Sunday, August 12, 2018

Summer time power use for 2018!

Forsyth MO: It was august the 12th and so I was arguably in late summer. I thought it might be of historical interest (at least to myself) to take a gander at the power use curves I was experiencing.

Following are the ground parameters:

Space to be cooled = 900 square feet with a volume of about 7,200 cubic feet.
3.5 ton 2 stage AC unit set to maintain 81F.
Blinds were generally closed.
Normal power use items always on - Computer equipment, fans, flat screen TV
Power appliances cyclical: water heater, refrigerator
Occasional use: Convection stove top, microwave, washer and dryer

The following scatter chart reflected energy consumed as compared to the average outdoor temperatures over a period of 8 days where the daily highs ran a gauntlet from 88 up to 96 degrees. Nighttime temperatures averaged from 60 to 68F. In other words a pretty typical period with partly cloudy skies thrown in for good measure.

Click to enlarge
Understanding that my baseline of power use (ie the average consumed with no AC used) was at about 14 kilowatt hours a day, the trend line that was generated using a scatter chart (avg temp vs kwh) correlated rather well. My average daily use of 25.5 kWh's indicated that my electric bill was going to be ((25.5*30)*.13006) +15 or $115. Not too bad as the average internal temp in the condo ranged from 81 to 84 degrees. Note that whenever the average daily temp drops below 74 degrees, I normally have the AC turned off and so follow a power use level that results in electric bills below $100.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

EdgeStar CRF321SS Mini Fridge review!

After doing a casual review on the EdgeStar CRF321SS 3.1 Cu. Ft. mini fridge with freezer, I decided to get some hard data for anyone who might be thinking to plunk down the money to purchase one. So, here is some of the data I gathered....
EL USB 2 sensor

Observation dates: October 24-26, 2017
Ambient room temperature ~ 76 - 80ºF.
Sensor: EL USB-2
Kill A Watt
For the period of the experiment (18 hours for the Freezer), I accumulated the following information:

Freezer data
FREEZER: I placed the USB sensor into the freezer at 3:20 PM CST and got the following readings. Note that while this was not a true scientific styled test, I do feel it did represent the kind of performance that customers could expect.... That said, I did take note that the average temperature was 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit. That was above the recommended setting of 0 degrees, but since I rarely keep foods frozen for very long, it was not a big concern for me... Update: Here was the result (the next graph was after a minor setting adjustment):

 REFRIGERATOR: After measuring the data for the freezer, I then placed the sensor in about the middle area of the refrigerator and recorded for 24 hours. Unlike the freezer, which was not opened during the period of measurement taking, I did open the refrigerator fairly often to retrieve food and beverages. Hey, I'm a thirsty sort of guy!

I was somewhat surprised to see the average temperature of 44.5F! But, I was also not too concerned as I use this fridge to cool bottles of water, V8 and Dole peach cups! Having said that, I did up the cooling dial a bit. It had been centered on medium cool in the past. After doing that and remeasuring, I got this data report:
The power used, over a 24 hour period was up to .44 kWh's! Not bad!

POWER USE: After the 24 hours testing period had elapsed, I had recorded power usage at a total of 0.40 kWh's. That averages out to about .0167 kW's per hour for an estimated cost of .002 cents. (I was using using the .13006 rate that Empire Electric charges for electricity, where I live in southwest Missouri). Doing the math, I would expect the monthly cost for this Energy Star appliance to be at about $1.56! Not too shabby!

NOISE LEVELS: Finally, I used a sound app to get an idea of the decibel level of this unit when it was running. It turned out that I got about 28 decibels, or the sound level that rustling leaves would make! Not bad....

BOTTOM LINE: Since June 2017, when I purchased this unit, I've been extremely happy!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Well, it is spring, and storms do come a knocking!

Taney County MO – The National Weather Service is calling for the potential for severe weather from Wednesday, April 25, on through the coming weekend, several days later! That is noting unusual, and if your electric coop has buried your power and communication cables underground, it should be a non event. For those whose cables are hung on poles, rapid power fluctuation and sudden spikes from lightening bolts could destroy some of your expensive electronics! At the very least, power surges will shorten the life of sensitive equipment!

Ten years ago, the probability of any real harm from lightening was a lot less, as most people had little in the way of sensitive equipment to worry about. Today that isn't the case for many! In my home there are tablets, multiple computers, cellphones, digital TV and a host of other devices that depend on circuit boards in order to operate! Even a surge protector may or may not save them from a close-in strike! So, it pays to be weather aware and to perform a few simple steps to make sure that the storms come and go without incident.

  1. Unplug any electronic device that you still want to use after the storm. I generally switch off my computers, routers, TV's and microwave just to be sure they are isolated from power surges.
  2. Consider purchasing a better grade of surge protection. This is especially important for that typical ball of outlets that service computer equipment! Check out this article that describes some of the better units.
  3. Take out insurance to protect you from just this type of problem, if the manufacturer offers it.
  4. Invest in a weather radio with S.A.M.E technology – you'll get timely warnings that pertain only to your county.
  5. Where possible, have your equipment clustered off a few switched multi-outlets. Then, all you need to do is to flip a few switches with it begins to boom outdoors!

Lastly, encourage your city and local electric company to invest in underground runs that will make everyone's life a whole lot more enjoyable!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Empire Electric and their raised rates!

Taney County MO – Recently I noticed that some of my fellow county citizens were complaining about their electric bills, citing large apparent increases. I investigated this and found some potential reasons why their bills may have jumped!

  1. Empire did, in fact, raise its rates recently! Back in September, “The Missouri Public Service Commission on Friday formally approved an agreement its staff and other parties had reached with The Empire District Electric Co. earlier this summer that will result in a monthly increase of $7.60 for an Empire customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month.” This increase went into effect on September 14, 2016! The current rate table for Empire is shown below;
Note that the Summer Season is the first four monthly billing periods billed on and after June 16, while the Winter Season will be the remaining eight monthly billing periods of the calendar year.

  1. Billing by Empire is typically not for the last thirty days but rather about a half month past that point in time. Ergo, my electric bill that just arrived on the 31st of January was actually for the period December 14, 2016 to January 16, 2017. Of some interest, however, in that later part of December we incurred much warmer temperatures than normal. My readings for that period of time are shown below. Note that were were about four warmer than what the 30 year average had been! Interesting....

In addition, the temps from January 1 to January 16, 2016 were also on the warm side of history reading almost five degrees above what is normal! So, one would think that my bill would be a little lower than last year, wouldn't one?

Interestingly, the kilowatt hours used were greater than the same period last year which further exacerbated a bill that had seen significant rate hikes! Is there something wrong here? Yes, I think that there is! Below is a direct comparison between 2016 and 2017 billings:


Monday, December 19, 2016

A very cold 24 hr period in December!

Dec 18-19: Down here in southwest Missouri, an arctic incursion really smacked it to us with an average temperature of about 16 degrees! The translated into 61 kWh's of electricity I had to use to keep my modest adobe warm!  In the chart above, you can visualize just how far from the 'norm' that temperature reading was!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The first arctic outbreak of December 2016!

Forsyth Mo. - All over the news, recently, was a forecast of arctic air that was scheduled to slam into the Taney County Missouri on or about December 7. The forecast sounded serious as the weather service was calling for some morning temps in the lower teens! This from the National Weather Service;

'Overall, it looks like winter will make its first real appearance to the Ozarks over the next week to 10 days.'

My thinking at hearing that news was how I would face the challenge of keeping most of that cold air at bay. I was living in a condo located on at the end of a building on the top floor of a four floor structure, and so my unit would be exposed to the elements from a number of sides. Sure, my building was well insulated, but still there were areas of concern...

For instance, there were two sliding glass doors that lead out to my balcony. They were built in 1991 and were showing their age, as air leakage was a problem. That area was located in the living room, and so I decided to set the furnace on a low setting (60ºF) and then retreat to my bedroom office during the worst of the weather. That location offered a much smaller volume that I hoped to heat adequately with a small space heater. The lone window, in that room, was also treated with a collection of cardboard boxes that would supply some dead air space along with R-values of about 3. That should help a lot, I figured. At least that was the plan....

Last January, when it got cold, in a similar fashion, I used about 45-55 kilowatt hours of electricity to maintain my unit at a livable level. Back then, I have daytime temps in the low 30's while overnight temps got down into the teens! And, as a senior living on a fixed income, I really needed to try and keep those electric bills under some kind of control!

I hope to update this post, beginning December 7 when the weather turns colder.Be sure to visit my weather site at for more real time weather data!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Well it is summer and it's hot!

So what better time for my AC unit to quit on me! Mid July is likely not the best time to be having problems, and after a visit from John's Heating and Air Conditioning Service, I got the news that my 20 year old system was 'on its last legs'! I was also informed that it would be a 'few weeks' before they could get me a new unit installed due to the time of year. Swell. John Lane, President of the company, was nice enough to come out on a Saturday and I got a picture of him standing by his van, but managed to erase it by accident. My bad. At any rate, John seemed very knowledgeable and promised to get me a quote via email. I hope to do a followup post when they get the new unit installed.

While I was waiting for that to take place, I decided to purchase a portable AC unit just to have as a backup and and wanted to evaluate it performance envelope. The unit I ordered was a Honeywell MN10CESWW 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Remote Control. I was told by Greg that it should be able to do a good job of cooling my bedroom area, a place I could retreat to in case the main AC failed. I'll do a critique on this unit when it arrives in a few days.