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(Post Link) post #1 of 45 Old 12-06-13 Thread Starter
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Electricity usage monitors

Just had a heart attack checking our daily usage of electricity as am in the process of working out what to charge my house sitter for bills. (I worked out daily by taking kwh reading from meter today and comparing to the June 2012 reading which was a real one and not an estimate).

We appear to be using 37kwh of leccy per day (thats 13,600 kwh per year!).

I understand that the national average is more like 10kwh / day or 3,650 kwh per year....

Just off to buy a monitor - does anyone have one they can recommend? Seems that you either go for one that clips to the wires by the meter and measures total consumption (but not very accurately) or one that plugs into each appliance that gives very accurate readings per appliance but you need to sum it all up to get your overall number...

Anyone know better?

5 bed house on 3 floors, Gas CH and hob, 5 residents, wife who doesnt know that light switches have an off position, or that tumble dryers have an off switch. Everything on standby all the time. ipods, ipads, blackberrys all permanently plugged into chargers. laptop and iMac always on. Hardly ever use dishwasher, but with 3 little kids we are always cooking, hoovering and washing (well... when I say "we"....)
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Fred,
I know I am sad but I have been reading our meters every friday evening for at least twenty years. In addition I have a spreadsheet to calculate a forecast figure (for budgeting) using probability theory.

I have copied and pasted the basic quarterly input for both Electric and Gas(converted to KWh from cum) below if it is any help.

The house is a four bed detached on two floors with just myself and wife (who does understand about off switches etc). Gross floor area is approx 1550 sqft plus a detached garage. The heating and cooking is done by gas but there are two chest freezers in the garage (14 cuft and 18 cuft)

In terms of monitors I have never felt the need for anything more than pencil and paper and remembering to actually read them at 1800hrs each Friday. It is worth noting that weekly useage can vary a bit but it averages out over the quarter although cold winters and wet summers can make a year on year difference.

Edit. Before I posted the formatting of the table looked OK but after posting I see everything has justified left but I think it is clear


Electric
Consumption
Year Dec-Feb Mar-May Jun-Aug Sep-Nov
1995 1452 1274 1234 1361
1996 1453 1223 1267 1303
1997 1577 1247 1131 1058
1998 1442 1188 1205 1291
1999 1281 1164 979 1196
2000 1349 1121 1062 1482
2001 1589 1167 991 1289
2002 1557 1364 1039 1299
2003 1425 1158 1056 1286
2004 1514 1137 960 1165
2005 1275 1055 885 1149
2006 1292 1071 789 1179
2007 1256 1053 832 1052
2008 1231 1033 804 1144
2009 1287 976 894 953
2010 1206 984 877 982
2011 1257 974 895 941
2012 1236 995 917 867
2013 1215 967


GAS
Year Feb-May May-Aug Aug-Nov Nov-Feb
1995 7585.14 2322.67 6070.36 11781.66
1996 8796.97 3242.76 6990.45 11781.66
1997 6665.05 2951.02 6541.62 9997.58
1998 6541.62 3455.95 6822.14 10569.83
1999 7394.39 2861.26 6193.78 10951.33
2000 6923.13 2603.18 6507.96 11557.25
2001 7910.54 2188.02 6474.30 9997.58
2002 7428.05 1963.61 6440.64 11119.64
2003 5969.37 1941.16 6384.54 10951.33
2004 7203.64 2154.36 6317.21 10255.65
2005 6855.80 2345.11 5621.53 11366.50
2006 8067.63 1683.09 5554.21 10827.91
2007 7147.54 2345.11 5015.62 10985.00
2008 7989.09 2389.99 5767.40 11703.12
2009 7394.39 2569.52 4589.23 11916.31
2010 8920.40 2333.89 5195.15 12668.09
2011 7068.99 2692.95 3747.69 9761.95
2012 7245.31 2679.31 4186.43 10192.56
2013 8573.81

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Last edited by TonyGr; 12-06-13 at 15:12. Reason: Exra comment re data tables
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(Post Link) post #3 of 45 Old 12-06-13 Thread Starter
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That's some fancy stat work there Tony

So you are burning around 4,000 kwh of electricity per annum. You are at the efficient end of the national averages.

Makes my 13,600 look pretty dire though, dunnit....
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There's a thread here that might give you some more comparisons Fred:
https://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/rant-...-gas-bill.html

Is it worth you turning everything off and making sure the meter isn't still turning?
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Interesting other thread. Confirms most people are using about 1/3rd as much leccy as me....

Have now ordered a monitor, and British Gas (Electric) have asked me for daily readings for 7 days to check their own stats.
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Went to bed at 11pm last night. Consciously didn't do anything differently to a normal night (i.e. left TV in standby etc). Came down this morning at 6am and between 11pm and 6am - when we were all in bed and house was dark - we clocked up 6kwh of electricity usage.....

So that's 60% of a "normal family home" usage (10kwh) just while we slept in a dark house!!
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Our electric bill went through the roof last quarter, so I am now getting anal about checking meter readings. We did nothing different this winter from normal, yet our usage somehow went up 50%! I'm going to check tonight our "over night usage".
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My elec went up 70% last qtr ....probably something to do with the freezing March temps ...
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FredDibnah View Post
Went to bed at 11pm last night. Consciously didn't do anything differently to a normal night (i.e. left TV in standby etc). Came down this morning at 6am and between 11pm and 6am - when we were all in bed and house was dark - we clocked up 6kwh of electricity usage.....

So that's 60% of a "normal family home" usage (10kwh) just while we slept in a dark house!!
I reckon that our "base load" is about 28 kWh per week (say 4 kWh per 24 hours). That is the usage while we are away on holiday. Basically two chest freezers plus large fridge. Everything else is turned off.

Have you got an immersion heater turned on which is set to a higher temperature than the gas boiler can get the cylinder? This would mean the leccy is heating the water rather than the gas and that is consumption heavy.
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Immersion heater is definitely not on at the switch. I've checked that so many times now that the wife is starting to worry that I have a fancy woman hiding in the airing cupboard.

Although it's a new boiler from a few months back - so I'm now wondering if there's a setup issue.

Anyway - I've now ordered an individual appliance meter (10 quid) and a general usage meter (30 quid)* which will be able to show me my overall utilization at the meter (expecting it to confirm that I am indeed burning 35-40 kwh per day!) and then I can go appliance by appliance and work out what is using what.

My plan is:

- connect overall usage meter to the mains connection to the electric meter (apparently it clips onto the meter input wire)
- let it settle to show me the current usage
- switch off all lighting to see what that is drawing
- switch off all discretionary stuff (tvs, kettle, washing machine, tumble dryer, laptops, chargers, sky boxes etc) to see what they are drawing as a whole
- check draw of what is left (fridge/freezer/cooker) - make sure that looks sensible
- incrementally switch on each discretionary appliance with the individual appliance meter connected to check that what it says it is drawing translates to the overall total

Both of the usage meters I have purchased show both the current draw and also will show the 24 hour usage prediction (and an annual one!) so I should be able to compare like with like.

I'm hoping that I can pinpoint a problem (maybe immersion heater is wired wrong or similar) - but I suspect that what I will see is that we are just (a) tragically bad at controlling our usage, and (b) some of our appliances are a lot less efficient than we thought (current suspects will be the tumble dryer, the computers and phone chargers and potentially the dozens of spot lights that we have had put in over the recent past.... )

Should receive monitors from Amazon in next 2-3 days so quite looking forward to a bit of detective work.

Oh - and BG have told me that my "adjustment" bill that is coming in the post based on my most recent reading will be approximately 1,300 and to expect a wild upward revision of my 65 per month DD....

*BG are sending me a free usage meter in the post - but it will take 28 days to arrive
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One other check you could make immediately is to switch everything off including the fridge freezer cooker etc and see if the meter is still going round. No harm will come to freezer and fridge if turned back on fairly soon. If the meter is still going round then there is a "leak" somewhere and you need an electrician
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Nothing goes round on my meter.

It's a white digital box with a blinking red light on it and an LED readout of units.

I used to like the old meters with the rotating discs in them. As you say - always good to see if it was spinning like a top or rotating slowly but surely.

I haven't watched to see if the red light blinks on a usage basis (i.e. more rapidly with load) but I suspect not.

EDIT:

This is my meter http://www.jon00.me.uk/electmon.shtml and apparently it does blink based on usage. I fear I'm going to spend too long ni the garage looking at it trying to work out if its blinking more or less than just a minute before...
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Thats a blinking shame
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Would it be worth just tripping all your circuit breakers for a moment to see if the blinking stops altogether?

Shame there's no disc spinning, that was my suggestion too.
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Our electric bill is 110 a month, but 30 at least of that goes on heating Mr PG's hot tub (down as a necessity, for some reason).

I'm desperately trying to reduce my gallery bill because that's 80 a month at the moment and I'm only there three days a week. My biggest expense are my oil heaters. We're actually thinking of investing in a space heater to heat the air quickly during the winter and then use the oil heaters as a back up. It's getting so expensive now that I'm starting to worry that I soon won't be able to afford it

We've put a wood burner in the house which has helped and I've also wondered about putting one in the shop.

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All interesting stuff. When I was married I never took an interest. Bills were, I think quite high though I'm saying that because my then Missus said so.

I'm looking after all that **** now as I'm paying it. I came down this morning to find the little buggers (whom are all bigger than me ) had left the lights on downstairs. The main lights are halogen things and consume 0.5Kw/hr. Only had one electricity and one gas bill which are impossible to tell anything from as we have only been in since April.

A friend of mine worked for a gas maintenance company and suggested all these meters for checking your usage were not really that accurate enough to take anything useful from.

Mine is only a three bed detached with integral garage and a low energy rated house, it being brand new. Interesting to see if it is.

I'm not going anywhere, I'm just going.
Statements above are all my own opinion and not fact.
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37kWh a day seems a lot. IIRC, a fan oven is typically 3kW, and doesn't even draw that all the time it's on.

Chargers draw a fairly puny amount. Fridges, halogen spotlights, older TVs, computers and tumble dryers are all big draws.
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Having spent a very dull weekend measuring everything electrical in sight, I can now confirm that it's pretty easy to consume a *lot* of elecrticity if you have:

1. A 13 year old plasma TV either on, or on standby, in the kids room, for 24x7x365
2. Twenty downlighters in the kitchen/breakfast room need their own powerstation as we have them on pretty much from 6am until 11pm every single day
3. The same amount of downlighters in the landing and bathrooms get left on far too often!

On the plus side. I now know that if I replace the 13 year old plasma with something akin to the 1 year old LCD that we have in the lounge, and we replace all downlighters with LEDs, and remember to switch them off when we aren't using the rooms - then we can exist very happily on 15kwh per day rather than the 37kwh we have been running up.

Fridge, Freezer, Cooker, Sky boxes, phones, non-downlighter lights and a few other bits and bobs leave us ticking along at just under 0.5kw per hour.

15kwh per day is still over 5,000 Kwh per year - but not the 13,600 kwh we burned in the last 12 months

For the last year we have been happily sitting in our house while running up 2Kw per hour during the day through these inefficient lights and TV!!

So all I have to do now is pay the 1,300 leccy bill that's now due, then cancel the DD (which BG want to hoik up to hundreds per month based on the underpayment to date) and tell my brother (who is renting my house) to keep an eye on the usage display to make sure he doesnt get hit while we are away!
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Well done. Sometimes it pays to be boring. Bet you wish you had kept a closer eye on the usage years ago.

Twenty downlighters at 50 watts for 17 hours a day gives a large chunk of the 37 kWh/day

You need to teach the family what that little switch on the wall is for.
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In the hall, why not fit one of those switches that switches off
on it's own after a few minutes. If they won't learn, that is



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Well done, Fred. I'm pleased that you've tracked down the culprits.
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Well done, Fred. I'm pleased that you've tracked down the culprits.
Do you think it qualifies as DIY? I do.
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Do you think it qualifies as DIY? I do.
Yes but competent rather than incompetent
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Yes but competent rather than incompetent
Oh the shame of it
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