A Personal Blog on Bicycle Transportation and DIY Projects

Real electricity savings by using a whole house electricity meter, the TED5000 – Part 1

I recently blogged about the installation of a whole house energy meter, known as the TED5000.  It measures exactly how much the whole house is consuming in real time.  The purpose was just to know how much energy was being used so I could accurately learn how to change our habits in the house to conserve electricity.   If you are going to take shorter showers, turn off the lights and raise the AC, wouldn’t you want to know what exactly the effect will be and exactly how much it will save you in real time?  The TED5000 does it all and it did a lot more than I expected. 

First of all, the installation was really easy.  I am not an electrician, but following the instructions, I installed it in 15 minutes.  (Warning, this is NOT an instructional guide)  The photo shows my installation below.


TED5000 is wireless, so no cable runs are necessary.  Just hookup the receiver to your router with an Ethernet cable.  Finally, you log into any computer on the network and do a simple setup procedure.  That is it!

The main reason for the purchase for to have a display of the power used by my house in real time.  This is what the TED5000 display unit is for.  There is something about visual feedback that helps change your habits.  You can be told to conserve your electricity use, but if you are shown the results and it is in real time, you are educated as to what really makes a difference.   The TED5000 display unit in placed in a central part of the house that receives the most traffic. 


Here are some things learned just by looking at the display unit:

  1.  Turning off everything (but not anything with the circuit breaker yet), the house uses 400 watts of power!  What devices are using 400 watts of power continuously is something I need to investigate.  The is equivalent to needing (4) 100 watt solar panels on my roof or about $27.00 a month. 
  2. The display unit will show how many kilowatts are being used, but also how much it costs per hour to run the house.  At  $1.50 per hour showing up on the meter, you start looking around at what you can shut off.
  3. You limit the electronics that you didn’t realize were the big energy hogs such as: 
    1. Flat Panel TV – 400 watts
    2. Incandescent Chandelier – 420 watts
    3. Ceiling fans with a lights – 100 watts
    4. Fluorescent lights in the garage – 150 watts
    5. #1 energy hog is your AC!  I recently had to get a new AC installed.  It is a state of the art 18 SEER, dual compressor, variable speed 4 ton unit.  EVEN WITH THIS, it uses 2000 watts at idle and up to 9000 watts and full blast.  If you need a new AC or want to save on your energy bill, this is the appliance that will make the most difference.  
    6. The dryer uses 4000watts.  I bought a drying rack recently and took advantage of the drying the  dehumidification your AC does for free!  Clothes are dry over night. 
    7.  Our washer uses twice as much energy (800 watts) in the power clean mode versus the normal mode (400 watts). 

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