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Author Topic: Is there a thread or area to discuss TED5000 results?
jlsoaz
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Posts: 85


« 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.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 08:34:30 PM by jlsoaz » Logged
RussellH
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Posts: 356


« Reply #1 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".
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jlsoaz
Jr. Member
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Posts: 85


« Reply #2 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.  
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 09:13:39 AM by jlsoaz » Logged
RussellH
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Posts: 356


« Reply #3 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.
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tlveik
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Posts: 74


« Reply #4 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.
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jlsoaz
Jr. Member
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Posts: 85


« Reply #5 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.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 10:38:15 PM by jlsoaz » Logged
jlsoaz
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Posts: 85


« Reply #6 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.
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RussellH
Sr. Member
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Posts: 356


« Reply #7 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.
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jlsoaz
Jr. Member
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Posts: 85


« Reply #8 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.
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birdfeedr
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Posts: 55


« Reply #9 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.
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jlsoaz
Jr. Member
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Posts: 85


« Reply #10 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?

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pfletch101
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« Reply #11 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.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 05:58:30 AM by pfletch101 » Logged

Peter R. Fletcher
TED Pro Home - main MTUs monitoring utility and PV Solar feeds; 2 Spyders monitoring selected individual circuits
RussellH
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Posts: 356


« Reply #12 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.
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jlsoaz
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Posts: 85


« Reply #13 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.



« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 03:49:42 AM by jlsoaz » Logged
pfletch101
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« Reply #14 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'?
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Peter R. Fletcher
TED Pro Home - main MTUs monitoring utility and PV Solar feeds; 2 Spyders monitoring selected individual circuits
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