Author Topic: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.  (Read 3845 times)

CowboyAndIndian

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What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« on: December 08, 2021, 06:54:30 PM »
After about 10 months of living in my new house, I realize we are using almost a third more electricity per day. In my old house, we used about 15kwh/day in May, while in this new house it is 20kwh.
We are consistently using more electricity in the new house than we were in the old house.

The new house is smaller than the old one and we have not gone crazy with the electric usage. Same people, same patterns. So, I cannot explain why we are using more electricity than before.

I've asked the electricity supplier to replace and check the meter. They did it and then sent a letter a month later that the meter was accurate.

Here are some facts about the two houses
  • New house is about 2/3 of the size of the old one.
  • The new house was built in 1993 and the old one was built in 1988.
  • Both houses, I replaced all bulbs with LED ones.
  • Both houses have gas heaters, gas water heater and gas cooking
  • Appliances in the house are very similar (2 fridges, microwave, A/C, dehumidifier)
  • The new house has a sump pump which runs for 10 seconds every 2 minutes. Old house did not have a water issue.
  • The new house has a radon mitigation system, which the old one did not
  • I have an electric car and charge it at home in both places.
  • New house and old one are 10 miles apart
  • Same electricity company for both houses.


I've attached a copy of the electric bill usage for my new house and a copy of my neighbor's bill(identical house) in the old neighborhood. Could not get copies of my old bills.

Any help will be appreciated.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2021, 07:05:12 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

SimpleCycle

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2021, 08:11:59 PM »
I'd guess it's the sump pump.  Why is it running so much?  A 1/2 HP sump pump takes about 2150 watts to start up and 1000 watts to run.

Also, are you driving the EV more?  That would also easily account for it since you changed locations.

Systems101

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2021, 08:14:36 PM »
The appliance ages will matter more than the house age.  This is true for Fridge, Dehumidifier, A/C the most.

First step is probably to buy a Kill-a-watt if you don't have one.  This will allow you to get some measurements on some specific appliances, the sump pump included.  This may confirm what SimpleCycle suggested - the sump pump is at least part of that delta, if not most of it.

Second step can be various things, depending on what you have access to as far as power.
- Some folks get into the multi-hundred dollar systems that can monitor circuit by circuit.  (Sense, Emporia, and some other brands)
- Some suggest circuit breaker by circuit breaker testing (clamp meter is one method)
- Leaving circuits off at the circuit breaker to check for vampire current works too if you can get 15-minute or finer electrical usage from your meter (depends on how smart the meter is :) )

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2021, 08:37:14 PM »
I'd guess it's the sump pump.  Why is it running so much?  A 1/2 HP sump pump takes about 2150 watts to start up and 1000 watts to run.

Also, are you driving the EV more?  That would also easily account for it since you changed locations.

The sump pump has always been my prime suspect. It is a 1/3 HP unit. The sump pump runs only for10 seconds in the cycle. Not sure if that adds up to 5-7kwh extra per day. I calculated and came up with 1kwh/day for the sump pump. I will get a kill-a-watt meter on it and check. 

The same amount of driving in the past years as this year. Maybe a little less during 2020, but we did get cabin fever and would drive around just to get out of the house.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2021, 09:00:36 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2021, 08:40:41 PM »
The appliance ages will matter more than the house age.  This is true for Fridge, Dehumidifier, A/C the most.

First step is probably to buy a Kill-a-watt if you don't have one.  This will allow you to get some measurements on some specific appliances, the sump pump included.  This may confirm what SimpleCycle suggested - the sump pump is at least part of that delta, if not most of it.

Second step can be various things, depending on what you have access to as far as power.
- Some folks get into the multi-hundred dollar systems that can monitor circuit by circuit.  (Sense, Emporia, and some other brands)
- Some suggest circuit breaker by circuit breaker testing (clamp meter is one method)
- Leaving circuits off at the circuit breaker to check for vampire current works too if you can get 15-minute or finer electrical usage from your meter (depends on how smart the meter is :) )

The A/C is from 2005. All other appliances are new. In the old house, the AC was from 1993. My extra fridge is in the garage and I have done quite a bit of projects there. I will clean the coils if that is causing any issues.

Going to spring for a kill-a-watt and put on the sump pump.

You are right about monitoring. If I can get information about usage when the sump pump is on/off, it should be quite helpful in focusing on the sump or something else. I'm getting solar power (Tesla) installed in a couple of weeks. I think they add Current transformers on the circuits so that we can see what is being produced/consumed. A Neighbor showed his app which was giving continuous usage info (maybe updated every 30 seconds or so). I'll wait and see how good it is before springing for a clamp meter or the $300 for sense. I'll report back after the install.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2021, 09:03:21 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

SimpleCycle

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2021, 09:07:36 PM »
The sump pump runs 10 seconds in the cycle. Not sure if that adds up to 5-7kwh extra per day. I calculated and came up with 1kwh/day for the sump pump. Where is the extra 4-6kwh coming from?

10 seconds every 2 minutes is 2 hours a day, so I calculate more like 3 kwh a day.  But you're right that it doesn't account for all the extra power usage.

I second the Kill-A-Watt for tracking down what is contributing.  In particular, check both refrigerators.  Also check the settings on the HVAC fan, it could be set to run continuously rather than only when the HVAC is running.

Does the new place have an electric dryer?  I'd guess it's gas like the hot water and heat, but just checking.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2021, 06:31:38 AM »
Based on looking for 5kwh/day in May. (all other number found via google) Though the graphs provided have different spreads in different months.

Radon fans are in the 14-20 watt range. Running 24 hour a day at 20 watts is 480 watt hours or +.336 to .48kwh.

Sump pumps have a larger range a 1/4hp might be around 600w while a 1hp might be closer to 2000w. Since your sump pump is running 2 hours a day that's anywhere from +1.2kwh to 4kwh.

Just those two things between 1.536 add 4.48. You might be able to end your search there, or more precisely measure your sump pump usage.

Beyond that ...

You mention gas heat but not how it is distributed (forced hot air, radiators, and so on). Efficiency of pumps and/or fan motors can have an impact, as can duct/piping layout.

Quality and condition of appliances. An older and more entry level appliance may have lesser efficiency, coils could be clogged with dust, refrigerator door gaskets could have a bad seal.

Lights, I know you replaced all bulbs with LEDs, but if the new house has "better" lighting and instead of turning 1 bulb on you are turning 2 bulbs (or more) on there will be an additional draw.

EV, you say the new house is 10 miles from the old house. How has that impacted your commutes and or errands? In my wifes EV 5kwh would translate into ~20 miles (at least in the warmer months).

Insulation and air sealing, while the new house may be smaller and newer it may be have worse insulation or air sealing and thus require heating and cooling to run more often.

Similar to above, there could be higher humidity causing more dehumidifier use.

Look at your behaviors, has anything changed? Are you sitting in that really nice room at the new place with a bunch of lights on? Perhaps spending more time at home and the AC/heat not set to away.

What about ceiling fans? Does the new place have them? Do you leave them on when you aren't in the room?

How was the weather this year vs last year?

Are there any places a light might get left on/be on that you wouldn't notice? For example we have a switch in an awkward spot inside the house that turns on the garage lights and they cannot be seen without opening the garage door or we have a small root cellar with one light bulb, that was apparently on for months after we bought the house before we went into the root cellar. An attic could also be out of sight.

Four final thoughts. First, finding smaller and smaller draws becomes increasingly more difficult. If the radon and sump pump each up much of the difference you are going to be looking for little numbers pretty quickly. Second, the old house might be a good frame of reference, but I would focus on making the new house the "best" it can be not try to match a different house. From the number of suggestions here there are a ton of variable between houses. Third, when hunting down energy usage be careful about seasonality. For example your post calls out the difference between May in the old and new houses at ~5k, but if you take your sump pump run time measurements in December that might not reflect how much it runs in May. Finally, I know with the new house it is all you have, but be careful comparing based on one month (and not an average for that month over several years). Any one month one year could have one offs that impact usage such as unusual weather, house guests, vacations, power outage, or any number of other things.

Paper Chaser

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2021, 06:38:22 AM »
If my sump pump were running for hours each day, every day, I'd be doing everything I could to try and reduce the water around the house (gutters, grading, downspouts that send the water FAR away, etc). And I'd have an alarm on the pump and an extra pump on hand for when the current one fails. Cycling that much can really shorten the life of a pump, and if there's that much water that needs to be pumped out, you'll have an indoor swimming pool in pretty short order if the pump dies or the power goes out.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2021, 07:14:23 AM »
I am having trouble editing my post ... and it was getting pretty long anyways.

Before you go nuts with a kill-a-watt (which is limited to plug-in 120v) or buy a fancy system that might not do what you want(I could write a review/rank about the Sense system) calculate accurately the things you are either not going to change or will be more involved to change.

The sump pump (let us called it a fixed use for now and leave the larger water control discussion for later) and radon fan should have wattage on their nameplates and your EV should tell you is miles/kwh.

Then add those new "fixed" uses to the old house and see what the spread is.

As an aside I a jealous of your low energy use, especially with an EV. My wife's daily commute, at least in the winter, probably exceeds your energy use in May at your old house.

lthenderson

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2021, 07:37:18 AM »
The obvious places to look would be items 6 and 7 but my guess would be 11 which I would define as differences between the houses. Lots of things can cause enormous changes in energy usage that might not be staring you in the face. Insulation and construction differences can be at play as well as style differences. Some styles are just more efficient than others. Layouts can affect it. A single bay window on the north side of a house with no shading can increase heating and cooling bills, while the same window on the south side can help with heating and not increase cooling costs.

I have had the opposite experience as you. My previous house was smaller than my current house and my bills decreased when I moved. The styles are different, they face opposite directions and probably some construction differences though they were both built the exact same year. Since moving, I resided it and added a layer of house wrap which dramatically lowered my utility costs even more.

My advice would be invest in one of those wireless systems that you can clip to the incoming power lines in your breaker panel and analyze it to your hearts content. You should quickly identify any appliance or mechanical system giving you higher than expected values. This would probably be the easiest and cheapest place to start. But I'm guessing in the end, you might have to investigate other possibilities that deal with thermal inputs into your house.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2021, 12:14:40 PM »
Thank you @BudgetSlasher, @Paper Chaser @lthenderson, @SimpleCycle, @Systems101 for responding.

Lots of great ideas. Even better is having a group I can bounce ideas off.

I've ordered a power meter from Amazon, scheduled to be delivered this evening. First check will be the sump pump.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2021, 01:37:10 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2021, 12:23:59 PM »
If my sump pump were running for hours each day, every day, I'd be doing everything I could to try and reduce the water around the house (gutters, grading, downspouts that send the water FAR away, etc). And I'd have an alarm on the pump and an extra pump on hand for when the current one fails. Cycling that much can really shorten the life of a pump, and if there's that much water that needs to be pumped out, you'll have an indoor swimming pool in pretty short order if the pump dies or the power goes out.

Thanks @Paper Chaser.

I have worked substantially on handling any external surface water issues. Added a french drain all around the house and gutter discharges 10+ feet away from the house (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/do-it-yourself-forum!/how-do-i-handle-basement-water-issues/msg2793683/#msg2793683). That has fixed all surface water issues. But I still get water, so I am of the opinion that there might be an underground spring at that spot. Also, when we dug for the french drains, there was no water in the dug pit.

Yeah, totally agree about the indoor pool. I have a new main sump pump (PHCC Proseries contractor grade pump with alarms),  a backup water powered pump (Basepump). I also bought an extra pump when I bought the main pump, so I can swap out pumps within 5 minutes. Getting solar with a backup battery(Powerwall) is another insurance policy. It is an unfinished basement and we will make sure that there is no organic matter in case it floods so that there is no mold/mildew.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2021, 12:26:47 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2021, 12:36:17 PM »
..
Similar to above, there could be higher humidity causing more dehumidifier use.
Definitely higher humidity in the basement due to the constant water in the sump pump. My humidifier is maybe 5-7 years old and I should check it out for usage.

Quote
Look at your behaviors, has anything changed? Are you sitting in that really nice room at the new place with a bunch of lights on? Perhaps spending more time at home and the AC/heat not set to away.
I am always at home (FIREd). Also got a Nest learning thermostat so anytime I am out, it automatically goes to away mode. My electric company sells it heavily discounted. THe non-learning nest was free and the learning may have been $40?

Quote
What about ceiling fans? Does the new place have them? Do you leave them on when you aren't in the room?

How was the weather this year vs last year?
Same as the old place. DS1 and DS2 are very careless, but I turn off all the time. They are both home just for the holidays.

Quote
Are there any places a light might get left on/be on that you wouldn't notice? For example, we have a switch in an awkward spot inside the house that turns on the garage lights and they cannot be seen without opening the garage door or we have a small root cellar with one light bulb, that was apparently on for months after we bought the house before we went into the root cellar. An attic could also be out of sight.
I think you might be on the money here. What about an ice dam heat cable that has been left on and I do not know about? I have not been in one of the attics, but I know that both attics have lights.  The chimney guys have been in the attics and may have left the light on.

Quote
Four final thoughts. First, finding smaller and smaller draws becomes increasingly more difficult. If the radon and sump pump each up much of the difference you are going to be looking for little numbers pretty quickly. Second, the old house might be a good frame of reference, but I would focus on making the new house the "best" it can be not try to match a different house. From the number of suggestions here there are a ton of variable between houses. Third, when hunting down energy usage be careful about seasonality. For example your post calls out the difference between May in the old and new houses at ~5k, but if you take your sump pump run time measurements in December that might not reflect how much it runs in May. Finally, I know with the new house it is all you have, but be careful comparing based on one month (and not an average for that month over several years). Any one month one year could have one offs that impact usage such as unusual weather, house guests, vacations, power outage, or any number of other things.
Yes, I think I would give up on the smaller draws.

I am worried that when a motor bearing starts going bad, the motor will draw a lot more electricity to overcome the resistance and if the motor stalls, then we have a potential fire situation. This may be the cause of excess electric draw.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2021, 01:05:50 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2021, 12:48:47 PM »
The obvious places to look would be items 6 and 7 but my guess would be 11 which I would define as differences between the houses. Lots of things can cause enormous changes in energy usage that might not be staring you in the face. Insulation and construction differences can be at play as well as style differences. Some styles are just more efficient than others. Layouts can affect it. A single bay window on the north side of a house with no shading can increase heating and cooling bills, while the same window on the south side can help with heating and not increase cooling costs.

I believe the new house is better for solar gain in winter with windows in the east, west and south. No windows on the north, should mean less heat gain in the summer.

Quote
I have had the opposite experience as you. My previous house was smaller than my current house and my bills decreased when I moved. The styles are different, they face opposite directions and probably some construction differences though they were both built the exact same year. Since moving, I resided it and added a layer of house wrap which dramatically lowered my utility costs even more.
There were some insulation issues in the attic above the garage. Insulation is missing above the garage. The inspection did not note any other missing insulation. I think the new house is better built and is more air tight.

Quote
My advice would be invest in one of those wireless systems that you can clip to the incoming power lines in your breaker panel and analyze it to your hearts content. You should quickly identify any appliance or mechanical system giving you higher than expected values. This would probably be the easiest and cheapest place to start. But I'm guessing in the end, you might have to investigate other possibilities that deal with thermal inputs into your house.

I'm getting Tesla Solar installed next week. It comes with monitoring (I believe they add Current and Voltage clips) which update on a regular schedule (30 seconds or less). I do not want to mess with the panel if they are going to add it. I can see what the loads in the house are and by turning off breakers, can possibly isolate any unknown draws.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2021, 02:03:44 PM »
I studied the breaker panel and found a couple of circuits I did not mention. A jacuzzi, which the inspector noted as not working. So, I turned off the breaker for the jacuzzi. I also have a whole house vacuum which does not work due to broken pipes. I disconnected it.

Ok folks. Here is the plan.

I get the power meter this evening (nice having an Amazon warehouse a few miles away). I'm going to check out the sump pump electricity usage first.

I could not find a breaker for the Radon fan. I cannot see the fan in the basement. It exits thru the roof, so I assume it is in the attic. It may run power off one of the bedrooms. I might have to make a trip to the attic, but I need to lay down some plywood over the rafters before I go traipsing thru the attic ;-).

Once the Tesla installation is completed, they will power the system on (self-usage mode) without exporting to the grid until we get permission. That should be good enough to get an idea of how much power is being used at that time. I can then turn off breakers and check if there is a reduction in power usage. The idea is to isolate one or two circuits that are using power.

Any other suggestions?



simonsez

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2021, 02:13:13 PM »
The water heater - is it possible the tank is keeping water a few degrees higher than it was at your old house?  Does the temperature turn on a dial that you can see the desired temperature (which makes you reliant on the sensor being accurate) or is it like a Pilot/A/B/C type schematic?  E.g. If you keep water on the "B" setting in both houses, is it possible the newer house just runs a little warmer compared to the old one?  It might not account for the totality of the difference but could be a factor.

If you have a dishwasher, check the min temp settings.  Some might be 120 while others might say 140 and some have their own "boosting system" where they draw water in and have their own heating elements to get it up to the desired temp without requiring your water heater to do it.  Your washer's temp settings could be at play as well but they are typically lower than a dishwasher.

Heck, is it possible your current usage is accurate but your old usage was underestimated somehow?

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2021, 02:38:21 PM »
The water heater - is it possible the tank is keeping water a few degrees higher than it was at your old house?  Does the temperature turn on a dial that you can see the desired temperature (which makes you reliant on the sensor being accurate) or is it like a Pilot/A/B/C type schematic?  E.g. If you keep water on the "B" setting in both houses, is it possible the newer house just runs a little warmer compared to the old one?  It might not account for the totality of the difference but could be a factor.
Water heater is gas. The only electric is probably the igniter.

Quote
If you have a dishwasher, check the min temp settings.  Some might be 120 while others might say 140 and some have their own "boosting system" where they draw water in and have their own heating elements to get it up to the desired temp without requiring your water heater to do it.  Your washer's temp settings could be at play as well but they are typically lower than a dishwasher.

Will do. Both washer and dishwasher are Whirlpool. I do not believe that they heat the water, unlike the European ones (Miele, Bosch, etc).

Quote
Heck, is it possible your current usage is accurate but your old usage was underestimated somehow?
Definitely a possibility. If so, I have made out like a bandit for almost 22 years!

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2021, 03:54:42 PM »
I studied the breaker panel and found a couple of circuits I did not mention. A jacuzzi, which the inspector noted as not working. So, I turned off the breaker for the jacuzzi. I also have a whole house vacuum which does not work due to broken pipes. I disconnected it.

Ok folks. Here is the plan.

I get the power meter this evening (nice having an Amazon warehouse a few miles away). I'm going to check out the sump pump electricity usage first.

I could not find a breaker for the Radon fan. I cannot see the fan in the basement. It exits thru the roof, so I assume it is in the attic. It may run power off one of the bedrooms. I might have to make a trip to the attic, but I need to lay down some plywood over the rafters before I go traipsing thru the attic ;-).

Once the Tesla installation is completed, they will power the system on (self-usage mode) without exporting to the grid until we get permission. That should be good enough to get an idea of how much power is being used at that time. I can then turn off breakers and check if there is a reduction in power usage. The idea is to isolate one or two circuits that are using power.

Any other suggestions?

Sounds decent. The tricky part is going to be tracking down an intermittent load (if that is what it is). If it is a constant load shutting off the breaker at anytime will register the drop and you just have to track it down. But if the load comes and goes (like most things in the house) then you are going to have to watch for the total usage to unexpectedly spike up and then start flipping breakers before it turns itself back off. If that is the case once you think you've ID'ed the breaker test that the next time the load appears just in case it happened to turn off at roughly the same time you flipped the breaker (I've had that happen). If it happens to be a constant load it could get lost in the noise since 5 kwh a day is roughly 210 watts constantly on.

The radon fan is almost certainly in the attic if it is not on the exterior of the home. I believe code prohibits them from occupied areas of the house, that way if the leak radon heavy air it isn't in the living space.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2021, 06:44:48 AM »
Update.

TLDR, the sump pump is not the guilty party.

Got my power meter last evening. Tested it first, by measuring the power of a single LED bulb lamp. Numbers looked good (10.2 watts). I have bought a lot of crap Chinese stuff from Amazon which have not worked well, that is the reason for testing.

Set it up and watched the output for a couple of cycles. It was showing ~450 watts when the pump ran and about 1.2 W when the pump was not running. Finally, after 16 hours, it shows 0.457kwh used with a peak wattage of 470.5. This matches with the manufacturer sheet which says that draw is 4A (compared to others at 9A https://www.pumpproducts.com/media/amasty/amfile/attach/3b63947d275a35a0136cda2accce62e0.pdf).

On to the next suspect. The Radon mitigation system!

Other good news, Tesla called and asked if I was available for the installation on Monday with inspection on Tuesday. Absolutely!


« Last Edit: December 10, 2021, 07:08:01 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

zolotiyeruki

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2021, 11:26:57 AM »
Quote
Heck, is it possible your current usage is accurate but your old usage was underestimated somehow?
Definitely a possibility. If so, I have made out like a bandit for almost 22 years!
Is the opposite also a possibility, and you're getting overcharged now?

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2021, 03:24:34 PM »
Quote
Heck, is it possible your current usage is accurate but your old usage was underestimated somehow?
Definitely a possibility. If so, I have made out like a bandit for almost 22 years!
Is the opposite also a possibility, and you're getting overcharged now?

No, I requested the electric company to replace the meter as I believed it was inaccurate. It was replaced and the old one was sent to the lab to be tested. Test results show that it was accurate.

In my opinion that the present house has a zombie load somewhere where we use 5-8kwh of power per day. The new meter has a series of bars at the bottom. Sort of like running lights. If the bar does not move, no power is being used. If the bars are moving fast a lot of power is being used. I have been staring at the meter and the bars never stop. They occasionally go faster when other loads come in, but I have never seen it stop. That is why I think there is a zombie load which could be 200-500 watts running continuously.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2021, 03:26:15 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

zolotiyeruki

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2021, 03:43:59 PM »
Quote
Heck, is it possible your current usage is accurate but your old usage was underestimated somehow?
Definitely a possibility. If so, I have made out like a bandit for almost 22 years!
Is the opposite also a possibility, and you're getting overcharged now?

No, I requested the electric company to replace the meter as I believed it was inaccurate. It was replaced and the old one was sent to the lab to be tested. Test results show that it was accurate.

In my opinion that the present house has a zombie load somewhere where we use 5-8kwh of power per day. The new meter has a series of bars at the bottom. Sort of like running lights. If the bar does not move, no power is being used. If the bars are moving fast a lot of power is being used. I have been staring at the meter and the bars never stop. They occasionally go faster when other loads come in, but I have never seen it stop. That is why I think there is a zombie load which could be 200-500 watts running continuously.
I suppose that's when you flip *all* the breakers, and then start turning them back on one by one until you figure out where the zombie is.

BDWW

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2021, 03:45:46 PM »
Someone mentioned it above, but I'll reiterate based on my anecdotal experience. Gas furnace fans(blower motors) are definitely not created equal.  I don't recall the specific terms, but there's steady full power fans and fans that ramp up and down by load.  Reading online would lead one to believe there isn't much savings going from the full power to load variable motor.   That was not the case in my experience, perhaps there was something wrong with the old motor, but it was a significant gain moving to a more efficient motor.   If your furnace is getting up there in age, it might be worth swapping out the whole thing.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2021, 04:04:14 PM »
I suppose that's when you flip *all* the breakers, and then start turning them back on one by one until you figure out where the zombie is.

That is the plan!

I am too old, fat, and lazy to shut one breaker in the basement and run outside to the meter to check if the bars have stopped or slowed down and then repeat for the 30 other breakers ;-)

I'm waiting for next week when I'm getting Tesla solar installed. They provide power used by the house on their app. Then I stand at the panel switch off one breaker and check the app. Hopefully, mid next week I can run this exercise.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2021, 04:08:11 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2021, 04:06:29 PM »
Someone mentioned it above, but I'll reiterate based on my anecdotal experience. Gas furnace fans(blower motors) are definitely not created equal.  I don't recall the specific terms, but there's steady full power fans and fans that ramp up and down by load.  Reading online would lead one to believe there isn't much savings going from the full power to load variable motor.   That was not the case in my experience, perhaps there was something wrong with the old motor, but it was a significant gain moving to a more efficient motor.   If your furnace is getting up there in age, it might be worth swapping out the whole thing.

Totally agree. The furnace is about a couple of years old and was replaced by the bank I bought the property from. So, it is not a high-efficiency unit or has any fancy fan speeds on it. I have a high filtration filter right now, and I was told by the HVAC technician that those will make the fan struggle. So, I'm replacing the expensive filter with a cheapo one.

NaN

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2021, 10:22:37 PM »
Have you examined how much you charge your electric car between the two homes? Could the difference be in change in driving habits?

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2021, 06:59:09 AM »
Have you examined how much you charge your electric car between the two homes? Could the difference be in change in driving habits?

I do not think my habits have changed. I am FIREed and my wife goes to work a couple of days a week(just to train station). The big difference between 2020/2021 was during 2020, we got groceries and food delivered, no commuting, but would make a long ride a couple of times a week to avoid cabin fever. During 2021, no more long rides. Anytime we go on a trip, we use the superchargers so it does not show up on our electric bill.

I maybe do 8k miles a year, or 150 miles a week. That would average about 5kwh/day but in bursts.

I am not writing off the EV as a cause, but rather put lower  on the list of suspects.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2021, 10:58:10 AM »
I suppose that's when you flip *all* the breakers, and then start turning them back on one by one until you figure out where the zombie is.

That is the plan!

I am too old, fat, and lazy to shut one breaker in the basement and run outside to the meter to check if the bars have stopped or slowed down and then repeat for the 30 other breakers ;-)

I'm waiting for next week when I'm getting Tesla solar installed. They provide power used by the house on their app. Then I stand at the panel switch off one breaker and check the app. Hopefully, mid next week I can run this exercise.
You don't have to run outside--you can use the clamp meter on the main wires coming into your panel as well as the individual circuits.  Just keep in mind that if you have 240V coming in, the breakers in each column of your panel will alternate between the two phases, i.e. breaker 1, 5, 9, 13 will be on phase A while 3,7, and 11 will be on phase B.

NaN

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2021, 11:03:25 AM »
Have you examined how much you charge your electric car between the two homes? Could the difference be in change in driving habits?

I do not think my habits have changed. I am FIREed and my wife goes to work a couple of days a week(just to train station). The big difference between 2020/2021 was during 2020, we got groceries and food delivered, no commuting, but would make a long ride a couple of times a week to avoid cabin fever. During 2021, no more long rides. Anytime we go on a trip, we use the superchargers so it does not show up on our electric bill.

I maybe do 8k miles a year, or 150 miles a week. That would average about 5kwh/day but in bursts.

I am not writing off the EV as a cause, but rather put lower  on the list of suspects.

Ok, fair enough, but can you answer how much of that 15-20 kWh/day load is from your car?

ETA: I think I read that above while my DD was screaming while I was holding her. I would be curious in the total power usage from your car over the course averaged in a month.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2021, 01:06:09 PM by NaN »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2021, 06:29:33 PM »
I suppose that's when you flip *all* the breakers, and then start turning them back on one by one until you figure out where the zombie is.

That is the plan!

I am too old, fat, and lazy to shut one breaker in the basement and run outside to the meter to check if the bars have stopped or slowed down and then repeat for the 30 other breakers ;-)

I'm waiting for next week when I'm getting Tesla solar installed. They provide power used by the house on their app. Then I stand at the panel switch off one breaker and check the app. Hopefully, mid next week I can run this exercise.
You don't have to run outside--you can use the clamp meter on the main wires coming into your panel as well as the individual circuits.  Just keep in mind that if you have 240V coming in, the breakers in each column of your panel will alternate between the two phases, i.e. breaker 1, 5, 9, 13 will be on phase A while 3,7, and 11 will be on phase B.

Thanks @zolotiyeruki. I do not have a clamp meter, just a regular multimeter. Tesla installs the power measuring devices (on Monday). So, if I wait a few days, I can get the same functionality as a clamp meter, but on my phone. I'll keep you updated.


NaN

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2021, 06:55:26 PM »
You could also check out the tool Sense. It can track individual appliances on one power measurement.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2021, 06:28:29 AM »
You could also check out the tool Sense. It can track individual appliances on one power measurement.

I have read a few reviews and seen a few youtube videos about it. I was fascinated by it, but not enough to spend $300 on it. It uses just one set of clips on each phase of power to the panel and is based on the pattern of electricity usage (motor will draw electricity differently from a light bulb). It will try to determine what is using the power by using AI to determine the pattern. But from what I have read, it has some issues. For example, a fridge compressor when on gives a pattern, a fridge light gives another and the combination of the compressor and light gives another. People complain about it not being able to recognize some devices.

I'm going to check out the Tesla monitoring and if it falls short will probably use something like what MMM suggested in his heat pump installation article a few weeks ago. It is cheaper (approx $100) and uses clips on individual circuits.

If it is a one-off check and I do not need constant monitoring, I might just spring for a clamp meter and that might be the cheapest way to do this.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2021, 06:30:46 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2021, 07:55:59 AM »
You could also check out the tool Sense. It can track individual appliances on one power measurement.

I would caution against expecting too much out of a Sense. I was given one two years ago. In order to avoid a rant, I will just say it take a long time to ID common items and it does not reliability detect items it has ID'ed and named. For me the only feature that I can call close to 100% reliable is the real time total home usage. I would imagine the dedicated circuit monitoring is as reliable as the total house.

It is a neat and fun tool-to-toy, but it is not what most people seem to imagine it is.


NaN

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2021, 08:14:18 AM »
You could also check out the tool Sense. It can track individual appliances on one power measurement.

I would caution against expecting too much out of a Sense. I was given one two years ago. In order to avoid a rant, I will just say it take a long time to ID common items and it does not reliability detect items it has ID'ed and named. For me the only feature that I can call close to 100% reliable is the real time total home usage. I would imagine the dedicated circuit monitoring is as reliable as the total house.

It is a neat and fun tool-to-toy, but it is not what most people seem to imagine it is.


Interesting - that's a good review. Are you still using it after two years or did you give up with it?

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2021, 04:01:29 PM »
You could also check out the tool Sense. It can track individual appliances on one power measurement.

I would caution against expecting too much out of a Sense. I was given one two years ago. In order to avoid a rant, I will just say it take a long time to ID common items and it does not reliability detect items it has ID'ed and named. For me the only feature that I can call close to 100% reliable is the real time total home usage. I would imagine the dedicated circuit monitoring is as reliable as the total house.

It is a neat and fun tool-to-toy, but it is not what most people seem to imagine it is.


Interesting - that's a good review. Are you still using it after two years or did you give up with it?

If anyone is interested in specifics or my additional disappointments I could provide more detail about what I find disappointing, but otherwise I do not want to derail the thread.

While I wouldn't recommend it to most people, I am still using it. Really for two reasons.First it does provide accurate real time (not the hourly or quarter hour most utilities provide) usage for the whole house. The second (and main) reason I still have/use it is that it installs inside of your main breaker panel, is wired to a 240v breaker and has clamps around each leg of the service cable, I do not think it is worth the effort to remove ... so I have a handy real time energy usage, that still works for turning things on and off and seeing the total usage change.

NaN

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2021, 08:00:12 PM »
You could also check out the tool Sense. It can track individual appliances on one power measurement.

I would caution against expecting too much out of a Sense. I was given one two years ago. In order to avoid a rant, I will just say it take a long time to ID common items and it does not reliability detect items it has ID'ed and named. For me the only feature that I can call close to 100% reliable is the real time total home usage. I would imagine the dedicated circuit monitoring is as reliable as the total house.

It is a neat and fun tool-to-toy, but it is not what most people seem to imagine it is.


Interesting - that's a good review. Are you still using it after two years or did you give up with it?

If anyone is interested in specifics or my additional disappointments I could provide more detail about what I find disappointing, but otherwise I do not want to derail the thread.

While I wouldn't recommend it to most people, I am still using it. Really for two reasons.First it does provide accurate real time (not the hourly or quarter hour most utilities provide) usage for the whole house. The second (and main) reason I still have/use it is that it installs inside of your main breaker panel, is wired to a 240v breaker and has clamps around each leg of the service cable, I do not think it is worth the effort to remove ... so I have a handy real time energy usage, that still works for turning things on and off and seeing the total usage change.

I don't think you are derailing the thread. It is a tool, and maybe an excessive tool for the job, but one very relevant to the problem at hand. For example, if you were in OPs boat would you have this problem solved in hours, day, month with this tool? Because it is permanently installed and records this data is it easier to do this for you or about the same as another tool?

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #36 on: December 13, 2021, 05:40:32 AM »
I will try and keep it to the OPs boat and your two points.

How would this tool take to identify which item is the vampire? If relying on the tool to identify energy and name the source of energy consumption it varies greatly. My system has yet to identify a single light, the boiler, the central heat fan, ceiling fan, nor a TV/cell phone/desktop computer/laptop/game console after 2 years. It took a year to identify my oven. It took 18 months to identify my induction cooktop (well some burners, but that is to the next point). In fairness, more common things, like the well pump, showed up after the first couple weeks. In addition it doesn't always identify a device as we think of if, often you get vague things like "motor" "heat" or "A/C"  followed by a number (it can be somewhat helpful as often it does provide the top few things that similar power signatures have been identified as by the community) and sometimes they need to be merged; for example I think my heat pump water heater showed up as all three of those and I merged them, sometimes after many more months it will do it on its own (though it will also merge devices that are clearly separate which you have named and provided model numbers for). In addition there is a column (well bubble) for "always on" which goes up and down constantly, as I understand it the sense identifies items based on their energy draw at start up, so an always on vampire load would be a challenge for the system. As I understand it, sense ID items via AI and community feedback as to what those items are, so if you have less common items (in my mind things like heat pump dryer, induction cooktop, or hybrid water heater) you may be waiting a long time. So far I have not found a way to "train" it; I would love to be able to tell it I am going to go turn the basement lights on and off 20 times watch for that.

After 2 years ~66% for my usage is still "other" and ~22% is "always on" (despite the name this reading varying anywhere from less than 100w to reading almost 1,200 watts).

As for history. The only easy (really only, but that could be user error) history I have found is for devices that it has identified. Those give a estimated cost in dollars and percent of monthly use, a bar graph of usage by day/week/month/year/bill, total usage, total estimated cost, times on, and total time on. I find this history suspect for two reason and I will give an example of each. It does not detect every time a device turns on; it has identified our EV, but at least once a week our EV charging is "other" not "car's name". And in the opposite direction it has identified our well pump, which it thinks runs in the middle of the night hours after we have gone to bed; I thought we might have a leak based on that and turned the breaker for the pump off overnight and still say the pump run. Both under and over reporting makes history suspect.

In sense's support I have read stories about people reaching out to customer service and getting knowledgeable responses and assistance. And Amazon is full of great reviews. My experience is that it under delivers compared to what my expectations were, is not the most reliable, and requires a good bit of involvement from the user.

For the OP's case for searching for a load in a timely manner and if I had exposed wiring in the basement/at the main panel I would much prefer a clamp style meter to quickly show the consumption of each wire and hunt down what is on that circuit.

Ripple4

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2021, 07:52:03 AM »
On the subject of whole house power meters I would suggest looking at the efergy engage hub with as many sub-monitoring kits as you want, I have two sub monitoring kits, one for grid consumption and one for solar production. This is what i have been using for almost 2 years and am happy with it. the one I have really measures "volt x amps" not watts, but for rough work its close enough. Anyway, it has several uses, one of which is tracking down how much a given load uses. Just yesterday i was trying to figure out how much power each speed of my new brushless furnace fan uses, and with a few A-B readings i solved that (60 watts on super low, 400 watts on medium high). I even discovered the old one was a power hog with this same kit (single speed and 950w.) Granted, i have to use my reckoning and logic to figure out what is what, but for me its not too tough, i know what the washer/dryer, electric car, treadmill, fridge, oven and heat pump etc power signatures look like.

to start off what I did is permanently clip the two large sensor coils around the mains run the sensor wires out of a Romex grip knockout plug to the transmitter and got readings, then I just turn off one breaker at a time with all discretionary loads off to see what each branch circuit has as a phantom loads, because the total usage will drop the amount of the phantom loads. then the circuits that have phantom loads like TVs and sound bars etc. i got illuminated switch outlet plugs to turn them off when not used, and i can see when they are on cause the switch is illuminated.

to give you an idea here is the screen snap (seen from a portrait windows monitor) of yesterdays minute/minute use on top and then daily usage on bottom. the smart phone app is similar


CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2021, 09:17:45 AM »
The Tesla install went great yesterday. Two teams showed up, one to install the panels and the other to install the Powerwalls. Also, the electric company technician showed up to remove the meter locks. Fast, clean, and quick. The cynic in me thinks they are trying to meet year-end goals, and that is why they had all their ducks in a row.

The panels look great, black with a skirt. There are none of those silver lines that you see in the others. They also are a lot bigger than the old panels.

This morning, I had a Tesla technician sitting in his van outside to walk the inspectors thru.  The construction/fire inspector did not go to the roof since the technician had all the photos from the roof.  The electrical inspector walked thru and checked. All inspections passed.

The technician came up and started the system. It is a sunny day, but I am only getting 0.1kw from the solar.. Tesla has throttled the system until they get paid (I have only paid $100 till now, so I do not blame them). I now need to pay them the down payment.  I am not exporting to the grid until the electric company approves

The app is now working. It is measuring household usage, once in about 10-20 seconds (along with grid usage, solar generation, and Powerwall charge/discharge/state). It has been too short an interval to draw any conclusions, but let me get it to run and let me give you an update tomorrow.

ETA: After seeing the app and the details it gives, I think this might be enough for my purposes. The efergy app, @Ripple4 describe looks great. I do not think I would go with sense after reading the review by @BudgetSlasher.

« Last Edit: December 14, 2021, 09:38:00 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2021, 08:02:21 AM »
I have been seeing good data from the  system. I'll post in an hour or so.

In the meantime, I am very happy with the install. The panels look great. In the picture below, there are 12 panels and 8 on the opposite side of the roof. They did not just bring the power conduit down in the middle of the wall, but close to the edge. I got 3 cans of paint and they painted it for me before installation.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #40 on: December 15, 2021, 10:14:29 AM »
Here is the data from the app (Home Usage, Solar, Powerwall, Grid) in 5-minute intervals. I've just left the Home Usage column and added a description of what was happening.Also, cut out the graph of the Home Usage data from the app. Both measurements are at a resolution of 0.1kw.

The app updates every 5 seconds, but the CSV download has it in 5-minute increments. Due to this, I can see the sump pump come on (app jumps from 0.4kw to 0.8kw) but I do not see it in the CSV file.

Here is what I have been able to come up with
  • There is a constant load of 0.3 to 0.4kw. Maybe fluctuates around 0.35kw and so it gives a rounded reading
  • Furnace comes on at 5:45 AM. Nighttime house temperature is  60F /15C and daytime is 70F/20C and runs till 9:25.
  • There was a spike in the graph at 6:15 AM. Also shows up in the CSV data. No idea what it is, will check and see if it happens tomorrow.
  • Nest is set up to run the fan for 15 mins every hour so that temperatures around the house equalize as this is a two-story house with a single zone. My expectations were the fan would run 15 mins/hour thru the night, but there are no indications of that happening. This may be a nest thing.
  • On the download, shows a low of around 0.2kw in the night, but I have never seen 0.2kw on the app
  • The app data seems quite good. I do not think I will add any other measuring device like sense or efergy

Anyway, here are my next steps.
  • Once I start seeing 0.4kw tomorrow, will start flipping breaker switches. I cannot do it today since DW is working. If I can isolate this and reduce this baseline load, I would have a savings of 7.2Kwh (0.3kw baseline) to 9.6kwh (0.4kw baseline).
  • Going to put a lower MERV rated filter than the one I have now (MERV 11, which is quite high). The HVAC technician pointed out that it would reduce the airflow. My assumptions are that it puts a load on the fan and can reduce electricity usage.

Sorry, I am rambling, but I am excited as I see a potential light at the end of the tunnel.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2021, 10:30:42 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #41 on: December 15, 2021, 11:38:30 AM »
Good luck, let us know what you find especially if you find one major culprit.

Do you have any idea what your baseline was at your last house? Have you already, in this house or the last, attacked or identified vampire loads from the common culprits?

I ask since it sounds like you could be looking as low as 200w (unseen and at night load) or as high as 400w (daytime seen). I remember trying to track down the phantom loads in our house years ago and it quickly gets into very small things that add up.

For example (all items are things I remember looking and and all number are a quick bit of first couple links google-fu now): cable modem (~10w) wifi router (~3-20w) GFCI outlet (I see numbers ~1-7w/ea), computer in sleep mode (~1-5w) any smart/touch control/device with a digital display (~1-2w), lots of transformers for charging electronics, running HVAC systems, annd powering doorbells (~1-2w @idel), do you have arc-fault breakers (I cannot quickly find a power draw but probably akin to a GFCI), TV/monitor "off" (~10w). And you mentioned a radon fan (~15-20w) and a EV, Tesla?, charger (~10w idle).

I hope that you find one load that accounts for most of you idle draw, but I somewhat suspect you are going to find a bunch of tiny things.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2021, 11:49:00 AM by BudgetSlasher »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #42 on: December 15, 2021, 11:48:26 AM »
Good luck, let us know what you find especially if you find one major culprit.
I definitely will.

Quote
Do you have any idea what your baseline was at your last house? Have you already, in this house or the last, attacked or identified vampire loads from the common culprits?
No, I never felt the usage there was too much. Maybe it was because I had a job and did not have time to worry about these things.

Quote
I ask since it sounds like you could be looking as low as 200w (unseen and at night load) or as high as 400w (daytime seen). I remember trying to track down the phantom loads in our house years ago and it quickly gets into very small things that add up.

For example (all items are things I remember looking and and all number are a quick bit of first couple links google-fu now): cable modem (~10w) wifi router (~3-20w) GFCI outlet (I see numbers ~1-7w/ea), computer in sleep mode (~1-5w) any smart/touch control/device with a digital display (~1-2w), lots of transformers for charging electronics, running HVAC systems, annd powering doorbells (~1-2w @idel), do you have arc-fault breakers (I cannot quickly find a power draw but probably akin to a GFCI), TV/monitor "off" (~10w).

This scares me. I am hoping that there are one or two larger loads which can be the cause. But I definitely can see a lot of smaller vampire loads. I don't have arc-fault breakers, but have all of the others.

Thanks. I'll update tomorrow after the breaker test.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #43 on: December 15, 2021, 11:50:37 AM »
Darn you caught me editing a couple devices that I do not have but I remembered you have mentioned.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #44 on: December 15, 2021, 11:55:13 AM »
Darn you caught me editing a couple devices that I do not have but I remembered you have mentioned.

No problems. Yes, the radon fan and EV charger will also be checked for.

NaN

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #45 on: December 15, 2021, 08:39:24 PM »
I will try and keep it to the OPs boat and your two points.

That's perfect. Thanks!

Good luck, let us know what you find especially if you find one major culprit.

Do you have any idea what your baseline was at your last house? Have you already, in this house or the last, attacked or identified vampire loads from the common culprits?

I ask since it sounds like you could be looking as low as 200w (unseen and at night load) or as high as 400w (daytime seen). I remember trying to track down the phantom loads in our house years ago and it quickly gets into very small things that add up.

For example (all items are things I remember looking and and all number are a quick bit of first couple links google-fu now): cable modem (~10w) wifi router (~3-20w) GFCI outlet (I see numbers ~1-7w/ea), computer in sleep mode (~1-5w) any smart/touch control/device with a digital display (~1-2w), lots of transformers for charging electronics, running HVAC systems, annd powering doorbells (~1-2w @idel), do you have arc-fault breakers (I cannot quickly find a power draw but probably akin to a GFCI), TV/monitor "off" (~10w). And you mentioned a radon fan (~15-20w) and a EV, Tesla?, charger (~10w idle).

I hope that you find one load that accounts for most of you idle draw, but I somewhat suspect you are going to find a bunch of tiny things.

Interesting base load comment with a bunch of little thing adding up. It still seems like that's a little high. A base load of 200 W at night seems double what a house should have.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2021, 06:24:56 AM »
I will try and keep it to the OPs boat and your two points.

That's perfect. Thanks!

Good luck, let us know what you find especially if you find one major culprit.

Do you have any idea what your baseline was at your last house? Have you already, in this house or the last, attacked or identified vampire loads from the common culprits?

I ask since it sounds like you could be looking as low as 200w (unseen and at night load) or as high as 400w (daytime seen). I remember trying to track down the phantom loads in our house years ago and it quickly gets into very small things that add up.

For example (all items are things I remember looking and and all number are a quick bit of first couple links google-fu now): cable modem (~10w) wifi router (~3-20w) GFCI outlet (I see numbers ~1-7w/ea), computer in sleep mode (~1-5w) any smart/touch control/device with a digital display (~1-2w), lots of transformers for charging electronics, running HVAC systems, annd powering doorbells (~1-2w @idel), do you have arc-fault breakers (I cannot quickly find a power draw but probably akin to a GFCI), TV/monitor "off" (~10w). And you mentioned a radon fan (~15-20w) and a EV, Tesla?, charger (~10w idle).

I hope that you find one load that accounts for most of you idle draw, but I somewhat suspect you are going to find a bunch of tiny things.

Interesting base load comment with a bunch of little thing adding up. It still seems like that's a little high. A base load of 200 W at night seems double what a house should have.

You're welcome.

I had 2 thoughts while typing that. One, there are a lot of things we want that consume a little power either for safety and convenience. And two once you track down the big loads it gets harder to ID the loads until they are lost in the noise. Just looking at real time total consumption 1 to 20W fluctuations are happen almost every second, I might notice a 20W shift in baseline, but not 1W.

Those devices definitely contribute to the OP's power bill, but unless they also bought all of the trappings of modern life when they moved it does not explain the original question of why does the new house use more electricity.



CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #47 on: December 16, 2021, 08:26:49 AM »
TLDR; Root cause was NOT the radon pump. Still cannot fix the cause.

So, I tried turning off all the circuit breakers and checking the app for home-usage. I had to keep the circuit with the internet router on (Central vac breaker, no others use it). I did not see a drop to zero. Still around 0.2 kW.

One possibility is that this is a measurement error.

One, there are a lot of things we want that consume a little power either for safety and convenience. And two once you track down the big loads it gets harder to ID the loads until they are lost in the noise. Just looking at real time total consumption 1 to 20W fluctuations are happen almost every second, I might notice a 20W shift in baseline, but not 1W.

Those devices definitely contribute to the OP's power bill, but unless they also bought all of the trappings of modern life when they moved it does not explain the original question of why does the new house use more electricity.

This makes a lot of sense.

So, assuming that there is a  load of 100-150W including both vampire loads (Phone chargers, laptop, TV, Washer, dryer, Dishwasher, Range, microwave) and those always on loads (internet routers, wifi extenders, radon fan, smoke detectors), and if there is a 0.2kW resolution error in the measurement, that would account for the 0.2-0.4kW reading always.

I think my plan going forward is to try and reduce the higher loads and see if that will help.

Sorry, no resolution to this. I will update if I find something.

« Last Edit: December 16, 2021, 08:50:20 AM by CowboyAndIndian »

wjquigs

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #48 on: January 11, 2022, 08:49:18 PM »
I just installed an Emporia system in my panel. I don't know much about Sense but the Emporia monitor is likely more hands-on in that you need to identify the circuits. This was a PITA at first (especially since I plugged some circuits into the "wrong" ports) but now it's giving accurate readings with about 20-25 watts in the "balance" (i.e. "we don't know what this is").
I was shocked at how much power I use when everything is turned off, a couple hundred watts. But within a day, I had identified all the parasitic loads.
William

NaN

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Re: What is using the electricity? How to track it down.
« Reply #49 on: February 06, 2022, 07:43:00 AM »
@CowboyAndIndian - have you found anything? Waiting until the summer when base load is only load?