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electricity usage - worst offenders?

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  • May 20th, 2021 5:23 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Nov 22, 2018
174 posts
77 upvotes
Mississauga - ON

electricity usage - worst offenders?

I am monitoring my electricity usage and I am a bit confused by the meter readings

for the last few years the house has been occupied by a family of 5.
heating/aircon on all the time, dishwasher running a couple of times a day, every day
washing machine and dryer running every other day
lights left on etc etc
TV on with consoles and computers etc

No I am occupying the place on my own. I am only here a half the time, and I have actually turned off the HVAC system. I have the dishwasher going every 2 days and laundry machines once a week

I havent seen any noticeable drop in electricity usage - I wonder whats going on

I'm looking at the alectra usage pages for my account and I am really confused why my usage hasnt dropped

any thoughts? What would be the biggest offenders when it comes to residential electricity use? I would have thought the hvac (furnace or air con) would have been the biggest hitter
13 replies
Deal Addict
May 16, 2017
1837 posts
2333 upvotes
Should have dropped substantially. If I look at our usage charts on-line I can see exactly when the laundry was done because the dryer is the single biggest electrical consumer (that's after we removed our hot-tub a couple of years ago). AC will also be a big user.

Check that the meter readings actually match your meter.
Newbie
Oct 28, 2019
85 posts
98 upvotes
IIRC your two biggest offenders are your Hot Water Tank, HVAC, and Appliances.

Using a computer, TV, lights is barely anything in the grand scheme of things (which is why it infuriates me when someone says "YOU LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON ALL THE TIME ITS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT" - like chill, Karen, lighting and electronics are under 15% of your total energy use).

Your Dryer is the biggest offender of all appliances, but your Heating and AC are about half your total use, usually.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
6092 posts
2961 upvotes
Toronto
EndeavourX wrote: No I am occupying the place on my own. I am only here a half the time, and I have actually turned off the HVAC system. I have the dishwasher going every 2 days and laundry machines once a week

I havent seen any noticeable drop in electricity usage - I wonder whats going on

I'm looking at the alectra usage pages for my account and I am really confused why my usage hasnt dropped
How long have you been there for? Could it be that your provider hasn't actually measured actual usage but is still going off estimates (which would be based on the previous high usage)?
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
6814 posts
3104 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
You could try turning off the switches on the circuit panel for outlets/circuits you know you're not using. it's remote but someone could be tapping into your power.

Go look at the meter and if it's one of the mechanical ones, see how fast the wheel is spinning.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
4915 posts
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Does anyone know how much an HRV typically uses?
Let's hug it out
Deal Fanatic
Nov 21, 2013
6090 posts
4391 upvotes
What I also seen is mixed meters. Let's say Meter A, in the utility system is installed at house A. And meter B is installed at house B. when they change the meters ( they sometime take a sample from a meter lot, and they test those samples to make sure this meter lot is always have the good readings, this is an Industry Canada rule, just like for tanks at the gas stations) And thereafter they installed meter A at the B house, and vice versa... so basically house A owner pays for house B readings. Look at your electricity invoice, and look if the meter serial number matches your actual meter installed. You could also turn off your main breaker, and have a lolok at the meter if it is still reading something, or if there is no Kw/h

If you been 5 in this house,m and now actually only 1 short answer to your question: Yes, usage should have dropped.
Deal Addict
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Oct 9, 2010
2880 posts
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Windsor
What was your usage, and what is it now? If you were at 15kwh/day and now you're at 12kwh/day, that's probably normal. If you were at 40kwh/day and now you're at 35kwh, that's odd.

Heavy hitters are anything that makes heat/cold as it's job using electricity (hot water tank [HWT], baseboard heaters, dryer, oven/range, ice-melters, fridge, freezer, etc); anything that can be considered something that "computes" (computers, consoles, a DVR); or TVs.

Things that constantly use power are generally way worse than something on once in a while. For example, my pretty efficient PC (for what it is) uses more power than my oven/range does, averaged out monthly.

If your usage is curiously high, I'd also consider looking for a breaker that doesn't make sense. So, big breaker for oven, dryer maybe, A/C, HWT maybe, shed maybe, pool maybe, EV charger maybe ... but then if you find another one, you might have a space heater hiding somewhere. A Kill-A-Watt is also a good option; will likely pay for itself pretty quick, and you might even be able to rent one from the library.
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
6844 posts
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Mississauga
Electric dryers, dishwashers, electric stoves, fridges and air conditioning are typically the biggest users. If you also have heated floors or other resistive heating in the house that's still on, that will be draw as well.
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Sep 27, 2006
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Not so easy there Ma…
EndeavourX wrote: I am monitoring my electricity usage and I am a bit confused by the meter readings

for the last few years the house has been occupied by a family of 5.
heating/aircon on all the time, dishwasher running a couple of times a day, every day
washing machine and dryer running every other day
lights left on etc etc
TV on with consoles and computers etc

No I am occupying the place on my own. I am only here a half the time, and I have actually turned off the HVAC system. I have the dishwasher going every 2 days and laundry machines once a week

I havent seen any noticeable drop in electricity usage - I wonder whats going on

I'm looking at the alectra usage pages for my account and I am really confused why my usage hasnt dropped

any thoughts? What would be the biggest offenders when it comes to residential electricity use? I would have thought the hvac (furnace or air con) would have been the biggest hitter
Post a typical months usage or your typical daily average kWh.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Nov 22, 2018
174 posts
77 upvotes
Mississauga - ON
I called alectra, they couldnt tell me anything until my first billing cycle next month. So I can assume that the daily usage meter charts are fiction until they actually do meter readings.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 9, 2010
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Windsor
EndeavourX wrote: I called alectra, they couldnt tell me anything until my first billing cycle next month. So I can assume that the daily usage meter charts are fiction until they actually do meter readings.
First billing cycle? You insenuated you were a member of that 5 person group as you were aware of their behaviour.

If you are basing your fewer-than-30 day usage on historical usage over 5 years, you will almost definitely get anomalies, especially if you're comparing month-to-month (weather can vary hugely YoY, especially right now).
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 14, 2010
1460 posts
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Barrie ON
EndeavourX wrote: I havent seen any noticeable drop in electricity usage - I wonder whats going on

I'm looking at the alectra usage pages for my account and I am really confused why my usage hasnt dropped
I assume that you are looking at the graphs created from the Smart Meter data. For an example I have included mine below. I just turned on the AC yesterday (the 19th) and you can see the immediate increase in consumption.

As a rule of thumb, devices that create heat or cooling are the biggest consumers of hydro. In fact appliances like toasters, kettles, ovens. and dryers usually run close to the limit of the circuit breaker. Central AC also uses large amounts of hydro.

Now having said that heating appliances consume large amounts of hydro when running, you have to factor in the time that they operate each day. For example leaving a 1500 watt kettle boiling all day would consume 36 KWH, but if you only make a cup of coffee each morning ( 10 minutes of boiling) the kettle actually consumes only .25 KWH.

The same thing applies to refrigerators and chest freezers . They also consume a lot of hydro while running, but that should only be for a few minutes each hour if you don't keep opening the door and staring at what is inside,

Things like light bulbs, Televisions, and even computers, use minor amounts in comparison to heating appliances.

The washing machine doesn't uses a lot of electricity to do 4 loads a month, but it uses natural gas energy to heat the water.

There are certain fixed costs to running a house that don't vary much with the number of residents. In your case the number of residents has dropped to 1/5 or 20%, but certainly don't expect hydro consumption to drop to 20% of normal.

What was you average daily consumption when 5 people lived in the house, and what is the lowest you have seen after making an effort to reduce consumption?

What are you doing to reduce consumption?. Skipping coffee and toast in the morning, and turning off lights, will not make a significant change.

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