"You used 88% more than your neighbors" - SmartThings.. Help me figure out why!?


#1

OK, so this seriously is nuts… I have almost all LED bulbs… Most of my appliances are new (within 5 years)…

My dryer is gas… My gas furnace is 2 years old… I have a gas hot water tank… I have one computer that’s on 24/7…

I have a dehumidifier that is older… A water softener that is about 3 years old…

What in the hell can be using this much juice?

How can I figure this out? At this point, I’m willing to spend $100-$200 in SmartThings devices to fix this…

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#2

what i know is when i started using ST. my electric bills when compared to 2016 vs. 2017, was done on average around $100.

i think one key thing that i attribute this to is how my hvac gets set to eco mode when nobody is home; all lights are turned off when nobody is home;sprinklers only run when needed.


(Daniel Ionescu) #3

If you don’t have any SmartThings devices yet, figure out 10-15 times that. Hub is $80 and each device $25-50

500 watts power supply (desktop) is 12 kW/day - 360 kW/months
Outdoor lights (non LED) ?

Depending on power, 5-30 W/bulb. How long do they stay on?
Here is my usage, all LED lights, 2 person household
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Where did you get that info to begin with? HGow do you know it’s real?
Go online to your utility and check your usage there.


(jeubanks) #4

Not a ST thing, but in my area (until the electric company was sued) used to do “estimate billing”. So they weren’t taking actual meter readings every time. Does your power company do that? Just a thought.

One thing ST related I’m very interested in is the whole house power meter, so I can compare against what the power company says.


(Daniel Ionescu) #5

They usually do it every other month


#6

If you have a mechanical meter,(visual rotating wheel in front), have them check it for accuracy…they can, and do, go out of calibration.


#7

The first thing I would do is check with your energy company to see what kind of free audit tools they provide. Many can give you at least an hour by hour breakdown of your usage, and that can often be enough to pinpoint where the problems are. Also, you should definitely have them check your meter, which shouldn’t cost you anything and is sometimes the cause of the problems. But let’s say the meter itself is OK.

For example, if the spike occurs during the day, it’s probably not lightbulbs.

If it happens only when certain people are home, look for personal behavior issues, in particular, space heaters.

If it just seems to be random, one of the first things to look at is a faulty refrigerator or freezer. If the compressor keeps going on and off, that can use a lot of juice.

After looking at time based patterns, the next free troubleshooting step is to do a spin check. Turn off all the breakers. Position someone or camera next to the energy meter. Now turn on just one breaker, leave it on for a minute or so, then turn it off again. Do this for each breaker in turn. If you see any particular breaker that seems to jump energy usage very quickly and it doesn’t have a refrigerator/freezer on that circuit, there may be a faulty outlet.

Electric Hot water heaters can pull a lot, and this can be caused by something as simple as a dripping faucet. Or faulty washing machine. Or somebody having changed your standard washing machine settings from cold water wash to hot water wash. :scream:

You can get a $25 clamp meter that isn’t networked to anything and use it to test your individual appliances to make sure that they are operating at the rated level. But that may be more effort than you want to put in.

@Navat604 or some of the other electrical experts in the community may have more suggestions, these were just the first things I would try. :sunglasses:


#8

I don’t think it’s all that accurate/true. I live in Western New York and on a Cul De Sac. We have 18 houses on our street that were all built in the early 2000’s. I know of at least 12 houses on my street that receive this same notice on their electric bill each month, myself included. Personally, I think it’s bogus.

Check out this link:

https://www.speakupwny.com/forums/showthread.php/1019018-NationaL-Grid-Home-Energy-Report-is-BOGUS


#9

I have a hub, 8 bulbs, door lock, 2 switches, 2 door sensors, and 2 motion sensors… I’m hooked…

Yea, I know my PC is going to be a big user but overall…

Outdoor lights just got replaced to smart and LED… I do leave those on from 6pm - 7am… Maybe I’ll turn those off around midnight but then I fear it leaves the house “exposed” because it’s pitch black… We don’t live in a bad neighborhood or anything, but still…

How did you get that usage?

This is directly from my utility company…


#10

I just looked at my bills for the last year… It’s definitely legit (at least as to what they are reading)…

And almost every month is an actual reading… Maybe the meter is effed…


(Joel W) #11

I might be looking at this in a more simplistic manner! But my utility bills here in the Northeast are way up from last year. But way down from when I moved in three years ago. I know they went down when i replaced every lamp in the home with LED, changed my thermostat to a Smart one, changed my humidifier to a digital one with outside probe. Now the humidifier made a big difference, as with proper humidity, I can have lower temps and still feel comfortable. The LED’s were a huge help as I have 12 spotlights in my family room alone. But they went up this year as the temps outside have been way lower than the previous two years. And the summer temps were hotter for longer. So all in all HVAC is the biggest cost.


(MarkTr) #12

The comparison looks like the same one we get here in Baltimore with BG&E - we have smart meters which give near real-time updates. If you have the same, it may be harder to do some of the dial-based troubleshooting suggested above.

If you want a gadget and are comfortable pulling the cover on your breaker panel, you could try one of the clamp-on energy meters like Aeotec and go through the circuits one by one to isolate the biggest users, or for a long-term solution you could install a Sense or Curb meter and see if their analytics will identify anything.


(Daniel Ionescu) #13

Straight from my light bulbs. Also, I use either neutral or daylight, no soft white. They give out more light for less power. Another reference is https://energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/how-energy-efficient-light

If any undesired person comes by, maybe they’ll break their legs.
On a more serious not, motion detectors.

On the graph, last bar is almost twice the previous. If your habits did not change much, I would call to have meter inspected/replaced.
Here is my monthly usage.


@joelw135
This is also northeast. December is up due to cold weather (boiler works more and it has a motor)


#14

I had 01/17 in the year instead of 01/18… Graph updated… Usage seems close to last years…


(Ron Talley) #15

The biggest eaters for me were a small refrigerator, space heaters, electric car charger, PCs staying on, TV’s staying on and allowing the HVAC to do it’s own thing.

I went from over 3000kWh monthly to around 1100kWh on average. That’s still high but with a 3200 sq.ft. house, it is what it is.

I have over 200 devices that I have energy saving rules for. I know that the devices themselves use about 2-5 watts each so I don’t know if my setup defeats the purpose now…

Here’s an examples of a couple of Pistons that work together to control my 2 HVAC units. I have a simulated switch called HVAC that forces both units to turn on and off on timers. This makes the units work together for a more efficient air flow and temperature control. I have found that I can maintain the same temperature in the house but have the system running 50% less than it would even with the 2 Ecobee “Smart” Thermostats!

Switch 39 the HVAC Simulated Switch.Switch 43 is the HVAC Master Automation Overrided Simulated Switch. I have a ton of automations like this that help tremendously with my Utility Bill!

HVAC Controller to make the units work together

HVAC Timer to force them Off and On and to turn them all the way off while we are sleeping


(Daniel Ionescu) #16

What puzzles me is that usage is almost the same for months with and without AC.


(Collisionc) #17

What’s the square footage of the house, what state do you live in?

Those types of comparisons always look extreme because “All Neighbors” generally include a lot of older people who don’t have 3-4 tvs, 2 pcs, etc.

That being said, unless you have a massive house or a lot of kids, your power usage is fairly high. We live in NC, and during the extremely hot summer we had here our power usage maxed out around 1800~ kWh in July with a 3200~ sqft house and 2 adults. That’s with my gaming rig sucking down 250-300 watts 24/7, 500-550~ when playing games and a network rack with a linux box running that uses 100-200 24/7.

Our lowest kWh usage was in November with 850~ kWh and the average last year was 1100 kWh monthly.

If you’re really interested in learning more about your power usage, I’d recommend https://sense.com/ . I’ve been using it for a year and it really helped me learn about my power usage. It’s not a perfect device, it hasn’t quite figured out the power usage of all my devices in the house, but it’d be perfect to figure out what is using so much power. If I were you, I’d install that, then watch the power usage on your phone, and see how much it goes down when you turn off individual breakers. After you find out which breakers are using the most power, find out what is plugged into them.

It also could help in cases where at certain times of the day the power usage of your house goes up a lot. Ex: Your kids come home and the usage spikes by 50% for an hour while they are doing x/y/z.


#18

Space heaters can cause that.


#19

Agreed… But we don’t use space heaters…


#20

Living in NE Ohio… House built in 1990… Two story, 2100SF…

Man, that Sense thing looks awesome… $300 is a little steep… I was hoping for some stuff that can integrate with ST…

Definitely will think about that though…

Thanks a lot for the reply…