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OhmConnect Energy Challenge!

Kate from OhmConnectKate from OhmConnect Posts: 1,018
edited February 28 in General Discussion

How could I have used so much energy?

We get this question all the time: how is it possible I used so much energy? Your #OhmHour results come in and you were expecting to knock your forecast out of the park, but instead you used more energy.

We’ve written before about the best tips and tricks for beating your #OhmHour forecast and shared this resource to help you find the items in your home that are the biggest culprits of guzzling energy. The New York Times has also written about this.

So here’s the challenge: audit your home’s energy usage.

Whether you’ve got a one-bedroom apartment or five-bedroom home, look around for anything that uses electricity. Go room by room. What’s plugged in the kitchen? Think. You’ve got your coffeemaker. Your fridge. Your toaster. Anything else? Is anything on a timer?

Bedroom. What’s plugged into the outlets? Lights, alarm clock, television? Again, anything on a timer? Anything with a remote?

Perhaps the most overlooked of all locations is outside. If you’ve got a pool heater, or outside lights on a timer, remember that these are using electricity!

Finally, make sure to include your cable box, modem, etc.

Now, Here’s Your Challenge
Make a list of all the items using electricity in every room. Let us know which item(s) you found that you were not expecting. Report your results below.

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Comments

  • Completely forgot about the sump pump, dvd player never use (guest room), cordless phone (MJ for faxes/printer etc)

    Don't forget to unplug:
    Air fresheners
    Nightlights
    Cell, drill, battery chargers
    Floor fans
    Sewing machines
    Hair dryers/Styling apparatuses
    Security cams (if possible)
    ...just as few 'off' items

    Always have & continue to unplug kitchen coffee maker, micro, toaster & trash compactor. All lights off during OCH...

    Finally bought a Smart Plug, going to apply it to my fridge.

    Buy extra candles & make sure to hotspot off cell if laptop low
    Yeah, probably wise to make sure cell is fully charged too !
    =)
  • This is fantastic, @Lola & Mase! Thanks so much for participating! There you have it--items that will catch you!

    So glad to hear you've purchased a smart plug; these have definitely helped me with beating my forecast.

  • @Juli Bowman - I know you've done this activity as well. Would you care to share your results publicly?

  • Steve ReedSteve Reed Posts: 63
    edited February 14

    My son did a search for "Vampire" electronics project for school a few years ago.

    One of the bigger items we found was the video games systems. We have 4 game systems and they each used a fairly large amount even when off. We plugged them all into a single power strip, and that stays off unless someone is actually playing a game.

    Newer appliances seem to be much better when "off" , but older ones used quite a bit of power when not used. Cable Boxes were really high even when the TV was off. A Tivo we had, which never really went to sleep was 40W 24/7. Newer model Tivos can sleep when not in use,and even when used only take 12-14W.

    Modern TVs are much lower power than they used to be when on, and take very little power now when "off". Some have a deeper "off" mode that uses even less power, but take a little longer to wake up.

    We also have some outside lights that are on all night (photo sensor) and landscape lighting that on about 6 hours a night. Switching those to LED saved more than 2kWh per day!

  • Hey @jasmine winch - would you be willing to do an audit of your home?

  • Leahguillen1_2Leahguillen1_2 Madera CaPosts: 12
    Whens the next energy challenge
  • KarenEKarenE Posts: 69

    On occasion Costco have sales on LED lightbulbs and several months ago when they had their last one we took advantage of it and converted every indoor light in the house to LED. We have recessed lighting in every room so this involved purchasing around 30 lightbulbs so the savings on purchase price was a big help.

    This snippet of info is taken from a website describing the cost savings of LED bulbs

  • @Leahperez12 said:
    Whens the next energy challenge

    Now! Please add what you find here!

  • @KarenE - great information! Super helpful!

  • UkiwiSUkiwiS San DiegoPosts: 119

    What's the record amount of energy that anyone has saved for an OhmHour?
    Is there a leaderboard? That would be a cool feature.

  • That Son Of A BitzThat Son Of A Bitz Union CityPosts: 712
    There's a leaderboard that shows which users have earned the most points since they joined.

    But maybe it would be more motivating to see and easily compare how much users are saving during an OH compared to other users or even for lifetime energy savings. Although, when making any comparisons, you have to be careful about how you include and compare users who are already super low energy users. They have a lot less energy to save compared to high energy users such as people who live in the valley and run their AC often, have a pool pump and/or electric vehicle.

    Instead of, or in addition to, showing how people rank based on # of kWh saved, it would definitely be beneficial to show and rank people by the % saved compared to forecast because this number is relative to the individual user, so it doesn't matter if the user is a high or low energy user - it puts everyone on the same playing field for comparison. Or maybe it can show something like "Your kWh or % savings is more than x #/% of users that participated during this OH.

    What do others think? How about you @Kate from OhmConnect
  • Sarah StrangeSarah Strange SoCalPosts: 13
    edited February 21

    @That Son Of A Bitz I think doing this as a percentage saved against the 10 day rolling average is a great idea. Might get a bit skewed though by weather patterns for solar users. Also even with your example, of the high AC users and users charging EV's, they are going to do really well with the % if they have smart EV chargers and smart thermostats hooked up, and therefore they are going to have a skewed % number relative to low usage users.

  • @Kate from OhmConnect thanks for the tag! I will take a look around my house today and post my findings back on here.
  • @2uskiwis@gmail.com said:
    What's the record amount of energy that anyone has saved for an OhmHour?
    Is there a leaderboard? That would be a cool feature.

    Oooh, I like this idea!!

  • I used my trusty Kill A Watt meter to measure how much various things around my house used. Here are my results:

    Power Consumption

    • Averatec Laptop: Hibernate 3w, Standby 5w, on 30w
    • Media Center: 1.4kWh/day. Hibernate 12w, on 290w. Vizio 42", JBL Creature speakers, Windows computer
    • Refrigerator: GE Profile TPX24BR: 180-400w. 4.5kWh/day
    • Washer (cold) 110Wh-Load Kenmore Elite HE4T. Off 1W
    • Dryer (gas) 350Wh-Load Kenmore Elite HE4. Off 1W
    • Dishwasher (economy) 1130W Bosh, 0W off, 2W standby, 1.2kWh per load
    • DSL modem and Linksys wireless router 8W, 100Wh/day
    • Air cleaner Honeywell HEPA 83331 149W-High/105W-Medium/73W-Low
    • Air Cleaner, Whirlpool AP45030H0 98W-High/73W-Medium/55W-Low

  • That Son Of A BitzThat Son Of A Bitz Union CityPosts: 712
    @Max Dunn I have the same Kill-A-Watt energy monitor. Other than your dishwasher, did you find anything else that did not use up any energy when off, but still plugged in? It seems like that's the case with my iPhone charger (plugged in, but not charging or connected to my phone), my Vitamix blender and my indoor security camera.
  • Essential oils diffuser
    Air filtration system
    Juicer
    Blender
    Kitchen Aid
    Power drill recharger
    Hair dryer
    Sonicare charger
    Lamps
    2 TVs
    Alarm Clock

    I did recently stop using the plug-in string lights I have in my bedroom, and started using a battery-powered option

  • SteeltrapSteeltrap Posts: 2

    Record amount for a single event since summer of 2016, is 138kWh. Wow! Of course it isn't really fair as we have some businesses on OhmConnect in addition to homes. Maybe a serious home workshop? Or a bitcoin miner? Or a Back to the Future flux capacitor? My personal max is 11kWh and our top usage is definitely the HVAC followed by pool pump and under the house fans when we had some flooding (they were running 24x7 trying to dry things out).

  • Leahguillen1_2Leahguillen1_2 Madera CaPosts: 12
    > @That Son Of A Bitz said:
    > There's a leaderboard that shows which users have earned the most points since they joined.
    >
    > But maybe it would be more motivating to see and easily compare how much users are saving during an OH compared to other users or even for lifetime energy savings. Although, when making any comparisons, you have to be careful about how you include and compare users who are already super low energy users. They have a lot less energy to save compared to high energy users such as people who live in the valley and run their AC often, have a pool pump and/or electric vehicle.
    >
    > Instead of, or in addition to, showing how people rank based on # of kWh saved, it would definitely be beneficial to show and rank people by the % saved compared to forecast because this number is relative to the individual user, so it doesn't matter if the user is a high or low energy user - it puts everyone on the same playing field for comparison. Or maybe it can show something like "Your kWh or % savings is more than x #/% of users that participated during this OH.
    >
    > What do others think? How about you @Kate from OhmConnect
  • Leahguillen1_2Leahguillen1_2 Madera CaPosts: 12
    But maybe it would be more motivating to see and easily compare how much users are saving during an OH compared to other users or even for lifetime energy savings.
  • sshea80sshea80 Posts: 1

    I had my daughter help me walk around the house. We had to unplug the keurig, the microwave, the oven timer, air fresheners, the tvs and all of the chargers just left in the outlets not being used!

  • snetphiliesnetphilie ConcordPosts: 26

    @Kate from OhmConnect said:
    @snetphilie this is a great accounting. I'd love for you to cross-post over in the energy challenge

    Ask and thou shalt receive... and then some! I decided to do some more digging and get to the bottom of every watt that I'm using during my ohm hours. If I'm not around to unplug anything and it's just my smart devices doing the work, this is where I'm at:

    Device___________________________________Watts_____Qty________Total
    Nest_Thermostat_Standby___________________2.4________1__________2.4
    Philips_Hue_A19_Bulb_Standby_______________0.1________3_________0.3
    Philips_Hue_LED_Strip_Standby______________0.5________1__________0.5
    Philips_Hue_Bridge_________________________1.8________1__________1.8
    TP-Link_HS100_Smart_Plug_________________1.9_________3__________7.6
    TP-Link_Onhub_Router_Minimal_Traffic________6.6_________1__________6.6
    TP-Link_8_Port_Gigabit_Ethernet_Switch_______1.2________1__________1.2
    Netgear_Cable_Modem_____________________11.6________1__________11.6
    Obihai_Obi202_VOIP_Modem________________2.0________1__________2.0
    Panasonic_Wireless_Phone_Base____________1.0_________1__________1.0
    Pioneer_VSX-82TXS_Receiver_Standby_______1.1_________1__________1.1
    Google_Chromecast_Audio_Standby__________1.6_________1__________1.6
    Google_Chromecast_1st_Gen_Standby________1.4________1__________1.4
    Power_Strip_with_lighted_switch______________1.0________1__________1.0
    Kenmore_Elite_1200W_Microwave_Standby_____3.8________1__________3.8
    Brother_MFC-J4510DW_Printer_Standby_______1.7________1__________1.7
    Kitchen_Stove_with_Clock____________________?_________?___________?
    _________________________________________________Grand_Total___45.6

    Since my Unattended OhmHours are running around 0.044 kWh this sounds pretty exact.

    During normal hours, when nobody is home, we also have a Hotpoint Refrigerator using 45.8 W, three Holmes "Single D Filter Size" Air Purifiers using a total of 39 W, and sometimes, a Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush which uses 0.6 W. That brings our normal usage to around 131 W.

    AND! Just in case anyone is interested, I checked the range of power that the Philips Hue lighting products use. When at their dimmest setting of only red light, the A19 bulbs used roughly 0.6 W and the LED strip used roughly 1.1 W, while at their brightest settings, they used 6.2 W and 6.0 W respectively.

    My next project is a homemade UPS system using a large deep cycle battery. It'll keep my smart home equipment running when the power goes out, and I'll be able to run off battery power during OhmHours and shave another 0.022 kWh's off which would also bring OhmHour usage down to 0.022 kWh. Once I get to that point... I think I've hit my limit!

  • UkiwiSUkiwiS San DiegoPosts: 119

    @snetphilie, that's impressive!

  • That Son Of A BitzThat Son Of A Bitz Union CityPosts: 712
    @snetphilie I agree. That's amazing! How did you measure your usage especially down to the 10th of a watt? A kill-a-watt kWh energy monitor perhaps or a home area network device?

    And I'm not that familiar with how your LED lights are connected. I think they are screwed in as opposed to plugged in to an outlet where you can plug in an energy kWh measuring device directly into the outlet and then plug in your lights, appliances or what have you, into the monitor. If the lights aren't plugged in, how did you measure their usage?
  • snetphiliesnetphilie ConcordPosts: 26

    @That Son Of A Bitz I use a Belkin Conserve Insight Energy-Use Monitor plus the air purifiers and refrigerator are on the TP-Link smart plugs so I can take the 30 day kWh total, divide by 720, and get the average Watts.

    The Philips Hue A19 bulbs are the standard screw in bulbs. I tested a couple of them in lamps with the Belkin Monitor. The Philips Hue LED Strip lighting runs off a plug. I had to get the standby usage from technical documents because the A19 bulbs were too low to register on the Monitor!

    Finally... my Nest runs an ancient gas heater that has a pilot and requires a thermostat with a battery so I hooked up a transformer on the power line at a voltage that charges the Nest but the heater ignores. That's plugged in so its easy to test!

  • That Son Of A BitzThat Son Of A Bitz Union CityPosts: 712
    @snetphilie Easy for you to test the energy use of your Nest
  • I unplugged night lights when I get up in the morning. When I am not home, my house was using .33 Now it uses .23. That might not seem like a lot, but .1 x 16 hours a day is quite a bit. I already had switches on TV, stereos etc. now if I can only get my husband to turn off the porch light when he leaves for work in the AM

  • That Son Of A BitzThat Son Of A Bitz Union CityPosts: 712
    Here's what I did to save during yesterday's OhmHour:

    Connected to SmartPlugs:
    Dishwasher
    Security Camera
    Keurig

    Turned off manually or unplugged:
    Treadmill
    Cable & Internet Boxes
    Power strips with TV & Peripheals
    Microwave
    Garbage Disposal
    Humidifier & Nest Camera in Kid's room
    Electric Washer & Dryers
    Refrigerator: turned up temp settings
    Powerstrip that had laptop and monitor connected to it
    Smart Sprinkler Control System (Rachio)
    2 Plug-in air fresheners
    Cell and Alexa Echo chargers

    One thing I haven't heard anyone else disconnecting: Garage Door Opener

    Things I didn't turn off / disconnect & why:
    Stove/Oven: can't reach plug
    Refrigerator: can't reach plug
    Alarm System: Plug has child proof cover screwed in - hassle to unscrew)

    And because I know my wife gets irritated when I unplug stuff and forget to plug them back in, I created a check list to make sure I didn't forget anything. Oh the hell that would break loose if the DVR didn't record her favorite shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians or Housewives
  • That Son Of A BitzThat Son Of A Bitz Union CityPosts: 712
    Neat article...the Energy Management Circuit Breaker (EMCB) maybe another means to control devices and intercept what companies are doing to control energy use at the Plug load and Thermostat levels. Who knows? It sounds like they could replace Smartmeters in the future. Very interesting article! Thanks for sharing!

    What do other people think?
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