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. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,276
    Loc:
    Chittenden, VT
    semipro likes this.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I shut off all breakers and then renergized one at a time and found nothing of significance. No unaccounted for leaks and no current flow when the main was shut off. This was only possible with the fancy ampmeter.
  3. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,349
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    Highbeam, don't you have a detached shop / out-building? Are you accounting for what's being drawn there?
  4. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,276
    Loc:
    Chittenden, VT
    Sure it is not the hot tub?
    "The actual usage will depend on several factors such as size of the tub, the outdoor air temperature, the insulation levels of the tub and how often the top is off the tub. Older hot tubs average between 10 and 20 kwh per day. That translates to about $25 to $50 per month on your power bill. Newer, energy efficient models use between 5 and 7 kwh per day or about $12 to $17 per month."
    from: http://www.clearwaterpower.com/BobsBlog/default.asp?Display=48
    Sounds very much like the amount of base-load electricity you are looking for.

    Added on: Wow, that is a lot. At 10 kWh a day that is roughly 1/3 of the electricity consumption of an average household. We are really spoiled by the cheap energy we had all those decades.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I read that site for hours and it has lots of good material. He says that water heating consumes the same kwh as lighting and amount 1.5 times the refrigeration kwh. All point towards water heating being a very small part of the bill if everything is working properly.

    He says 850 per month is avergage and shameful. This is for an all electric home heated with electric. I am over 1000 per month with 100% wood heat.

    The plan of attack is to leave the home and shut off the water heater. Note the base load. Discover how much of the baseload is represented by the water heater. Then repeat with the spa.

    Regardless of the base load figures, being home costs us an additional 20 kwh per day. That's a lot. That's more than most peoples entire consumption and we are not wasteful.
  6. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,276
    Loc:
    Chittenden, VT
    We just recently got a smart meter installed. Our power utility provides hourly data which really shows the base load (usually ~0.1 kWh) when no one is at home or we are sleeping and what we actually consume. I can even make out how much the washer, dishwasher etc. draw just by remembering when we turned those on. The fridge also seems to come on more often now. Any way you can get those data from your utility?

    One start in energy savings would be to turn the shower off while lathering up. Good luck convincing your family though...;)
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Yes, detached shop powered by a 60 amp circuit through a subpanel in the shop. I was actually able to identify and verfiy the 0.2 amp hardwired smoke detector draw out there. That's it so long as the lights are off. All lights on, it is an 8 amp load.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I have not ruled out the spa yet. It is about 10 years old and was one of the 10,000$ models with spray foam insulation. We do shut it off every summer for at least one month and the bill for that month is only slightly lower so yes, it might be the source of 5-7 kwh per day. Indeed a large part of the base load.

    Power is still very cheap IMO. I just don't want to waste it.
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    My fancy new meter has no visible spinning disc and is all digital. I have no doubt that it can be read frequently. I'll have to look into it at the power company's site. I believe it is a smart meter but not a net meter.

    on edit: yes, daily info is available once I set up an online account. I'll have to look into it.

    Not much to be saved by military showers. 3 kwh is 30 cents. Truly, my daughters are young and like their dad at that age they are pool rats. Swim team kids that soak in chlorine so often that they don't take showers at home very often at all.

    I bet momma's shower consumes 5 kwh.
  10. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,276
    Loc:
    Chittenden, VT
    I am wondering whether the reason you saw not a large reduction is because you have an AC running during those months or your fridge/freezer draw that much more. Even if your hot tub is a very efficient model with "only" 5 kWh per day that is 150 kWh in a month. You should be able to make that out.

    Yep, 3 kWh are only 30 cents but it is also 10% of your daily consumption. Cutting that in half is a 5% reduction right there. You have to start somewhere.

    Btw. How many lights do you have in your shop? 8 amp are 900 watt of lighting. Are those fluorescent lights or incadescent?
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    We don't use or own AC here in my climate. We actually keep it cooler in the house during the summer since the woodstove is not burning. It stays in the low 70s naturally. I do have an upright freezer in my garage that will sees higher temps in the summer but that's it and the reduced light use probably balances that out. We do see a dip in consumption without the tub but it's not huge. 150 is only 15% and on the bar chart that's not much.

    The shop only has 8 fixtures, burning just under 1 amp each per the ballast. Tube T-8s. The shop is bigger than my house at 1800 SF. The lighting level is well below the recommended lumens per SF and the t8s are more efficient that cfls.

    Thank you Grisu for taking the time to work through some of this with me.
  12. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    2,276
    Loc:
    Chittenden, VT
    Wow, 1800 sqft of shop. I am just getting jealous here. _g 900 W are certainly not much for such a space then. I still believe the hot tub may be the major culprit and would flip that off first. Plus, turning that one off will probably have the least impact on your family. I am not sure if I was much of a help but I wish you good luck in your search.
    PapaDave likes this.
  13. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    722
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Propane heat primarily, wood at weekends. We still have electric baseboards too but now that we pay full price for that, they'll be used even less than before. Hot water is electric, lots of laundry, everything goes through the dryer. I pay less for electricity than telephone most months, so if I need to cut my budget, the phones will be cut first...

    TE
  14. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    722
    Loc:
    SE PA
    If anyone is monitoring their fridge with a kill-a-watt, be sure to monitor the consumption for several days. Depending on the model, the defrost cycle is programmed to run every few days, and that involves one or even two 250W halogen lamps boiling the water off the coils for several hours. A sensor is supposed to stop the halogens if the far end of the coil is warm before the timer expires, but any problems with the defrost program could cause it to run excessively.

    I was surprised how much a dehumidifier draws, but otherwise, unfortunately I found few surprises with my kill-a-watt, my consumption is purely intentional luxuriousness.

    TE
    Joful likes this.
  15. Where2

    Where2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Messages:
    150
    Loc:
    South Florida
    On my 2008 Electric WH, with a 3800W upper element running, I get about 1°F per minute increase in the water temperature measured at the upper element. When mine trips to the lower element (1500W), I get a much slower temperature response. My incoming water is 75°, my upper limit is set at 130°F. I use a cheap harbor freight digital thermometer with remote sensing probe for temp readings. To install the temp sensor, I shut off the breaker to the WH, open the upper element cover, tuck the remote temp probe down between the insulation and the tank wall, carefully route the probe wires away from the 220V element feeds, button the covers back up and turn the breaker for the WH back on.

    I've limited my WH run times with a digital timer. I can get my base load for my all electric house as low as 12kWh/day. Middle of the night: things like the fridge, digital clocks, and everything else in the house draw ~0.3kWh to 0.4kWh when it's not air conditioning season. When it's A/C time, (like the last 2 weeks), I'm running 34kWh/day! In July/August I average 43-56kWh/day!

    I still conted that sludge and sand in the bottom of the tank will make recovery time longer for this tank when it swaps to running the lower element alone. The sludge will act like a winter jacket around the element making the job of heating water more difficult.

    Does your electric WH have two thermostats, and did you adjust both of them?

    On my GE i210+ digital smart meter, the equivalent of a spinning disk is represented by three square pixels which turn opaque from left to right in succession. The manual for the GE i210+ is available online. You may wish to search to see whether the manual for your "new" digital meter is available online to determine all the functionsit may provide.
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I've about come to the conclusion that 12 kwh per day base load isn't all bad considering half of that is likely the spa load. I will verify that. The jump from a base load of 12 up to 32 (on average) is the next thing to address and since the spa is already accounted for in the baseload, the 20 kwh jump is all active consumption like bathing, clothes cleaning, cooking, dishwasher, lights, and television. The bulk of that is water heating so even if my water heater is working properly, efficiency improvements in production and consumption of hot water will be the most beneficial.

    I am a project guy and I can spend 20 hours in the shop building something in one day. With 8 amps of lighting I just pushed 16 kwh onto that day's bill. This is not common and I will be able to see this spike on a Saturday and know what it is.

    I have set up an online access with my utility and I am able to get daily power consumption figures. Not by the hour but by the day. Our consumption is highly variable with mid teens on low days to mid 40s on higher days. I have to assume that this has to do with laundry and dishwasher loads.

    Yes, our smart meter has the little eyes that do some sort of blinking or something but nothing useful to me. The digital readout is quite an improvement over the dials though. Sheesh, these smart meters sure have gotten a lot of people excited. It seems people fear some sort of sickness from the communication system.
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    28,617
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    My Co-op was surprised when I started ragging on them to get off their butts and get a smart meter out here. Seems it is gonna be a long time coming.
  18. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Messages:
    2,346
    Loc:
    SW Virginia
    Seems funny to focus on smart meter electromagnetic radiation when there's so many more sources of it out there.
    I think folks don't like them because they can't use a magnet attached to the side of them to slow the spinning disk.
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Even the modern new spa makers are touting how awesome they are being able to only cost an extra 30$ per month to operate. That's 300 kwh in my house.

    I will install the newest 1.5 gpm showerhead in the next day or two. They are free for crying out loud.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,089
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    I just checked and we are using about 16.5 kwh/day right now for 3 persons in an all electric (old) house. A couple of weeks ago with the heat pump running it was about 24kw/day. This is offset by us averaging about 13kw/day solar generated power in May. June should be even better.
  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,349
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    If I paid only $0.10 per kWh, I'm not sure I'd be worrying about energy usage. We were paying well above that in the late 1990's.
  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Okay so this is in the mail:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003XOZG0Y/ref=pe_309540_26725410_item_image

    It's an energy monitor that actually clamps onto the feed lines in my panel instead of measuring pulses or rotations of the meter. Not too expensive, 10 second sample rate, and links to my PC for data analysis.

    Yes, we have cheap power but I hate to waste money and energy.
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    That's awesome. Your regular consumption is nearly equal to my use when nobody is home. PSE offers a decent consumption data section online but their connection is slooooow.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,089
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    I was surprised to see that too. Our appliances are new and energy star rated, but I run computers plus an office space heater when it's chilly. Not sure why the disparity. I just got onto PSE's website and checked our consumption for last weekend while we were away. It was 9.59 kw last Saturday. This was with the hw heater still on and several vampire loads. Yesterday's consumption was 19.1kw, but with 18.2Kw solar generated @ $0.64/kw, I like that.

    One thing I was wondering about, do you have a well with a pump? If so, check to be sure it's not short cycling due to low air in the pressure tank.
    Joful likes this.
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,094
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    My last Saturday, we were gone, was 15 according to the site. Your 9 plus the 7 from my spa and we're in the ballpark. Starting to think I'm okay with my baseload.

    We share a well with two other homes but the pump electrical is not on my system. I just have an unmetered service line entering my property.

    Yes, this whole week should be excellent for solar electrical production. It's still light at 10pm and sunny all day. This weather is why we tolerate the rain for the rest of the year.

Share This Page