks calling me a dork, lol)

    On another note, my mother in law lives alone, and also has similar appliances to us. The only difference is that she has an electric hot water heater, and also a hot tub...and her bill was like double ours.....I bet if you disconnect the hot tub you will see a big drop

    May 12 466 34 63.55 13.706 $1.869
    June 12 437 27 59.28 16.185 $2.196
    July 12 456 32 61.69 14.250 $1.928
    August 12 503 32 67.66 15.719 $2.114
    Sept 12 392 29 53.59 13.517 $1.848
    Oct 408 29 55.61 14.069 $1.918
    Nov 528 34 73.39 15.529 $2.159
    Dec 12 552 35 77.14 15.771 $2.204
    Jan 13 482 27 67.88 17.852 $2.514
    Feb 445 28 62.12 15.893 $2.219
    March 474 28 69.37 16.929 $2.478
    April 499 34 73.02 14.676 $2.148
    5642 369 784.30 15.290 $2.125
    PapaDave likes this.
  23. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,749
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    We had a tankless coil in an oil/wood boiler that had to be kept warm year round. I am some glad that is gone now.

    My intitial thought was that if things are really dirty in there, it would take a while for the heat to get out through the dirt to the water. i.e. you're heating dirt and water, and dirt doesn't usually transfer/hold heat as well as water. But that is all inside the tank, which kind of counters that. Any way you can see if the tank temp keeps rising after the elements switch off? It doesn't have an element right at the bottom does it? Not warm to the touch either? I would defintely do some more monitoring of it.
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,457
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I'm not sure what this might mean, but does the meter read anything with the main breaker off?
    Maybe you could turn everything off and see what the load is?
    Maybe turn a breaker on one at a time?
  25. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    1,812
    Loc:
    Chittenden, VT
    I am not convinced that the hot water heater is your problem. First, unless it leaks water it should contribute very little to the 12 kWh base-load you have. Essentially, only the amount of energy needed to keep the water at 120 F. (Btw. That seems a bit low; are not 140 F recommended to avoid bacterial growth?) Second, a 4500 element can heat ~30 gallons of water by 60 F in one hour. ( http://www.contractorsinstitute.com...al PDF's/First Hour Delivery of Hot Water.pdf ) If the shower was indeed about 20 gallons you would have expected 40 min; right what you have measured. Thus, unless you lose continuously hot water somewhere (can you turn off the outlet?) I would look elsewhere. If your fridge and freezer are relatively standard models they should not consume more than 2 kWh each per day especially if no one is at home. Even accounting for the hot water heater and the hot tub I suspect you lose at least 5 kWh per day in your base load. That is a lot and may warrant to get an efficiency contractor or an electrician in if you cannot find the culprit.

Share This Page