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utility experiment
Old 09-03-2007, 09:36 PM   #1
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utility experiment

For the past 3+ years I have been taking daily water/electric/natural gas meter readings.

As a result I have been working on reducing consumption thereof.

So I ran an experiment: from 4PM Saturday to 4PM Sunday I tried to minimize use of water/electric/natural gas.

Results:
Water: 18 gallons
Electric: 4 KWH
Gas: can't tell as I already use less than 1 CCF/day

Of course it would be possible to cut usage even further: no laptop, turn off power strip for TV/cable, furnace and water heater do have pilot lights...

As I said, an experiment,

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Old 09-03-2007, 09:39 PM   #2
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Do you really need utilities?
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:38 AM   #3
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For the past 3+ years I have been taking daily water/electric/natural gas meter readings.
Khan, next time my spouse accuses me of being too meticulous about my data-acquisition habits I'm going to refer her to you!
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Old 09-04-2007, 07:50 AM   #4
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I don't it daily but with the move from North FL to Central OH I was concerned with utility bills. Now after 2 years I have some data on Natural Gas and Electricity usage. I am unable to follow water as it is included in the Condo fee. The first year the cost per day for electric was $1.96 and natural gas was $2.86. With some additional effort to conserve in the second year E is down to $1.71 per day (13% decrease) and NG is down to $2.09 per day (27% decrease). We have a total of 3,600 SF of heated space on three levels. With an automatic set-back thermostat set at 66 Day/55 Night degrees heat and 82 Day/85 Night degrees cooling and with 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night settings we are comfortable.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:42 AM   #5
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Khan, next time my spouse accuses me of being too meticulous about my data-acquisition habits I'm going to refer her to you!
LOL!!! Meticulous or not, I think Khan's data is very interesting. I wonder if the usage will go up during the week eventually, as a "psychological rebound" of sorts due to the weekend deprivation.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
LOL!!! Meticulous or not, I think Khan's data is very interesting. I wonder if the usage will go up during the week eventually, as a "psychological rebound" of sorts due to the weekend deprivation.
I have daily, monthly, and annual charts with running averages.

It will go up. But gas doesn't go above 1/2 CCF until the heat is on; and the electric doesn't go above 8 KWH unless A/C is on.

At these levels it's very easy to see the effect of various machines: fans, washing machine, desktop vs laptop...

It seems the new A/C (10.7 EER) is more efficient than the old one (very old).
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:02 AM   #7
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Here's a rule of thumb I use for "phantom loads" (e.g. power the TV uses when it's off). Multiply the wattage by 1.5, and that's how much you'll spend in dollars if that device is on all the time for one year. For example, If your TV, stereo and VCRs take 20 watts, you'll spend $30 per year. This depends on your local rates, of course.

I have a timer that turns off the TV, stereo, and a few other devices between 10:30 PM and 5:30 PM, when we rarely use them (timer only uses 1 watt).

We use 10 KWH per day -- what did you not do to get this to 4 KWH?
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Here's a rule of thumb I use for "phantom loads" (e.g. power the TV uses when it's off). Multiply the wattage by 1.5, and that's how much you'll spend in dollars if that device is on all the time for one year. For example, If your TV, stereo and VCRs take 20 watts, you'll spend $30 per year. This depends on your local rates, of course.

I have a timer that turns off the TV, stereo, and a few other devices between 10:30 PM and 5:30 PM, when we rarely use them (timer only uses 1 watt).

We use 10 KWH per day -- what did you not do to get this to 4 KWH?
This could only be done on a breezy, low humidity summer day.

Did not:
Turn on any lights
Use A/C
Use fans
Turn on cable/TV
Turn on radio
Turn on desktop/monitor/speakers
Use dishwasher
Do laundry
Cook (except microwave for 2 cups tea) (stove is gas w/ electronic controls)
Open garage door
Leave computer stuff power strips on over night

Things still consuming electricity:
Clocks/controls on stove, microwave, water softener
2 cordless phones
power strip with clock radio and electric toothbrush
power strip with TV/cable box/VCR
radio plugged into computer power strip
plugged in radio in basement
2 illuminated light switches
power strips with laptop, DSL modem, wireless hub
refrigerator
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Old 09-04-2007, 05:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
Khan, next time my spouse accuses me of being too meticulous about my data-acquisition habits I'm going to refer her to you!
The scary thing is, I actually *want* to do this, I'm just too lazy.

I have envisioned this:

A) Every utility meter is readable electronically, say with its own IP address.

B) You log into a web account, and you could view your usage real time. Maybe a bar chart for the last minute, 5 min, 20 min, 1/4/8/24 hour, 7/14/28 day, billing period, annual period.

C) I bet Kahn has already dreamt of this

Geez, I'm using around 33KWH a day, w/o A/C (electric dryer, well pump though).

-ERD50
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:16 PM   #10
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[quote=Khan;552832]For the past 3+ years I have been taking daily water/electric/natural gas meter readings.

As a result I have been working on reducing consumption thereof.

So I ran an experiment: from 4PM Saturday to 4PM Sunday I tried to minimize use of water/electric/natural gas.

Results:
Water: 18 gallons
Electric: 4 KWH
Gas: can't tell as I already use less than 1 CCF/day

Of course it would be possible to cut usage even further: no laptop, turn off power strip for TV/cable, furnace and water heater do have pilot lights...

As I said, an experiment,
...........................
quote]
OMG...you DID normalize water volume for incoming temperature, right?
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:23 PM   #11
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This is not what I have envisioned doing in my early retirement.........
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:32 PM   #12
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The Gadgeteer - Kill-A-Watt Electric Usage Monitor Review is a review of a device you can use to measure usage of each appliance. I haven't tried it myself but I've heard from others who have, and they say it's very interesting. Especially interesting is to see that some chargers continue to use power even when your phone or other device is not connected, while others don't.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:41 PM   #13
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This is not what I have envisioned doing in my early retirement.........
I was born to be geek.

Love at first sight with computer spreadsheets (anyone remember ENABLE?).
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:59 PM   #14
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Khan ,
Step away from the spreadsheet and turn on your computer ( yes just waste the electricity ) and go to Match .com .
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:51 PM   #15
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B) You log into a web account, and you could view your usage real time.
Not as convenient, but you can tell what your usage is in real time by timing how long it takes for the disk in your meter to revolve one time. I posted instructions on how to do this once, but can't find them now.

I found that when everything is off, I was using about 160 watts.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:56 PM   #16
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82 and 85 degrees with the AC

You must like it HOT in the house. we keep the place down here in NC at 79 upstais and 77 downstairs.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:09 PM   #17
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I set the A/C at 80F for the lower level during the day(if 90 and humid); use a window fan for the upstairs bedroom at night.

Today was 90 with low humidity, fans but no A/C.
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Old 09-04-2007, 11:11 PM   #18
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You guys are frightening.

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Old 09-05-2007, 06:19 AM   #19
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Our electric co (Enel) came around two years ago and installed digital meters. They give current billing period consumption to date, last billing period consumption, max. power drawn (peak) during this period/last period and current actual consumption (updated every 2 minutes) -plus client number, rate details, date/time, 800# for service, etc.. That said, I never look at it!

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