Saturday, July 04, 2009

Delegation of Power

I've been on a green kick lately. Replacing bulbs with CFL, looking into solar power (yes, even in Seattle) and a few other things. It's not an attempt to reduce my utility costs (although that's a nice side effect) but to use less power. We use 30-60kWh of electricity per day and that's too much.

But where does it go? 30-60kWh per day means at any given instant I'm using 1250-2500 watts of electricity. ... 2500 watts. That's a crapload of power.

Being a geek I need numbers. I bought a Kill-A-Watt from Amazon for about $25. It's exactly what I need. It measures the power consumption of a single outlet. Plug it in, plug an appliance into it, let it collect data for awhile, then move it to measure something else. It'll take some time to get all the data I want but here's what I found so far:
  • A/C. We have a wall A/C unit in the bedroom we use for maybe 10 days/year. It draws an average of about 450 watts on the days we run it. That's alot but not a surprise. Since we use it so rarely I doubt this contributes much to our yearly average consumption.
  • Office PC. Our main computer is almost always on and is a pretty hefty PC but I had no idea it draws 250 watts. Even when it drops into sleep mode and kills the monitors it's still sucking 180 watts.
  • Garage fridge. I figured this would be a beast. It's a cheap full-sized fridge we bought about 4 years ago. But I guess it's pretty well insulated. 28 watt average.
  • Dehumidifier. I live in Seattle, I have metal toys, rust sucks. So a dehumidifier seemed like a good idea. I should have guessed since it functions much like an A/C but I was shocked to see it draws an average of 375 watts. And since it's on all the time so far this looks like our big offender.

I'm still checking a few other things like the other PCs in the house, the stereo, the instant-hot-water tap, the home theater. I'd really like to find some other power hog. Even turning down the dehumidifier gives me the willies.