Power Usage Going Up!

Hello all,

I have a question regarding power consumption.

Ever since installing smart things in our home, our power consumption has doubled, meaning our power bill has doubled. Not good for the WAF.

Here’s what I am using:

8 smart bulbs: a mix of TCP and GE Link

CT100 Thermostat ( Battery Powered)

2 Sonos Speakers

2 Battery Powered Door Sensors

1 Batter Powered Motion Sensor

1 Utilitech Water Sensor

1 Wemo light Switch

1 WeMo Motion Detector

1 Smoke Detector (Battery Powered)

Most of my items are battery powered, but I’m concerned about how much power is used by leaving my light switches up or my lamps switched on.

Any ideas here? Any info would be helpful.

All of those powered devices should just be a trickle…well, don’t know enough about the Sonos.

However, your power bill doubling is not possible with these devices. Doubling is very significant and essentially means you have a house twice the size it is now.

Are you sure it is not heating (if you are anywhere in the polar vortex), etc? Not sure when you installed ST.

I have measured my GE Links and each use .4 Watt in standby mode.


Hi Chris,

I’d be quite surprised if your power use has gone up as a direct result of ST.

The smart bulbs only require a small amount of power to keep them active, they only draw full power when lit. Any chance that some of these have been running on low power continuously?

The CT100, is it controlling a gas furnace or electric?

What’s attached to the Wemo light switch? Any chance that it is being turned on at night or something where it wouldn’t be noticed?

Any chance that you had installed anything else new? Perhaps an electric heater? Outside cable roof heater? I’m just thinking that for most households to notice that kind of change in their bill, you would have to have something drawing quite a bit of power.

Other than that, I would be looking at anything else that changed recently or in the period before the start of your last billing cycle. Depending on your utility company, they may be able to give you more information. Either that on you could get an electrician in to test, or do it your self with something like this:

or another tool through ST:

Whatever you do, be safe about it and let us know what you figure out

Thanks all for your insight. I forgot to add that I recently moved in to the home, it was my fiance’s apartment and then we got married so I moved in. However we have very similar schedules so I don’t think that would cause anything to double.

Leaving computer on? Maybe a 300+ Watt power supply? Or how about a big TV that stays in standby?

I do have a Mac Mini that is always on. Could be the TV too.

Water heater? Electric or gas?

I was a network engineer before I had to retire early (I’m now quadriparetic.) I’ve definitely seen automation projects significantly increase power usage with existing devices, almost always because of excessive polling.

And it’s easy to double a very low number: if before you moved in, the primary electrical usage was a tablet, standard kitchen appliances not used much, and lights for one person who turned them off as she moved around the house, adding an entertainment center that was used 3 hours a day and not unplugged in between and a few more hot showers could easily double the electricity bill without any automation at all. Depending on the design, increasing hot water usage/temp in an electric water heater can significantly increase power usage as well.

Old school test: if the device isn’t a light and feels warm while it’s running, you’ll notice its impact on your electric bill if it runs for more than 2 hours a day.

So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if going from one person to two upped the electric bill at least 50%.

I have a brother who comes and stays sometimes. He runs a big screen TV and a plugged in laptop almost 24 hours a day, takes long showers (with the TV left on in the other room) and never uses the anti zombie power switches anywhere in the house. My power bill always goes up at least 50% when he’s here, even though he’s one of three people.

I’ve got an electric water heater.

That’s a honeymoon factor. Both water and power usage will likely go way up for the first few months just from more showers and more dishwasher use.

Same thing with a new baby, btw.

Bing Bing Bing, I think we have the winner!

Suggest to your wife that you take showers together. Just to save on your electric bills of course!

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Lifehacker has a good article on reducing power use without spending extra money to do so:

One of those might help, can’t hurt things.m

I have 20 GE Light / Fan switches and ST Hub. Altogether these use about 8 watts of power, totling about 50 cents of electric per month. However the system shuts lights down that are normally left on, so it actually saves me quite a bit of money; even more when I get the electric heaters set up.

Hmm, my electric bill would go up if I did that every day :wink: