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General Category => TED5000 Support => Topic started by: jlsoaz on February 07, 2015, 08:26:38 PM

Title: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 07, 2015, 08:26:38 PM
I guess I've been using a TED for what seems like 6 or 8 years, but I have kind of lost track.  Some of those years it really wasn't working properly, but recently I have got back into it by replacing my gateway.

My main use is to:
A) get a sense of individual loads, particularly if they are 240 Volt and so can't be monitored by a conventional 120 Volt plug Watt Meter.
B) focus on reducing the baseline (imperfect word) electric power load of my house.

In both cases, I haven't really run into a lot of forums where that many people would be into extended discussion of these topics, though I guess there are one or two.  Is there a place to discuss here on the TED forums.  The forums are limited (at least by name) to support.... does that mean this question has been considered and the TED folks do not want to host a TED5000 water-cooler or general user discussion area?

I'll give a bit of an example of topics that might be interesting to discuss, in case the forum owners are ok with it:

- When I first got my TED, I saw as low as below 50 watts use at my house, with a bit of fanatical turning certain things off.  Now I can't seem to get it much lower than the mid-90s, but I have some sense of why.
- Network Attached Storage energy use - I went with a brand that has an energy saving reputation.  Any others weigh the options on this?
- Alarm system - raises home energy use, in part by keeping UPS charged all day.
- Solar Inverter and associated battery system and charge controllers - appears as expected to raise home energy use by a something like 30+ watts continuous?  (I don't really know the exact number).

addendum edit - since I think paying attention to 100 or 50 or 10 or 2 watts here or there is not something that everyone is into, and they may look a bit sideways at me for being into it myself, I tend to try to call it a hobby or something.... the hobby of home energy analysis and reduction.... something like that.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on February 09, 2015, 09:57:22 PM
When I first got my TED, I saw as low as below 50 watts use at my house, with a bit of fanatical turning certain things off.  Now I can't seem to get it much lower than the mid-90s, but I have some sense of why.
Have you added a DVR?  That's a computer that's always on.


Network Attached Storage energy use - I went with a brand that has an energy saving reputation.  Any others weigh the options on this?
The thing I'd check here is if anything is keeping the NAS awake by maintaining a connection to it. 


Alarm system - raises home energy use, in part by keeping UPS charged all day.
Some UPS are more efficient than others.


Solar Inverter and associated battery system and charge controllers - appears as expected to raise home energy use by a something like 30+ watts continuous?  (I don't really know the exact number).
That puzzles me.  Why is the solar system consuming energy? Or is your MTU set to "load" so energy pumped into the grid is still seen as "consumption".
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 12, 2015, 09:10:11 AM
When I first got my TED, I saw as low as below 50 watts use at my house, with a bit of fanatical turning certain things off.  Now I can't seem to get it much lower than the mid-90s, but I have some sense of why.
Have you added a DVR?  That's a computer that's always on.
No, no DVR.

Network Attached Storage energy use - I went with a brand that has an energy saving reputation.  Any others weigh the options on this?
The thing I'd check here is if anything is keeping the NAS awake by maintaining a connection to it.  

No, it is off (some sort of sleep/hibernation) about 1/3 of the day by my settings on it.


Alarm system - raises home energy use, in part by keeping UPS charged all day.
Some UPS are more efficient than others.


Solar Inverter and associated battery system and charge controllers - appears as expected to raise home energy use by a something like 30+ watts continuous?  (I don't really know the exact number).
That puzzles me.  Why is the solar system consuming energy? Or is your MTU set to "load" so energy pumped into the grid is still seen as "consumption".

Here is the information regarding the inverter energy use:

http://www.outbackpower.com/outback-products/inverters-chargers/item/radian-series-gs8048
Idle Consumption - Invert mode, no load   30 Watts

However, on this point, I'm not sure if that's part of the explanation for the increased sort of baseline since I've had trouble finding someone to install an additional TED inductive coil behind a new panel I have that pertains to some parts of the new system.

Anyway, as I said, I have a decent idea of things that have changed, large and small:

- a couple of more cordless phones always plugged in and charging.
- solar hot water heater pump/motor (I replaced the water system with a glycol based system and heat exchanger).
- UPS on alarm system always plugged in.  I'll guess between 5 and 10 watts, but I need to revisit this for the number.
- large-ish UPS on computer system always plugged in.
- I think one other smallish UPS on main phone line always plugged in.
- on an old HVAC system I used to regularly turn off the circuit for many months at a time, since I often didn't need it, especially if I used electric space heaters.  This tended to lighten the 24x7 load by a decent amount (I can't quite remember if it was 16 Watts or 26 Watts).  When I got my new system, the installer told me that he thought the issue was (I can't remember the terminology) that the system would need to keep the coolant pressurized in some way, and if I turned it off and on a lot, this could do some damage, so I shouldn't do that.  I don't know if there's any truth to what he said about doing damage or about whether the new system has the same load issues, but I haven't yet messed much with the circuit.
- probably a couple of other things.

Aside from the alarm, I do need to look at possibly removing my UPS equipment, but I'm not certain yet if I entirely trust the big battery system that is on most of the house.  For one thing, a couple of times I have very briefly heard the UPS's click in over the last few weeks.  Is the power clipping out very briefly once in awhile?  I don't know.  
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on February 12, 2015, 10:02:24 PM
Cordless phones are probably not significant.  I'd check on what the UPS draws with no power.  I wouldn't expect it to be much.  But you might consider replacing them with newer energy efficient models.  As long as the battery is topped off and no load, I wouldn't expect them to draw more than a few watts.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: tlveik on February 13, 2015, 05:14:31 PM
A UPS can surprise you.  The one I had previously used 22 watts, fully charged with nothing attached.  The one I have now is about 3 watts.  Both were from APC, different models.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 13, 2015, 10:34:20 PM
The UPS that ADT installed years ago appears to draw about 11 or 12 Watts (I just put a watt-meter on it for a few seconds, though didn't test it over time, it is cumbersome to plug in with the meter).  It is also physically a bit non-standard - the plug/transformer runs kind of warm and has some semi-exposed wiring.  I wouldn't think of it as a UPS in a conventional sense of an APC or something like that.  It is a plug that has to remain plugged in, and it goes to a panel where there is some ADT equipment including a battery and I guess the panel can stay powered even during an outage.

It appears to be not something I can choose to replace unless I get rid of the ADT system.  They did replace the battery at one point.  I wonder if maybe they have improved their system (this is about 4-5 years old).  The wiring also makes me wonder if there is any other function to the plug.

If we TED users can gather some more information about ADT equipment, perhaps we can make a constructive suggestion to them about improving their system energy footprint around the world.

My other UPS are more or less supposed to be decent energy savers, but I'll look into them some other time.  They are not the likely sole cause of my increase.  I think it is several things, combined.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 13, 2015, 11:01:58 PM
One minor measure I took recently was to unplug a couple of clocks and replace them with light/battery-powered wall clocks that don't plug in.  I had a negative experience with an analog one, so now I am on to digital, and the first one I tried, while cheaply constructed, seems to be saving me a bit of energy and telling me the time well enough during daylight hours.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on February 14, 2015, 10:48:12 PM
The UPS that ADT installed years ago appears to draw about 11 or 12 Watts (I just put a watt-meter on it for a few seconds, though didn't test it over time, it is cumbersome to plug in with the meter).  It is also physically a bit non-standard - the plug/transformer runs kind of warm and has some semi-exposed wiring.  I wouldn't think of it as a UPS in a conventional sense of an APC or something like that.  It is a plug that has to remain plugged in, and it goes to a panel where there is some ADT equipment including a battery and I guess the panel can stay powered even during an outage.

In that case, the plug is powering the alarm plus topping off the battery.  11-12W isn't bad for a running device.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 15, 2015, 12:50:00 AM
The UPS that ADT installed years ago appears to draw about 11 or 12 Watts (I just put a watt-meter on it for a few seconds, though didn't test it over time, it is cumbersome to plug in with the meter).  It is also physically a bit non-standard - the plug/transformer runs kind of warm and has some semi-exposed wiring.  I wouldn't think of it as a UPS in a conventional sense of an APC or something like that.  It is a plug that has to remain plugged in, and it goes to a panel where there is some ADT equipment including a battery and I guess the panel can stay powered even during an outage.

In that case, the plug is powering the alarm plus topping off the battery.  11-12W isn't bad for a running device.

Possibly you are right.  I think it needs a closer look.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: birdfeedr on February 15, 2015, 04:34:09 AM
- on an old HVAC system I used to regularly turn off the circuit for many months at a time, since I often didn't need it, especially if I used electric space heaters.  This tended to lighten the 24x7 load by a decent amount (I can't quite remember if it was 16 Watts or 26 Watts).  When I got my new system, the installer told me that he thought the issue was (I can't remember the terminology) that the system would need to keep the coolant pressurized in some way, and if I turned it off and on a lot, this could do some damage, so I shouldn't do that.  I don't know if there's any truth to what he said about doing damage or about whether the new system has the same load issues, but I haven't yet messed much with the circuit.

We put in central air a couple years ago. Did testing and found 40W draw on the AC breaker when system not used. I was told it was a heater to keep the compressor warm otherwise the oil and refrigerant separate. I could turn it off in the off season, but should turn it on in advance of the cooling season start. I was told a week or so. Yes, it could cause damage. The oil is a lubricant. I was told the manufacturer recommended it to stay on year round.

288KWh for the off season. About $55.00 at our current rates.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 18, 2015, 08:57:26 AM
- on an old HVAC system I used to regularly turn off the circuit for many months at a time, since I often didn't need it, especially if I used electric space heaters.  This tended to lighten the 24x7 load by a decent amount (I can't quite remember if it was 16 Watts or 26 Watts).  When I got my new system, the installer told me that he thought the issue was (I can't remember the terminology) that the system would need to keep the coolant pressurized in some way, and if I turned it off and on a lot, this could do some damage, so I shouldn't do that.  I don't know if there's any truth to what he said about doing damage or about whether the new system has the same load issues, but I haven't yet messed much with the circuit.

We put in central air a couple years ago. Did testing and found 40W draw on the AC breaker when system not used. I was told it was a heater to keep the compressor warm otherwise the oil and refrigerant separate. I could turn it off in the off season, but should turn it on in advance of the cooling season start. I was told a week or so. Yes, it could cause damage. The oil is a lubricant. I was told the manufacturer recommended it to stay on year round.

288KWh for the off season. About $55.00 at our current rates.

yes, exactly, thank you.  I think it would be really useful if we could get even more information on this.  For examples:

- do certain systems not have this issue?  Are heat pumps different?
- Is a week of warm-up time really necessary?  I was told 24 hours. 
- If I turn it off for a few minutes just to check the system load when not running using my TED, and then turn the circuit back on, does that really do any damage?

Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: pfletch101 on February 18, 2015, 07:15:48 PM
All of my responses are based on experience, basic theory and some specific knowledge, and should not be regarded as authoritative for a given setup. YMMV. Questions like those which you are asking are generally answered for a specific system in the manufacturer's product documentation (either User level or Technician level), which can now often be found on line.


yes, exactly, thank you.  I think it would be really useful if we could get even more information on this.  For examples:

- do certain systems not have this issue?  Are heat pumps different?

Heat pumps may well be different. Regular whole house A/C compressors are designed to be inactive and powered down for the cold half of the year. Heat pumps 'expect' to be working, albeit intermittently, year round.

Quote
- Is a week of warm-up time really necessary?  I was told 24 hours.  

I can't imagine what a week of 'warming up' would do that 24 hours wouldn't. If the "keep the working fluids warm or else they separate" story is correct, I also don't see that rewarming (for any period of time) would help once separation had occurred.

Quote
- If I turn it off for a few minutes just to check the system load when not running using my TED, and then turn the circuit back on, does that really do any damage?

I think that it is highly improbable that transiently interrupting the power to an HVAC system would do any damage, since transient power outages are relatively common and the instructions for most maintenance operations in mains-powered equipment invariably start with: "Remove power from the equipment", or words to that effect. Mains powered systems have to be designed to tolerate 'unexpected' power loss without damage.

Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on February 18, 2015, 11:29:13 PM
Everything I'm reading says that the liquid refrigerant will tend to pool at the coldest part of the system.  Apparently the crankcase heater is to make sure the coldest part isn't the pump.  Typically the pump is designed to only pump gas.  If it gets liquid, it can be damaged.  Something similar to hydro locking on a piston engine.

I think the biggest issue is predicting your need for A/C a day or two ahead of time.  The weather guessers aren't always right.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 19, 2015, 03:44:15 AM
Thanks Peter and Russell for the thoughts.  My interim summary on this thread for a moment is:

- no response from TED people as to whether they want us to discuss results in ad hoc threads in the support forum, I guess that's what we'll continue to do.
- It sounds to me that there may possibly be a pretty significant energy waste going on with HVAC systems.... not only my old system, but in buildings around the world.  I'd like to learn more.  If we do learn more and it turns out that there is significant waste going on, and if newer systems could be purposely built directly to address this with energy-saving technology, then this energy-saving technology could be mandated in newer systems and start to eliminate the problem.  We could also shine a light backward on the significant amounts of energy wasted by some (what percentage is hard to say) older systems when those systems are not in use.

- still need to have a better idea of whether an ADT system (or similar) needlessly wastes some of the power it is drawing, or if it is really using it well.



Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: pfletch101 on February 19, 2015, 06:02:04 AM
Everything I'm reading says that the liquid refrigerant will tend to pool at the coldest part of the system.  Apparently the crankcase heater is to make sure the coldest part isn't the pump.  Typically the pump is designed to only pump gas.  If it gets liquid, it can be damaged.  Something similar to hydro locking on a piston engine.

That certainly sounds as if it makes sense, but I can't imagine why you would need to heat the crankcase for more than a few hours to chase away any condensed refrigerant.

Quote
I think the biggest issue is predicting your need for A/C a day or two ahead of time.  The weather guessers aren't always right.

Again, why 'a day or two'?
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: tlveik on February 19, 2015, 06:05:57 AM
I see no reason not to have discussions like this here.  It's not like this forum is overly active.

I can add one data point to the compressor heater question.  Mine doesn't have a heater.  Not a heat pump, AC only.  2 ton, Carrier.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on February 19, 2015, 07:27:21 PM
I've been watching this thread for a few days now and I guess I have a little different opinion on the whole energy savings thing.  All my energy related decisions are based strictly on cost/benefit ratios.  It appears that some are currently focusing on HVAC crankcase heaters.  Every HVAC compressor has them and they are necessary for several reasons.  They are thermostatically controlled and do not run 24/7 365.  Lets assume they use 30 watts/hr for 100 days/yr 72 kWh/yr roughly $4.32/yr.  Personally I can't see the need for a government mandate to save half of that say $2.00/yr??  Makes no sense.  I'm all for trying to save money and perhaps power but it is a personal choice.

I can't imagine spending the time to trace down a stray 30-100 watts. Then I find it is an old UPS, Computer, or TV so I am going to go out and buy a new component for $$ to replace the working old one to save me $5.00/yr?  Just doesn't make sense to me.  When that old component fails then I will try to replace it with something more efficient.  If you want to save why not go back to wood heat and eliminate the AC all together.  Unplug the luxuries and read books.  I just think we have to have some perspective here.  Everything is a choice and for me I don't need anymore government mandates.

I have a large home with many gadgets.  I use about 55 kWh/day. I am a power user and I am proud of it.  Before some of you crawl out of your skin, I am also the most energy efficient guy within 50 miles or more.  I have an energy star rated home, R50 in the attic, low E glass, 95% LED lighting, geothermal HVAC and my pride and joy 13,000 KW of solar.  I produce about 95-97% of my energy needs.  These are my choices and I don't impost them on anyone else.  I made the choices I have based upon cost/benefit.  These are different for all of us.

In summary, I think it is great that we have energy savings discussions on this board.  I might find a tip or two I might even use but what disturbs me is when the conversation goes to maybe the government mandates and force people to do this or that.  That's where I draw the line.  If there is a financial benefit to doing something then everything else will follow.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: tlveik on February 20, 2015, 07:09:13 AM
Actually, my main motivation for owning a TED isn't to find small ways to save money on electricity.  It's just interesting to me to monitor things like this.  I know a lot about electricity and already had a good idea of what things were likely to be energy wasters before I bought my TED 5000.

One of the things I like about my TED is that through PlottWatt, I'm able to monitor power usage when I'm away from home.  This allows me to verify that certain power users are operating correctly while I'm away.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on February 21, 2015, 04:09:24 AM
PlottWatt doesn't play well with 2 MTU's and Solar.  I am sending data but other than logging data it does no analysis.  I have been able to remotely access my footprints on my iPhone so I can keep a close watch on my system.  I mainly use my TED to double check on my solar production.  After much analysis and calibration I now have it tracking my bidirectional electric meter within 0.3% so I know if they are crediting my account properly.  I am due to go on to an hourly pricing program so my TED will be extremely important to make sure the charges vs credits are calculated correctly.  I have been working on some spreadsheets that will allow me to do the same calculations that the utility will do.  I am amazed how close to my meter I have been able to get my TED.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 26, 2015, 02:33:18 AM
I see no reason not to have discussions like this here.  It's not like this forum is overly active.

I can add one data point to the compressor heater question.  Mine doesn't have a heater.  Not a heat pump, AC only.  2 ton, Carrier.

Hi tlveik:

I'm not sure why there's little discussion of non-support topics here, but my thought is that it's possibly related to the fact that the forum is labeled as being for support.  If there were a dedicated area or thread, maybe that would encourage discussion of non-support things (but I don't really know).  I don't know of many places around the net in general to discuss the sorts of building efficiency topics that may pertain to those of us who use a TED device, even if built environment efficiency is in some ways a vital and central topic to global carbon pollution reduction, capital expenditure conservation and energy conservation general efforts.

One other place I know of where some built environment efficiency is somewhat discussed:

http://www.fieldlines.com/index.php?board=9.0

This is really though from a remote living angle I guess.

I haven't really looked around hard though.  Maybe somewhere in yahoo groups or google groups.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 26, 2015, 09:18:11 AM
I've been watching this thread for a few days now and I guess I have a little different opinion on the whole energy savings thing.  All my energy related decisions are based strictly on cost/benefit ratios.  It appears that some are currently focusing on HVAC crankcase heaters.  Every HVAC compressor has them and they are necessary for several reasons.  They are thermostatically controlled and do not run 24/7 365.  Lets assume they use 30 watts/hr for 100 days/yr 72 kWh/yr

Thanks for the calculation, 6 kWh per month would be about 2% of my use, give or take.  During a time when I'm not home, I'll estimate it's up to about 7% of my home's use.  I don't know if it's really accurate though.  I guess I'll keep an eye open for a few more data points on whether all units might be on this third of the time you mention.


roughly $4.32/yr.  Personally I can't see the need for a government mandate to save half of that say $2.00/yr??  

At first look around, a government mandate would appear to be a moot point, since for the moment, there don't appear to be any prominent options.

Makes no sense.  I'm all for trying to save money and perhaps power but it is a personal choice.

Reasons that government is involved in this (such as in mandating minimum SEER) include global carbon concerns, general pollution and other concerns.  If a viable technological alternative presents itself to the wasteful sounding issue, it might be just a matter of incorporating the expectation of the technology into the minimum SEER rating.


I can't imagine spending the time to trace down a stray 30-100 watts. Then I find it is an old UPS, Computer, or TV so I am going to go out and buy a new component for $$ to replace the working old one to save me $5.00/yr?  Just doesn't make sense to me.  

At this point, I think you're well past setting up your straw man to argue with.  A reason for others of us to track down a vampire load or other issue might be simply to unplug that which does not need to be plugged in, not necessarily to throw it away.


When that old component fails then I will try to replace it with something more efficient.  If you want to save why not go back to wood heat and eliminate the AC all together.  Unplug the luxuries and read books.  I just think we have to have some perspective here.  Everything is a choice and for me I don't need anymore government mandates.

I have a large home with many gadgets.  I use about 55 kWh/day. I am a power user and I am proud of it.  Before some of you crawl out of your skin, I am also the most energy efficient guy within 50 miles or more.  I have an energy star rated home, R50 in the attic, low E glass, 95% LED lighting, geothermal HVAC and my pride and joy 13,000 KW of solar.  I produce about 95-97% of my energy needs.  These are my choices and I don't impost them on anyone else.  I made the choices I have based upon cost/benefit.  These are different for all of us.

In summary, I think it is great that we have energy savings discussions on this board.  I might find a tip or two I might even use but what disturbs me is when the conversation goes to maybe the government mandates and force people to do this or that.  That's where I draw the line.  If there is a financial benefit to doing something then everything else will follow.

Going by your 55 kWh/day and 95-97% figure, I'm thinking 13,000 kW is a typo, and you have 13 kW.    

Your home and solar array sound impressive, but if you are using 55 kWh per day, then I'm going to say it's quite possible you are not using energy particularly efficiently.  I think more info would be needed to settle the matter (such as whether you use Propane, Natural Gas or neither, how many square or cubic feet of home, how many denizens, perhaps whether you are powering an EV, whether you are powering quite a bit of computer electronics that needs to be on in some way 24x7, etc.) but something on the order of 1600 kWh per month makes me think that within a 50 mile radius of where you live, there are probably (to say the least) quite a few people who are using energy more efficiently than you are.  I suppose some do count solar as an "efficiency" measure (I do not) rather than a harvesting measure, and by that standard, yes, I can see how you'd start to claim that you have high efficiency.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on February 26, 2015, 09:45:16 PM
You are correct I have a 13.2kW array.  The point I am trying to make is that it is all about personal choices, not the governments.  All of us have hobbies and if putting everything under a microscope looking for phantom loads be my guest.  Just not my cup of tea. Conversely, if I want to be a user of electricity then that is my choice.  I know how to manage loads and I just choose to use electricity.  We have a large house with 3 refrigerators, pool, computer server, etc and I agree, I use more power than most.  Could I conserve? Sure, but my choice (or hobby) is to embrace new technology and in turn add independent energy sources to make up for my energy use.  I have embraced a hands off approach at home.  I don't worry if my daughter doesn't turn off her bedroom lights or my wife leaves the TV on.  They know I appreciate it if they do but using my way, I don't have to sweat it, get upset, or be the defacto energy Nazi.  I enjoy having all the bells and whistles too and demonstrating one can be energy aware without living like a caveman.  My real goal is to be as independent as possible.  If battery technology was a viable option then I would be off the grid completely but it is not.

I chose to implement solar and GEO as a future financial hedge against the direction I see things going.  It is a retirement strategy and hopefully it is going to reap huge dividends.  When I retire you won't see me with my thermostat at 60 and wearing my fur coat to stay warm.  No sir, I'll be living at 72 year round without worrying how I'm going to pay the bill even at 0.50 kWh.

I am not even going to address the carbon issue as I suspect we could never agree on that issue.  I will say this, absolutely none of my decisions have been based upon my carbon footprint.  I just get frustrated at otherwise well intentioned people shoving their ideas of how we should live, what we should own, how much we should make etc.  I have a mommy and a daddy and I don't need another (government) to direct my life.

BTW My home is 4400 sq ft, I have propane for cooking and a set of gas logs.  GEO provides my HVAC as well as my water heating.  I have a well for water and sand filtration for our septic. there are 3 occupants at this time. My net kWH usage for a year under 2000. I use approx 200 gal gasoline in a year.  

If you want to compare carbon footprints I will be happy to oblige.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on February 26, 2015, 09:51:47 PM
Hi jfpetesn:

There's another point here that occurred to me on this debate over whether, and in what ways, it might be worth paying attention to (seemingly) small energy-wasting matters:
I can't imagine spending the time to trace down a stray 30-100 watts. Then I find it is an old UPS, Computer, or TV so I am going to go out and buy a new component for $$ to replace the working old one to save me $5.00/yr?  Just doesn't make sense to me.  

I think in the 90s, there was a study of some sort that estimated the amount of money a home's worth would go up, per dollar saved in efficiency per month.   Offhand I don't remember the number, but others here might.

As a somewhat related matter, I always thought, particularly back then, that critics of solar energy overplayed their hands by insisting that all discussions must boil down to a payback equation, and perhaps not focusing enough on building valuation changes attributable to installation of solar.

Anyway, in both the case of installing solar, and in the case of installing better efficiency measures on one's home, I think as time passes, if the portions of home valuations attributable to these measures go up (on average), then those who have spent the money (and-or-time) on these matters may stand to benefit.  If the portions of home valuations attributable to these measures do not go up on average by a lot, or remain flat or go down, then maybe it's not that valuable.  Anyway, something to think about, from the economic calculation side.

With respect to the efficiency measures you have taken on your home (LED lighting, good insulation, etc.) they do seem like very good measures.  I think home efficiency measures vary somewhat with region and type of home and perhaps other variables.  I've been glad about my own replacement of lighting (though it cost a lot) but the insulation part is tougher (my home is concrete with no attic,.... it is somewhat cold in winter, but insulating it further I think would require a somewhat non-conventional approach.  (the type of home is laid out at www.terra-dome.com).
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on February 26, 2015, 10:43:00 PM
jlsoaz:

I certainly can appreciate your points.  I installed solar last October for the reasons stated in my last post.  Honestly, it is expensive technology and I am looking at a 15-16 year payout so it is definitely a long term investment.  I made that investment without the consideration of increasing my home value.  I do think it is possible if a prospective buyer looks at energy expenditures as part of their purchase decision.  Not sure they do in todays market.  I do, but I am in the minority I think.  I look at my monies sent to utilities as dollar bills set on fire.  I have a few years left before I retire.  During retirement, I go from generating cash flow to managing expenses.  The more that I can fix my monthly expenses the better it will be for me.  In actuality, the more energy prices rise the better off I am (I signed up for hourly utility pricing so I am able to hedge another 10-15% from my solar)

Solar is very cool indeed and I love having it but as I said before it is expensive. I enjoy the fact that I am having a small energy impact and really making something out of nothing.  It is a real feel good item but again it is expensive.

As for our homes, we buy the best we can afford then we try to make them the best we can.  I was fortunate, the guy that built mine built it for himself and did a pretty good job.  I had an energy audit with blower door test and mine came out stellar.  That's not to say there are not things I wouldn't have changed if I were building one.

At the end of the day we are all in the same boat.  I like to think outside the box and I am an admitted geek for new technology.  I love home automation and tech stuff.  I too bought my first TED several years ago.  It was a TED 1000.  I used it to manage our loads during power outages on a generator.  I now have a Pro Home version and I use it to keep track of my solar and home loads and to make sure the utility is billing correctly.  Once I am sure that everything is fine with that I will probably look at reducing my total energy consumption a little.

I am waiting for my old beer fridge to quit working.  I hate to throw it out its like an old friend. My wife is a stay at home mother so it is surprising how much the plasma TV uses.

Oh well, all is good.  Keep bouncing those ideas as thinking outside the box is great.  I think we are both after the same goal just approaching it from different directions.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: DanKegel on March 02, 2015, 02:08:40 AM
May as well chime in with my story.

I added solar PV to my house, sized to cover 90% of our needs,
but we were never happy with how high our electric bills were after installing solar.
Something to do with installing huge ACs and an electric hot tub after going solar;
maybe I should have thought harder about that.

We've since moved, and I'm trying to do it right this time.
First step was to replace all the incandescents with LEDs,
and two old leaky appliances with energy star ones. Worked great,
we're now Tier 2 instead of Tier 3 on our electric bill.
But the second step is harder: adding an AC without blowing the energy
budget like we did last time.  And that meant getting an energy audit
and fixing the many problems it found.

Before I fix them, though, I want to measure them, and then fix them
one at a time.  The very first thing up for fixing is the huge leaks in
our heating ducts... and the way to measure the impact of that is
to see how long the furnaces (attic and basement) have to run in the morning.

So I dug out the ol' two-MTU TED5000 (bought but never used before),
hooked it up to the furnaces, and verified it worked.
Then I thought about the experiment I wanted to run.  To make
it easy, I set our thermostats to jump from 65 degrees to 68 degrees
at 5:30AM, and wrote a script to query the TED for per-minute power history
for the current day from 5AM to 6AM, and fetch the temperature from
the nearest NOAA weather station at some point during that hour, too.
The script's just 87 lines of very crufty perl, so it's good for a demo
or for my little analysis, but isn't anything to write home about.

As the first few days of data come in, I'll try to write a decent
script to extract how long it takes the furnaces to raise the temperature
by three degrees.  (Hmm, maybe I should stagger the
furnace runtimes so they're not helping each other.)
And once I have that working well, I plan to gather data
for a couple weeks, then start plugging leaks and seeing
if my efforts show up in the data.

Wish me luck!
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on March 02, 2015, 12:33:40 PM
jlsoaz:

I certainly can appreciate your points.  I installed solar last October for the reasons stated in my last post.  Honestly, it is expensive technology and I am looking at a 15-16 year payout so it is definitely a long term investment.  I made that investment without the consideration of increasing my home value.  I do think it is possible if a prospective buyer looks at energy expenditures as part of their purchase decision.  Not sure they do in todays market.  I do, but I am in the minority I think.  I look at my monies sent to utilities as dollar bills set on fire.  I have a few years left before I retire.  During retirement, I go from generating cash flow to managing expenses.  The more that I can fix my monthly expenses the better it will be for me.  In actuality, the more energy prices rise the better off I am (I signed up for hourly utility pricing so I am able to hedge another 10-15% from my solar)

Solar is very cool indeed and I love having it but as I said before it is expensive. I enjoy the fact that I am having a small energy impact and really making something out of nothing.  It is a real feel good item but again it is expensive.

[...]


I am not sure that improving efficiency is inexpensive, but maybe in some cases relatively so.  When I first installed my solar system, I remember the installer also recommending that I take some basic efficiency measures (installing a blanket on my furnace, replacing my fridge, etc.) and this seemed reasonable and cost-effective.

It doesn't sound to me that you were particularly set on a course of installing your solar system for the sake of quick economic payback, though there was some economic thinking involved.  In any event, I think that very few of us put money in our homes with the idea that others will inevitably fully value every feature that we would, but at the same time I think most of us do expect that if we put money into a home improvement (no matter what) that the improvement, if fairly well chosen and well-executed, will likely have some impact on improving the value of the home.

Here is one paper (just to give an idea) that gives some evidence of home value improvement corresponding to efficiency improvements:

http://www.ongrid.net/AppraisalJournalPVValue10.98.pdf

Evidence of Rational
Market Valuations for
Home Energy Efficiency
Electronically reprinted with permission from The Appraisal Journal (October 1998),
by the Appraisal Institute, Chicago, Illinois.
[...]
According to this study, residential real estate markets assign to energy-efficient
homes an incremental value that reflects the discounted value of annual
fuel savings. The capitalization rate used by homeowners was expected to be
4%10%, reflecting the range of after-tax mortgage interest rates during the
1990s and resulting in an incremental home value of $10 to around $25 for every
$1 reduction in annual fuel bills. Regression analysis of American Housing Survey
data confirms this hypothesis for national and metropolitan area samples,
attached and detached housing, and detached housing subsamples using a
specific fuel type as the main heating fuel.
[...]


That seems to have been nearly 20 years ago (although it's hard to say when the paper was written and when it was reprinted) but it gives at least an idea of things, if not up-to-date multipliers.  

They mention fuel types, but I'm not sure if this particular approach to things makes a distinction for reducing one's energy bills via efficiency measures or via residential solar.  I suppose it's possible that either way is neutral to this type of math formula approach, but I think a more modern study might want to look at that question of whether there's a difference (i.e.: if I reduce my monthly energy bills by $50 per month via a solar install, versus reducing them $50 per month via efficiency measures, does this make a difference?).

With respect to what interests and drives us, one of the things that drives me (I couldn't say if it's the top thing) is that I simply love efficiency.  Other drivers include low carbon interests, professional interests and patriotism.

With respect to Carbon, you mentioned something about not discussing it as it seemed unlikely you could convince me of anything.  From my point of view, I am not interested in debating AGCC with you or anyone here in this forum, but I will comment on how one's views of AGCC may affect our views on advocating efficiency:

In my view:

1.  If a person believes AGCC is nonsense, then I guess in at least some instances they may surmise that people who oppose them are trying (whether deliberately or inadvertently) to pull us back to a more primitive era.

2.  If a person believes that AGCC denialism is nonsense, then I guess in at least some instances they may surmise that people trying to get in the way of action on AGCC are (whether deliberately or inadvertently) trying to bring us back to a more primitive era.

3.  There is I guess some middle ground between believing that AGCC is nonsense or that AGCC denialism is nonsense.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on March 02, 2015, 11:03:45 PM
I won't say it is nonsense but I will say that I believe the scientific global temperature data has been manipulated to achieve a desired result.  I think the scientific community has sold their soles to push an agenda and sell it as fact.  I just believe that the global warming thing is just an excuse to redistribute wealth.  I'm not saying that there has not been an increase in atmospheric CO2 but I do not think it having a profound warming effect.  There is science on both sides of the issue but it appears to me that the warming enthusiasts are all in at this point and they believe their point is set in stone and they refuse to consider any alternative points of view.  In my opinion, the science is still out.  When it comes to the government pushing an agenda, usually one just has to follow the money.  The global warming issue is one way to generate tons of money through fees, tariffs, and penalties.  It takes money from developed countries and redistributes it to developing countries and drives up energy costs.  I could go on and on but i do not think the problem is as large as they lead us to believe. I don't knock those that have bought into the warming side of things but I would just suggest that those that do should really scrutinize the data, data station relocation data and the story as a whole.  Just not enough solid data for me yet as well as watching the weather suggests something different to me at this time.  Some suggest we are actually entering a historic period of global cooling and if so, the additional CO2 may come in handy to keep temps a few degrees higher in the future.

At the end of the day, people are going to use energy in a way that gives them comfort despite what anyone wants them to do.  We have all these conveniences and technological innovations and the public want and desire them.  It will be tough to put that genie back in the bottle so while the true warming enthusiasts talk a good talk, most still want and have the same technology as all of us.  They still fly, drive cars and heat their homes the same way I do.  Few have gone the direction we have and installed solar, wind etc.  Why? because all this stuff costs tons of money and all of us are stretched in the pocketbook already.  It's really simple economics and human nature.  Simple as that.  "It's a great idea for everyone else just not me." 

My beliefs are similar to yours, I believe in efficiency and not wasting resources.  I am also a patriot and very independent.  I would very much like to be totally self sufficient and I am working toward that goal.  I am truly on the fence on this and I want more data and honest discussion before I commit to either side.  Shouting down one opinion or the other does no one any good.  The real solution as always lies in the middle.

I do appreciate your side and looking for additional efficiencies.  It is a good topic for discussion for sure.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on March 03, 2015, 12:16:42 AM
DanKegel:

It is a process for sure, I would be interested in knowing your findings on your HVAC.  I have geothermal and I have tried to play around with setbacks.  My wife likes it cool at night so I was setting back at 22:00 to 65 degrees and then bringing it back up starting at about 03:00 slowly.  With my system if I bring it back up more than 4 degrees then it will kick in the strip heat.  I would start at 03:00 bring it up 2 degrees, another 2 degrees at 04:00 and then a final 2 degrees at 05:00.  That worked very well but I did notice that for several minutes my (I have a 2 speed compressor) compressor would go into the 2nd stage during the makeup.  This winter since it got very cold I switched to a single temp 24/7 no setback.  Many say that with heat pumps this is how you are supposed to run them but I am still not sure.  Now I see the compressor run a little longer but it does not go int the 2nd stage at all.

How did you setup that script?  That seems interesting.  I guess I could make a spread sheet to calculate the minute data between the two methods of running.  Probably something that I need to investigate a little more.  Our old house had 2 units with one in the attic.  I ended up installing new duct work in the attic and using duct mastic on each and every joint.  The duct work in the basement I didn't worry about as it was within the conditioned space.  Our duct work now is all within the conditioned space.  I have installed dampers so that I can zone my HVAC.  I bought a spyder and my load for my GEO is about 3kw when it is running winter or summer.  It is a 4 ton unit.

May I ask, how much solar did you install?  I have a 13.2kWh ground mount system with a Sunnyboy string inverter.  Works great!  I have done some projections off of known similar systems and I think I will be knocking on 20-22,000 kWh yearly production.  Do you have an SREC program?

jlsoaz:

I have the same questions about your solar install.  Do either of you have any tips or suggestions regarding your solar?  I did some research analysis and have just made the switch to an hourly pricing program with our utility.  This is my first month on the program but if my calculations are correct, I believe that the hourly pricing will add another 10-15% production efficiency to my solar system.  The reason is that most of the price increases throughout the day occur during the 9-5pm time period.  This is the time period that I am sending the most power back on the grid so they will compensate me for my solar production at the current hourly price.  This allows me to sell my solar production at a higher kWh rate say 0.05-0.09 kWh and then when I purchase at night I will purchase back at 0.025-0.035 kWh.  I think it is really going to add up.  If you have that option you might investigate it. Just like the stock market, sell high and buy low.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: DanKegel on March 03, 2015, 10:12:05 AM
My old house has 8kw of solar, installed five years ago.  Plain old inverter (and some shading problems).  Over last 5 months, peak was 52.2 KW; on average, it produced 36 KWH/day, or about 14 megawatthours/year.  You can read about it here: http://kegel.com/energy/solar/retrofit1.html
No SREC in California that I know of.

I wrote the script with a text editor and the commandline perl interpreter that came with the system.  It's a work in progress.

Fun fact: my two "identical" furnaces behave differently; according to TED, the one in the attic uses 750 watts when running, the one in the basement uses 630 watts.  I get about the same readings even if I swap my two MTU's.  I wonder what's going on.  I know the downstairs ducts are much leakier.
Also, the downstairs furnace cycles off for a moment halfway through each 15 minute run (TED can see it running its igniter afterwards, which spikes consumption pretty high).  The upstairs furnace also runs for about 15 minutes, but doesn't stutter in the middle.

This is like MRIs, where you see things you didn't expect, and scratch your head about what it means...



Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on March 03, 2015, 07:10:23 PM
Could it be that the blower speeds are set differently? I know when we had an attic unit it was set up for a particular number of registers and then it was different for heat and AC.  Also, those attic units really take a beating as they are operating at temp extremes especially in the summer.  It could be duct size and run so the attic unit is working a little harder to push the air around.  I also wonder why the downstairs furnace shuts down mid cycle.  I wonder if the limit switch is kicking in (getting too hot) and allowing it to cool off before resuming.  Could be a problem or a bad limit switch. 

Our solar has been installed since mid October.  My best day was in Feb and I hit 88.5kWh.  So far I prob average about 75 kWh with sun but overall I expect 55-60 kWh/day average.  If you have a single string inverter then shaded panels take down the entire string to the lowest panel.  The newer microinverters really help with production where some of the panels are shaded.  They allow each panel to produce max power. If you have one or two shaded, they let the other non shaded panels produce max power so it makes a big difference.  If you do not have shading issues then the single string inverters work great.

If you get the script working well let me know I would like to take a look at it and give it a try.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: pfletch101 on March 03, 2015, 07:13:26 PM
I have the same questions about your solar install.  Do either of you have any tips or suggestions regarding your solar?  I did some research analysis and have just made the switch to an hourly pricing program with our utility.  This is my first month on the program but if my calculations are correct, I believe that the hourly pricing will add another 10-15% production efficiency to my solar system.  The reason is that most of the price increases throughout the day occur during the 9-5pm time period.  This is the time period that I am sending the most power back on the grid so they will compensate me for my solar production at the current hourly price.  This allows me to sell my solar production at a higher kWh rate say 0.05-0.09 kWh and then when I purchase at night I will purchase back at 0.025-0.035 kWh.  I think it is really going to add up.  If you have that option you might investigate it. Just like the stock market, sell high and buy low.

I have been on hourly rate pricing (ComEd RRTP) since a year before I installed my solar panels (2010), and I did and do shift my usage as much as possible to use power when it should be cheapest. Unfortunately, the emphasis is on 'should be'. For the first couple of years, running my washing machine and dishwasher (both have integral delay settings) and the greater part of my air conditioning in the summer (on a high-end programmable thermostat) in the early hours of the morning, together with the payback for solar kilowatts produced when everyone else was using A/C, resulted in very substantial calculated savings over a flat rate. However, in the last two years or so, hourly rate prices have been all over the place, and the savings (if any!) have been much smaller.

Last winter, we saw peak hourly rates over $1.00/kWh and quite a lot of hours when the rate was over $0.30/kWh (our average rate here is around $0.05/kWh), and this winter we have seen similar, though mostly not quite so severe, spiking. What is worse (in terms of planning usage) is that these spikes have frequently occurred at times when the rates should theoretically have been well below peak values - 2 am on one occasion! For the last two summers, too, we have frequently seen days when the daytime rate was in the $0.05-0.10/kWh range, but the rate has shot up (it seems) as the sun sets, with evening rates in the teens and twenties (cents/kWh). My advice to you would be to keep a very close eye on this.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on March 03, 2015, 08:10:15 PM
I am keeping a close eye on it.  I have set up a spreadsheet and pull my hour data from TED and plug in the hourly published prices.  I went back and looked at the historic rates for the last 2 years and in our area (near St. Louis) seems the ave rates after 9-10 pm run .025-.035.  During the day, rates run about .03-.05.  During winter months looks like the spikes occur from 6-9 am and 5-7 pm.  Spring and summer the spikes seem to occur from 9am-4 pm.  I haven't seen anything over about .15kWh in the 2 year period I reviewed and that seemed to be during the summer months.  I hope this works out. Our fixed rate for power is about .055 kWh.  We are on Ameren Power Smart Pricing (Actually day ahead pricing).  They publish the next days rate at 4:30 pm daily.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: tlveik on March 04, 2015, 04:48:17 AM
Could it be that the blower speeds are set differently?
That was my thought too.  The fan speed on my furnace is adjustable, at the motor.

Tom
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on March 07, 2015, 04:52:14 PM
Hi DanKegel:

It sounds like you are doing some interesting efficiency research.  I installed an expensive multi-zone heating and cooling system last year (Mitsubishi), and in a way this may be saving me money, but in a way I'd say I'm more opting for the increased comfort (the old system simply wasn't getting it done, whether in winter or summer) and so the energy use seems to be more or less in the same ballpark as it used to be.  My regrets on that system include that I didn't buy the equipment through a local place (long story) so getting service on it will be difficult.

I can't speak though to the sort of system you're talking about, as the types of home and HVAC sound different.

Electric Hot Tub?  That's one way to use a lot of energy, but I guess if you want a hot tub, then go for it.

The LED effort sounds good.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on March 07, 2015, 05:06:05 PM
Hi jfpetesn:

I was discouraged by my utility from doing some sort of Time of use pricing program and told that it would increase my bill.  The explanation was complicated, but it involved that weekends, holidays and most winter daytime hours are considered off peak by utilities (I was told).  I don't know about other utilities outside of mine (Unisource, near Tucson).

[...]

May I ask, how much solar did you install?  I have a 13.2kWh ground mount system with a Sunnyboy string inverter.  Works great!  I have done some projections off of known similar systems and I think I will be knocking on 20-22,000 kWh yearly production.  Do you have an SREC program?

jlsoaz:

I have the same questions about your solar install.  Do either of you have any tips or suggestions regarding your solar?  I did some research analysis and have just made the switch to an hourly pricing program with our utility.  This is my first month on the program but if my calculations are correct, I believe that the hourly pricing will add another 10-15% production efficiency to my solar system.  The reason is that most of the price increases throughout the day occur during the 9-5pm time period.  This is the time period that I am sending the most power back on the grid so they will compensate me for my solar production at the current hourly price.  This allows me to sell my solar production at a higher kWh rate say 0.05-0.09 kWh and then when I purchase at night I will purchase back at 0.025-0.035 kWh.  I think it is really going to add up.  If you have that option you might investigate it. Just like the stock market, sell high and buy low.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on March 07, 2015, 11:13:13 PM
BTW My home is 4400 sq ft, I have propane for cooking and a set of gas logs.  GEO provides my HVAC as well as my water heating.  I have a well for water and sand filtration for our septic. there are 3 occupants at this time. My net kWH usage for a year under 2000. I use approx 200 gal gasoline in a year.  

In coming back to this information, it looks to me that you're being fairly efficient, at a first guess.  I don't know a lot about others' calculations and how they should be compared, and so my questions are not meant to imply that I can really tell in some professional way if someone else's residence is super-efficient.  I do enjoy efficiency conversations and some details, as well as economic discussions, but I don't have a lot of knowledge of exactly how others' setups look or don't look.  

IMO, I think the net kWh usage figure is a bit of a distraction since (IMO) efficiency is not about net kWh usage, but how efficiently you use all electricity.    I'm guessing you're using something on the order of 60-65 kWh per day of electricity (please correct me if I am wrong, I'm working on the fly and not sure if I'm grabbing the right numbers from this page to guesstimate.... I'm thinking average about 55-60 kWh of solar harvested per day, plus a bit more drawn from the grid to provide for any shortfalls, per what I think you've said)

I suppose more information would be needed (location and climate, etc.), but this amount of electricity use, plus the number of BTU from Propane, for a 4,400 square foot house with 3 occupants, then I guess it seems not bad to me.  

I like your inclusion of the gasoline data, as I think there are tie-ins between where we choose to locate and in some ways attributing our transportation energy use to that decision.  My own figures would be roughly (not as accurate as yours, I haven't really kept track of things, and still haven't found a capable electrician to install the TED on a new separate panel I have for my car charging)

1600 square feet of living space
About 3500 feet elevation, high desert, - reaches about 110 F or above in Summer and can get below freezing in Winter.
1/2 acre of land w/septic
City water
1 occupant
No propane or natural gas (except for transport, see below).
Electricity use?  I'm not certain.  I have a decent idea of how much solar I harvest per month and how it varies, but billed monthly electricity use is very much all over the place, depending basically on the season and whether I have been away.  I'll estimate subject to revision that on average my total electricity use is perhaps around 24 kWh per day including my EV.

Transportation: I have two cars, neither of which sees "that" much driving.  The EV I drive about 5,000 miles per year, requiring (very approximately) about 1666 kWh per year of which maybe about 70% is drawn at my house.  So, a little more than 3.19 kWh per day drawn on average from my house.   Let's call it 4 kWh.

My other car I run mostly on gasoline, but also a tiny bit on nat gas (long story, and moot because my tank is just about expired).  Not quite sure of number of gallons, but I guess maybe 5,000 miles per year at (guess, subject to revision) 23 miles per gallon, so maybe somewhere around 217 gallons per year.

As I said, I'm not super-knowledgeable about others' energy use.  Once in awhile I have been able to chat with a person in this area, to get an idea of things.  One of my neighbors once told me that he spends $200 in a cold month on Propane to help keep his house warm.  Also, I had a blower test - the guy said that for the volume and size, it was probably the tightest place he'd ever tested, and if I had natural gas or propane he would be really concerned.  I did take more ventilation measures after that. Also, I chatted with the utility rep who monitors solar installs around the state and he said I compared very favorably in terms of my energy use, from what he could see.

My 24 kWh per day average is a somewhat wild guess.  There are very wide seasonal variations.  At the peak of winter or summer I can use as much as 50 kWh in a day or even more I guess.  In the Spring or Fall I can get down to as low as 5 or 10 kWh total use in a day.  Some of this is attributable to my solar hot water heater which allows me to avoid using any electricity to heat any water except on certain overcast days or during parts of the winter.  At those times, there is a 220V switch I turn back on, at the panel, to start using that energy for water heating.  If I had more than one person here, that particular energy use would be a lot higher, maybe even when the sun is shining brightly.  This solar hot water heater aspect then I suppose is sort of cheating because I've said that I don't regard PV as an efficiency measure, so then why do I get to incorporate solar hot water into my numbers?  Is this really an efficiency measure?  However, I'm not sure how I'd account for what is admittedly a significant factor here.

For an example of a true efficiency measure, - I have a hot water recirculator in my bathroom that allows me to avoid running the water before I take a shower - this is an efficiency measure that saves a little water and maybe a little energy. 

During times when I am away, my electricity use seems to bottom out at around 2.5 to 3 kWh per day.  I'm not happy with this but I think there's not too much I can do, particularly now that my new inverter seems to be adding a continuous use of around 30+ watts.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on March 08, 2015, 07:36:31 PM
Jlsoaz:

Your assumptions are pretty close.  I according to my projections I am going to produce about 22,000 kWh/yr or about 60kWh/day.  Certainly depends on the weather.  Yesterday I hit 92 kWh my biggest day yet.  Ended up with about 25kWh surplus that was nice.  This Sunnyboy inverter is really nice and efficient.

The previous owner of our house used propane exclusively for heating, cooking, and heating water. The past propane usage was in the neighborhood of 1200 gal year.  Propane is pretty volatile in terms of price but roughly $2000/yr.  I am down to about 250gal/year since we went to geothermal HVAC.  I suspect our weather patterns are similar, we live near St. Louis MO.  We have pretty hot and humid summers with periods of very cold in the winter.  Last year we had 5352 heating degree days and 1094 cooling degree days.  My average yearly temp was 54.83 degrees.  From your previous post I am guessing that you have installed mini splits for your HVAC? I looked at the Daikin units with inverter technology and variable speed compressors.  That is a very cool idea.  I ultimately choose to install GEO because it would fit in with my existing ductwork and the rebates of course.  I know the Daikin could heat down to about 0 degrees F. 

When I had my blower door test my guy told me the same thing.  Do not seal the house any tighter or I would need to install an air to air exchanger to keep our air quality good inside.  Told me that the construction of our house was very good.  It was nice to hear that.  Our daughter has recently moved back home for a little while so our electric usage has jumped some.  It is amazing what the addition of one more person does to our monthly usage.  I bet it has added another 15-20 kWh/day.  One other thing, my wife does not work so we really have no downtime in the house except for nights and vacations.  I have tried temp setbacks for the HVAC and I don't think it helps costs about the same as leaving the temp constant.

My major wasters of electricity, are the televisions (TV on about 18 hours/day), the freezer(old but still works), and the 2 spare refrigerators (one old beer fridg and one for spare food). 

I test drove a chevy volt a month or so ago.  Came very close to buying one but my car still has several years left on it and I am fortunate that I only drive 3 miles to work so I only put 15-20 miles per week on it.  Saves me a tremendous amount on gasoline.  There was a time I was driving 150 mile per day.  I could definitely get by with an EV but until I really need to replace mine it doesn't make sense to spend that money.  I thought about buying a scooter but my wife thinks that's too dangerous.  I also thought about using my bicycle and may start using that during spring/fall.  Not sure that they want me coming to work all sweaty.

How has your hot water recirculator worked out?   I have considered installing one as i have one hot water heater and I waste some water waiting for hot water in the kitchen and bathroom.  I figured it was a trade off, increased energy usage (circulating hot water) or increased water usage.  For me, water is free so I haven't installed one yet.  My hot water lines are not insulated but they are within the conditioned space of the house.  It would be nice to have almost instant hot water though.

My utility suggested that I take a look at their hourly pricing program.  Seemed a little sketchy at first but with the use of my TED figures I was able to pull past hourly data and then run some price comparisons.  For now, it looks like I am going to gain about 10% additional solar advantage (price of sold Solar Power vs price of purchased power).  I will keep a close watch on this but 10% is 10%. 

If you have any other ideas please don't hesitate to mention them.  Keep up the good work
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on March 09, 2015, 09:29:04 PM
I figured it was a trade off, increased energy usage (circulating hot water) or increased water usage.

There will be energy usage for running the pump, plus the heat loss keeping the pipes hot.  You'll save water, but no way you'd save energy.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on March 10, 2015, 07:23:16 AM
[...]
How has your hot water recirculator worked out?   I have considered installing one as i have one hot water heater and I waste some water waiting for hot water in the kitchen and bathroom.  I figured it was a trade off, increased energy usage (circulating hot water) or increased water usage.  For me, water is free so I haven't installed one yet.  My hot water lines are not insulated but they are within the conditioned space of the house.  It would be nice to have almost instant hot water though.
[...]

It has worked out "ok".  Unfortunately, I don't remember the price (I think I wrapped it into some other work I was having done), but I think it was pricey enough so that I'm not going out of my way to recommend this super-highly.... there are other measures I've taken which I think perhaps have a somewhat better bang-for-the-buck number.  

For awhile I didn't bother using it that much.  Keep in mind that my house is kind of an unconventional house that is very about energy savings.  So, when I add features like this, even if some of them are more effective than others, in the end, all the features adhere to making the house kind of a unique and interesting place.  Another example I guess (though not as hard-wired in) is that I have a very good energy-saving refrigerator.

Anyway, your take on water is different than mine I guess because of your well.  Also, the fact that I invested in a solar hot water heater affects my thinking - I guess the challenge I break it down to, as a one-person household, is that I like to see roughly how much energy I can get out of my solar hot water system without having to turn on the electricity to heat up the water.  

So, the recirculator may only help a tiny bit, once per day, but I like it.  I try to keep it on a surge protector that I flip to off so it is not drawing a vampire load all day.  Sometimes I just get lazy and say screw it and don't bother with it, and just run the shower until the water gets hot.  

I didn't quite understand RusselH's points about keeping the pipes hot or something.  The water recirculator means that the only place that has to stay heated up is at the hot water tank itself... if the pipes are cold in the house, the recirculator overcomes that by not giving up until it has drawn the hotter water all the way over to the bathroom.  Maybe there is some point that Russel was making that I'm not getting.


My utility suggested that I take a look at their hourly pricing program.  Seemed a little sketchy at first but with the use of my TED figures I was able to pull past hourly data and then run some price comparisons.  For now, it looks like I am going to gain about 10% additional solar advantage (price of sold Solar Power vs price of purchased power).  I will keep a close watch on this but 10% is 10%.  

If you have any other ideas please don't hesitate to mention them.  Keep up the good work

I guess a question or two from me - does your utility credit you at a retail level, or some other price, for the energy that you send back to them?  Does the credit roll over to future months?  Does it get cancelled out once per year or so?  With the very large amount of energy you are harvesting, I guess if you reduced your energy use, you could start to think about making some token profit on your energy, but the amounts probably wouldn't be anything to write home about, and I don't know you're utility's policies.  In my case, I can't really go there.  Even once or twice per year when I do zero out, I pay about $10 for my bill due to the basic fees and such.

I can see your point about not getting a Chevy Volt yet.  I think many of us learned a long time ago that if you have reliable transportation and it's not broken or requiring a lot of maintenance or monthly payments (if you own it) then there is a point to be made about not messing that situation up.  With that being said, I think there is for some of us a clear synergy as to, in effect, "brewing our own" transportation fuel ... i.e.: filling our cars with solar power that is partially or entirely accounted for by our solar energy harvesting at our homes.  I wonder if the Volt is kind of cramped in the back seat.  When I trade in my leased Leaf, I plan to look at buying a used Volt for $10k or less, and also trade in my other gasoline burner, but a reservation I have a bit is that the Volt may not accomodate full-sized adults in the back in real comfort, I don't know for sure.

PS:

going back to the refrigerator discussion, I would be curious if you put a watt-meter on one or two of your refrigerators, if any of them are using more than 1 or 2 kWh per day, and if so, if they might not be good candidates for replacing with units that use maybe half as much.  Yes, I do understand that on a pure economic basis, the numbers might not work wonderfully, perhaps a bit similar to when LEDs were new and expensive and so arguably a bit hard to justify as against incandescents.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on March 10, 2015, 09:32:29 PM
I test drove a chevy volt a month or so ago.  Came very close to buying one but my car still has several years left on it and I am fortunate that I only drive 3 miles to work so I only put 15-20 miles per week on it.  Saves me a tremendous amount on gasoline.  There was a time I was driving 150 mile per day.  I could definitely get by with an EV but until I really need to replace mine it doesn't make sense to spend that money.  I thought about buying a scooter but my wife thinks that's too dangerous.  I also thought about using my bicycle and may start using that during spring/fall.  Not sure that they want me coming to work all sweaty.

What about a GEM Car (http://www.polaris.com/en-us/gem-electric-car)?
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on March 10, 2015, 09:37:09 PM
I didn't quite understand RusselH's points about keeping the pipes hot or something.  The water recirculator means that the only place that has to stay heated up is at the hot water tank itself... if the pipes are cold in the house, the recirculator overcomes that by not giving up until it has drawn the hotter water all the way over to the bathroom.  Maybe there is some point that Russel was making that I'm not getting.

If you're running the pump just before you plan to use the water, that's different.  They systems I know about run all the time.  Yes, it works by drawing the hot water though the pipes - where they lose heat that at some point has to be made up by the water heater.  If you keep the pipes hot, then they keep losing heat.

Bottom line, I can't see ANY energy saving from the system.  Water savings, yes.  Convenience, yes.  But energy savings?  No.  None whatsoever.  The pump pushes it into "energy usage" territory.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on March 11, 2015, 11:39:24 PM
I didn't quite understand RusselH's points about keeping the pipes hot or something.  The water recirculator means that the only place that has to stay heated up is at the hot water tank itself... if the pipes are cold in the house, the recirculator overcomes that by not giving up until it has drawn the hotter water all the way over to the bathroom.  Maybe there is some point that Russel was making that I'm not getting.

If you're running the pump just before you plan to use the water, that's different.  They systems I know about run all the time.  Yes, it works by drawing the hot water though the pipes - where they lose heat that at some point has to be made up by the water heater.  If you keep the pipes hot, then they keep losing heat.

Bottom line, I can't see ANY energy saving from the system.  Water savings, yes.  Convenience, yes.  But energy savings?  No.  None whatsoever.  The pump pushes it into "energy usage" territory.

It does not sound like we are discussing the same thing.  The sort of system I am talking about is intended only to run once in awhile.  In my system, there is a button I push when I am about to take a shower, and the pump runs for maybe 20-30 seconds and brings hot water out of the water heater and to the bathroom, and so instead of having to just waste water watching it run down the drain while the temperature heats up, I can start taking the shower almost as soon as I turn the valve on and the water starts flowing into the shower (in reality, I have to wait a few more seconds, as it is warm but not yet hot). 

Otherwise, the pump is not running for the rest of the day.  Why would it?  It's plugged in, and I try to turn off the circuit with a surge protector just to get rid of the vampire load, but other than that, no energy use.

I guess you could say it saves only water (which around where I live is of some use), not energy, but I'm not sure.  

It might be kind of interesting if, once the shower was turned off, it could then run in reverse and take the hot water that is still in the pipes and circulate that water back to the hot water heater/tank and replace it in the pipes with cool water.  That would save some energy I think.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: DanKegel on March 12, 2015, 05:14:34 AM
After monitoring my TED results for a couple weeks, and seeing mostly "furnace off", e.g.

<MINUTE><MTU>0</MTU><DATE>03/10/2015 04:33:00</DATE><POWER>5</POWER><COST>1</COST><VOLTAGE>584</VOLTAGE></MINUTE>

and "furnace on", e.g.

<MINUTE><MTU>0</MTU><DATE>03/04/2015 05:18:00</DATE><POWER>766</POWER><COST>0</COST><VOLTAGE>567</VOLTAGE></MINUTE>

I saw two days with ten minutes of "furnace absolutely melting down", e.g.

<MINUTE><MTU>0</MTU><DATE>03/08/2015 19:30:00</DATE><POWER>50338</POWER><COST>1007</COST><VOLTAGE>571</VOLTAGE></MINUTE>

I mean, holy crap.  That's eight times the normal power usage.  Has anybody ever seen something like this?

This is a gas heater, mind, so it's just the igniter and blower it's powering.

I'm attaching the script I use to collect data.  It's written in Perl, and I'm running this on Ubuntu.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: tlveik on March 12, 2015, 05:46:15 AM
I mean, holy crap.  That's eight times the normal power usage.  Has anybody ever seen something like this?
Assuming this MTU is only connected to your furnace circuit, I'd say that the 50kw is just an error.  Otherwise, something else rather large is also running.  The voltage number is odd.  It's indicating 56 to 58 volts.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: DanKegel on March 12, 2015, 07:07:12 AM
Hrmph.  I followed http://www.theenergydetective.com/downloads/QuickStartInstallation%20v110711.pdf
when installing... although I installed at the furnace, rather than in the panel,
so it was somewhat improvised. 

The voltage reported is about half what it should be - on both MTUs.  Hrm.
http://www.theenergydetectiveforums.com/index.php?topic=871.0 says
that'll happen if you have 120v power but haven't told TED about that.
But I just checked, and in the web interface, it's set like this:

Display voltage as?
       120v
MTU connection type?
       120V (BK, WH) MTU 1
       120V (BK, WH) MTU 2

So I'm not sure what's wrong.  Maybe it's my ancient firmware...
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: DanKegel on March 12, 2015, 07:13:59 AM
Aha!  I'm not the only one!  Somebody else reported strange results like mine
(the power spike, not the voltage).  See
http://www.theenergydetectiveforums.com/index.php/topic,2704.0.html
and
http://www.theenergydetectiveforums.com/index.php/topic,2794.0.html

Evidently you just have to ignore those crazy readings.  Sigh...

Also, the voltage displays properly in Footprints.
Maybe the XML data is uncorrected, and the user has to double it herself?
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jfpetesn on March 12, 2015, 05:11:24 PM
Quote
I guess a question or two from me - does your utility credit you at a retail level, or some other price, for the energy that you send back to them?  Does the credit roll over to future months?  Does it get cancelled out once per year or so?  With the very large amount of energy you are harvesting, I guess if you reduced your energy use, you could start to think about making some token profit on your energy, but the amounts probably wouldn't be anything to write home about, and I don't know you're utility's policies.  In my case, I can't really go there.  Even once or twice per year when I do zero out, I pay about $10 for my bill due to the basic fees and such.

Yes I get credited hour by hour for my production same as I get charged hour by hour for usage.  Under my utilities standard net metering agreement everything is added/subtracted in kWh.  I am allowed to roll forward any monthly credits for 1 calendar year which starts April 1st.  Any kWh credits zero out March 31 of each year.  The Power Smart Pricing agreement is similar except that instead of kWh credits everything is converted to dollars/cents each hour.  Then any credits/balances are added and subtracted in dollars instead of kWh credit/balances.  I think it is going to be a net 10-15% net positive for my solar production as my solar production will be purchased at a relatively higher dollar rate especially in the late spring, summer, and early fall where there tends to be peaks between 12-5 pm (See attachment).  My utility charges an extra $2.00/mo for this program.  One thing that irkes me is our kWh rate is very reasonable .03-.035 kWh but all the fees for distribution, meter charge, tax, etc add up to more than my electric charge.

Quote
I can see your point about not getting a Chevy Volt yet.  I think many of us learned a long time ago that if you have reliable transportation and it's not broken or requiring a lot of maintenance or monthly payments (if you own it) then there is a point to be made about not messing that situation up.  With that being said, I think there is for some of us a clear synergy as to, in effect, "brewing our own" transportation fuel ... i.e.: filling our cars with solar power that is partially or entirely accounted for by our solar energy harvesting at our homes.  I wonder if the Volt is kind of cramped in the back seat.  When I trade in my leased Leaf, I plan to look at buying a used Volt for $10k or less, and also trade in my other gasoline burner, but a reservation I have a bit is that the Volt may not accommodate
 full-sized adults in the back in real comfort, I don't know for sure.

I thought the volt was a nice car.  I looked at a 2014 it was tight in the back seat but not super small.  It had a console between both the front and back seats.  The primary reason I didn't buy one was I have a paid for car and I really like it.  I felt the Volt was a little cheap looking inside they really forgot the small things (power seats, steering wheel, etc) for the money they are asking.  I also don't really like the hatchback look either.  They are changing though so maybe in a year or two.

Quote
I didn't quite understand RusselH's points about keeping the pipes hot or something.  The water recirculator means that the only place that has to stay heated up is at the hot water tank itself... if the pipes are cold in the house, the recirculator overcomes that by not giving up until it has drawn the hotter water all the way over to the bathroom.  Maybe there is some point that Russel was making that I'm not getting.

I think his point is that most hot water recirculate systems run 24/7 or are on a timer so you will use more energy by flowing hot water 24/7.  The system you apparently have, you just press a button and wait a few seconds to have hot water.  That is the way to do it.  I looked at a system like that but you either had to run wires for the button to each location or they offered a wireless button but it was very expensive.  The 24/7 system is fairly reasonable but it uses more energy.

As for the refrigerator, you are correct that I would probably be better getting a newer more efficient one.  I know it sounds crazy, but I have a little sentimental attachment to this one so I am going to give it another year.


Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on March 12, 2015, 09:49:39 PM
But I just checked, and in the web interface, it's set like this:

Display voltage as?
       120v
MTU connection type?
       120V (BK, WH) MTU 1
       120V (BK, WH) MTU 2

So the red wire is just capped off on both, right?

Assuming you've connected it to the right place, you should be seeing 120V.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on March 23, 2015, 03:41:25 AM
[...]
Quote
[from jlsoaz]I didn't quite understand RusselH's points about keeping the pipes hot or something.  The water recirculator means that the only place that has to stay heated up is at the hot water tank itself... if the pipes are cold in the house, the recirculator overcomes that by not giving up until it has drawn the hotter water all the way over to the bathroom.  Maybe there is some point that Russel was making that I'm not getting.

I think his point is that most hot water recirculate systems run 24/7 or are on a timer so you will use more energy by flowing hot water 24/7.  The system you apparently have, you just press a button and wait a few seconds to have hot water.  That is the way to do it.  I looked at a system like that but you either had to run wires for the button to each location or they offered a wireless button but it was very expensive.  The 24/7 system is fairly reasonable but it uses more energy.
[...]

I was not previously aware of the type of system that you and RusselH have referenced.  Even though it sounds like it is a common system, the entire reason for my getting a system of the type that I got was to save water and maybe a little bit of energy (I inquired of my solar installer and they were happy to confirm that such a system existed and they had experience selling and installing them).  Although in theory that bit of water that it saves is not heated (it is just the water you'd run for 10-30 seconds in the shower until it gets hot enough to get in) I think maybe (I'm not sure) there is energy saved because during that initial time of running the shower and waiting for the water coming out to warm up, most or all of the water that is being drawn is coming from the hot water heater.  So, for the sake of an example, if my normal shower is 10 minutes and 30 seconds of water drawn mostly on the hot water heater, and this device shortens it to 10 minutes of water drawn, then that is almost 30 seconds' worth of heated water that is now conserved.  There is a tiny bit of energy lost by running the motor for those 30 seconds and in a vampire load of another plugged in device throughout the day (which can be reduced by putting it on a protector which is turned off when not in use, though this adds to the inconvenience).  I reckon a way to save additional energy might be to add a feature to the device allowing the water to cycle backward into the hot water heater, after the shower is over, and replacing that water in the pipes with cold water.  I'm not sure if that's possible, but it would reduce the amount of heat that is wasted in the pipes waiting for the next shower.

All this may seem like a small amount of energy, but for some of us it's of interest.  For want of better words, in my case, I'd say it's sort of a "serious hobby" and as well of professional interest.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on March 23, 2015, 09:55:09 PM
So, for the sake of an example, if my normal shower is 10 minutes and 30 seconds of water drawn mostly on the hot water heater, and this device shortens it to 10 minutes of water drawn, then that is almost 30 seconds' worth of heated water that is now conserved.
But you've drawn a total of 10:30 worth of water from the heater.  10 for the shower and :30 via the pump to get heated water into the pipes.  It doesn't matter what causes the water to exit the tank, 10:30 worth of cold water has been drawn into the tank that must now be heated.

Have you conserved water?  Yes.  Energy?  Probably not.  The only way you'd save is if you get lukewarm water returning to the tank so that the heater doesn't have to do as much work to bring it back up to the temperature.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: jlsoaz on March 25, 2015, 10:15:07 AM
So, for the sake of an example, if my normal shower is 10 minutes and 30 seconds of water drawn mostly on the hot water heater, and this device shortens it to 10 minutes of water drawn, then that is almost 30 seconds' worth of heated water that is now conserved.
But you've drawn a total of 10:30 worth of water from the heater.  10 for the shower and :30 via the pump to get heated water into the pipes.  It doesn't matter what causes the water to exit the tank, 10:30 worth of cold water has been drawn into the tank that must now be heated.

Have you conserved water?  Yes.  Energy?  Probably not. 

Agreed.  I live in the high desert so maybe when I installed this gizmo I had water conservation in mind.  I've always said, if I were building a house from scratch around here, the first thing I'd try to do, even before solar, is some sort of water harvesting/conservation.

The only way you'd save is if you get lukewarm water returning to the tank so that the heater doesn't have to do as much work to bring it back up to the temperature.
If it is possible to do this, I would be interested to see how much energy it would save, even if others regarded it as not much.
Title: Re: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
Post by: RussellH on March 25, 2015, 10:07:37 PM
The only way you'd save is if you get lukewarm water returning to the tank so that the heater doesn't have to do as much work to bring it back up to the temperature.
If it is possible to do this, I would be interested to see how much energy it would save, even if others regarded it as not much.

How is the water returned?  If it's sent back to the tank, then at some point as things warm up, the returning water may be warmer than the cold water coming into the tank.  However, it may not get warm until the water at the faucet is already hot, so the pump has done it's job.  And it's assuming that the water in the pipes is warmer than the cold water.