Home Electricity Usage Monitor

Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:29 pm

After a quick search, I didn't find anything historical about devices that monitor electricity usage in the home.

Our bill has gone through the roof in the last few months and I don't know what is causing it. It's higher now at $210/month than it is in the summer with whole house AC running! I burn coal for heat and domestic hot water so I know there's something terribly wrong here...

So, there's lots of noise on the web when you do a search. Many companies make these types of devices. I even found electric companies who offer devices and programs to monitor electricity usage and plug cost data into it so you can see what you are spending real time. In our area, these services are not available.

Anyone have experience or insight into this?

I'm looking for a device that would be able to monitor individual circuits in the home either installed in the circuit breaker panel or on the appliance itself. Software or a handheld/wall remote would be fine either way to provide the user interface. Essentially, I'd be looking to learn what the electric dryer is costing me with each load of laundry. I'm curious about the boiler circ pumps that run 24/7. I've heard that folks are surprised to learn what the computer and tv use even when shut off but still plugged in.

Thanks,
Tom
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:44 pm

Tom, I'm not aware of a meter that will do what you want...but I will do some searching.

A few questions:

How many KWH are you using each month?
Were the $200 bills "actual" meter reads or estimates?
What do you think the biggest energy hogs are in your house?
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: ValterBorges On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:02 pm

Anyone use one of these?

http://www.energycircle.com/shop/emonit ... amics.html

One of these days I'm going to take on a project like this.
http://www.kondra.com/circuit/circuit.html
ValterBorges
 
Stove/Furnace Make: AHS
Stove/Furnace Model: S260


Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: WNY On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:14 pm

You can get a Kill-a-watt meter, about $20-30 .

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00009MDBU/ref ... B00009MDBU

Maybe you have a bad compressor on your Fridge, check and clean the coils good, etc....go thru all the things that may be on all the time. Have you gotten any new electronics, TV's, computers, etc.....all add up if left one all the time.
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: mozz On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:43 pm

I'll second the Kill-a-watt meter. What have you added or changed recently? You could also have a defective meter.
mozz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: Freddy On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:05 pm

The Kill-a-watt meter is good for some things, but not so good for others. It doesn't do as well on electric motors as it does on lights & TV & that sort of thing. Also, it will not do 240 things like dryers or kitchen ovens. It is good for showing what stuff uses when turned off.
Yes, clean the coils of the 'fridge. When they get clogged with hair & dust you will use way more power to run it.
$200 a month with no hot water does seen high. But, it is winter time. Do you move air with electricity? That is costly. One reason a boiler is cheaper to use than a hot air system is just that....it's cheaper to pump hot water than it is to pump hot air.
Do you have Plasma TV? They are hogs!
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: McGiever On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:31 pm

If it is an *estimated* meter reading, don't panic. Estimates are calculated on degree days for the month and the trend of past usage. Us using solid fuel for heat and hot water can throw this way out of whack. :)
This time of year our utility here, commonly just estimates, and after an *actual* meter reading the difference is settled.

Some utilities adjust their rates seasonally...compare 2 bills from 2 different seasons by doing the math...that will show you the per kWh rate of each season.

If you really want to know more, you can always visit your utilities written *tariff* posted on your state's PUC website.
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:41 pm

Funny I saw this post just a half hour after opening the highest electric bill I've had in the nearly 9 years I've lived here. $115, over 800 kWh. I think it's because the billing days were 34 instead of the normal 29 - 31 day billing. A few extra days makes a big difference. Probably did 2 loads of laundry on that last day. That'll do it - that dryer sucks the juice down bigtime.
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: qbwebb On: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:13 pm

I have the TED meter, installed it about a yr ago, it gives you real time usage through your entire house on a little portable meter. It also links to your PC so you can graph your usage, predict your bill etc. It even has an iphone app you can use to monitor usage. It takes usually around 6-10 sec to register a change in load. my first month in the house was a $200 bill (dec 2009), then typically above $180. Once I took my 80 gal electric hot water heater offline the bill dropped like $70/month. It also has a load monitor tool, basically if you have one device that kicks on, say the refrigerator, that draws a constant load you can set up your computer to monitor the on/off times. Electric dryer does add up, i've often thought of trying to rig a small water to air Hx to the air inlet and plumb another zone off the boiler. The easiest thing you can do right away is just hang up your laundry, the house probably needs the moisture now anyway. This guy has done quite a bit to get to a "net zero energy house" , that is where I discovered the TED meter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHmXhgBh ... PcP-Ft2L15
qbwebb
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:43 am

Some good thoughts here. I appreciate all y'all's input.

So the last 12 months have yielded 5 months usage around 1500kw. July and August were scortchers in the NE, but those two months combined were 3300kw (AC unit never shut off!). The lowest month was above 900kw.

The largest loads are the stove and the dryer. I've got a 5hp air compressor but the breaker stays open on that puppy. The house is hydronic, so no air movers Freddy. I do have a larger than normal circ pump - TACO11 - but even that shouldnt be pushing up usage this way.

I checked out the kill a watt device some time ago. Neat little device, but pretty basic and doesn't work on 240v loads. It also doesn't "log" usage so you can only see what's being used as you stand there and look at it.

I also looked at the links posted here to various devices. Some really cool stuff being developed out there. it's also pretty salty. If I could just convince my wife that dogs really CAN see in the dark and that she doesnt need to turn on the 500w flood light in the back yard every morning when she lets him out... :roll: :roll: ...and then forget to turn it off after sunrise so it burns all day long... :mad: :mad: ...THEN I could easily find the money to pay for somehting like the eMonitor! ;)

My meter is the electronic variety so every other month is estimated and the opposite is actual based on remote reading.

I will check the coil on the refer today. I don't think it's too dirty but this is a simple thing to check.
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:48 am

OldAA130 wrote:I do have a larger than normal circ pump - TACO11 - but even that shouldnt be pushing up usage this way.


That may consume more than you think...especially if it is run all the time. $.12 per KWH...about $17 per month to run the 011.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: bverwolf On: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:39 am

This kill-a-watt meter does log the amount of electricity used. You can also put in your cost per kw hour and it will calculate how much it costs to run for the day, week, month, or year. I have one and have used it alot. Its easy to use and won't lose the data if your electricity flickers.

http://www.amazon.com/P3-International- ... 958&sr=8-2

Ben
bverwolf
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vogelzang
Stove/Furnace Model: Norseman 2500

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: lsayre On: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:41 am

There are also many options for what are known as "whole house" electricity monitors. The cheapest of which is your homes electric meter. Complements of your electric company. 8-)
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (It has been fixed!)

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: mozz On: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:44 am

"It also doesn't "log" usage so you can only see what's being used as you stand there and look at it.'
Yes it does. It measures kilowatt hours. Leave it plugged in for 24, 48, 72 hours or the whole month. Use a calculator to figure it out. It doesn't measure 240 volt outlets but so what? They use the most current electricity, cut down your usage. The item only costs $19 and it's purpose is to measure things which people normally leave plugged in 24/7. Cordless screwdrivers,razors,cell phone junk, tv's and cable boxes in unused rooms, certain coffee makers that keep the water warm, etc.etc. Go around your house and check every outlet, tell us what is plugged in 24/7. Just had a $63 electric bill and i leave some outdoor led lights on 24/7, battery tender, camera video recorder security system, wife's laptop is always charging, boom box is always plugged in. Yet i never leave any cordless things charging 24/7 like cell phone chargers or cordless screwdrivers. 42" Plasma tv is on 6-8 hours a day. Our dryer is never on all the way high, medium setting and it dries fine.
mozz
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam

Re: Home Electricity Usage Monitor

PostBy: McGiever On: Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:52 pm

OldAA130 wrote:The largest loads are the stove and the dryer


Did the Mrs. maybe, do some additional baking during the holidays? :idea:
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek