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Power - what is your base load?

  • 16-02-2022 11:13am
    Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭

    I found a monitoring owl I must have bought before and decided to set it up. We are home most days and I have been keeping an eye on the monitor.

    I noticed that our base load sits at 0.177kwh. Is this good or bad or normal?

    What's your base load?



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,336 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    177 watts. Jasus I wish......!!

    Under 200 is pretty good I think. Most people would be in the 250-300 Watt range. Lots of things that are on all the time which build up that you don't think of. House alarm, fridges, wifi router, mains powered smoke alarms, cable tv boxes (even in power saving mode)

    Might be worthwhile spending 20 mins and seeing what makes up that 177 watts for you. Going to the fuseboard and throwing the trip switches will help isolate down the bits/bobs for you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭Ginger83

    Yeah I will give that a go. We just switched stuff off before bed time that was not being used.

    It dropped to 161watts for a moment then back to 177.I have no idea why.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,336 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    I have an OWL sensor too, sometimes there's a random fluctuations on the device which I was never able to attribute to anything. Especially true the lower the current your getting. 10-20 watts fluctuations when you have 1.2Kw going through is like 1% (so pretty accurate), but of course a 10 watt fluctuation when you have 100watts is like 10% deviation.

    Could be something like the compressor on the fridge turning off.

    Another good thing to get is ...

    Power Meter Dual Tariffs Upgrade, Maxcio Electricity Usage Monitor UK Plug for Costs Voltage Amps Watt KWH, Large LCD Display Energy Monitor Consumption Analyzer for Home Appliances, No Backlight : DIY & Tools

    Course that only measures the power for that one device, but it does tend to be more accurate than the OWL for specific devices.

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 5,484 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    Also energy monitors without a voltage reference (and where in the sine wave it is) gets iffy below 200w.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,768 ✭✭✭Alkers

    About 250w here but I don't measure anymore.

    Have a big fish tank, lots of smart devices etc so thought it would be more

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭Ginger83

    I will do a bit more testing but my base load consists of:

    fridge/freezer, house alarm, CCTV recorder, Internet modem, smoke alarms, heating timeclock.

    I have a water filtration system also but I'm not sure if it uses constant power

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,336 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Out of all the devices I've bought over the years, the OWL was probably the biggest/most ueful piece of kit that I spent £60 on. Learnt a load of what was consuming electricity in my place and adapted my behaviour to suit. Changed out the halogen spots for LEDs, when I saw how much power they were using, installed a few smart plugs so that I could set schedules to turn on/off at various times. etc

    Your doing pretty well though if you <200 Watts. Job done really, but always nice to know what is using what.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,564 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu

    I check our monitor when I'm going to bed and it's usually 20W either side of 200W - no idea what that consists of, fridge only uses power when the compressor is running, which isn't all the time. Other odds and ends in standby would by using <1W each (the idea that stuff in standby is costing you a fortune is a relic from the 80s; modern tech is much better). I do have WiFi mesh kit, there's 3 of those plus VM's router but they still can't be using more than a few watts each. Who knows...

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭Ginger83

    It's interesting to see what uses what energy. My wife charged up 2 battery power bank things and it only jumped about 40 watts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭Ginger83

    The owl is definitely a cool device. I have a beer cooler using 370 watts but I really expected it to be much higher.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,336 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    (the idea that stuff in standby is costing you a fortune is a relic from the 80s; modern tech is much better).

    You'd think so......but no. Last Virgin Media set top box I had in "powered down" state - 18 watts! Haven't checked the new one i got 6 weeks ago. So while generally I'd agree with you that devices are much better than they were some years's often surprising what eating stuff that you'd think would be virtually zero.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,564 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu

    If that has a hard disk inside it, that might be kept running (though you'd imagine anything recent will have a SSD). It was primarily TVs & stereos I was thinking about. Modern STBs are basically computers so how effectively they "sleep" will vary.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,336 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Nahh - even a spinning magnetic shouldn't be using 18 watts. I'm a software engineer myself - and have built about 10-12 gaming rigs over the years. Those guys should be 2-3 watts max. But your right, in general manufactures have indeed improved the low powered state of their units.

    My point though was more that there are many innocuous things in the house which you never think about which eat away and add to your base load. Course it depends on what you want to include/exclude in your "base load".

    The pump on your heating system is another good one that people forget. You might have a gas/oil heating system and mentally think "ahh that's not using anything it's natural gas powered", but of course that 150-200 watt pump is needed to circulate the water!

  • Registered Users Posts: 671 ✭✭✭rgfuller

    I also have an owl, base load about 180w, it's amazing the number of low power things running with nothing actually on.

    Alarm, Echo, Cd player clock, #1 Fridge Temperature, #2 Fridge Temperature, Oven Clock, Microwave Clock.

    Underfloor heating controls, Household Heating controls, Virgin Media DVR, 8 x Powered Smoke/Carbon M Alarms, kids clock, dab radio.

    Eddi & Solis Inverter, TV standby, Bluray player standby, Amp standby, 3 Home Plugs, Wifi Router, outside motion sensor lights.

  • Registered Users Posts: 189 ✭✭harderthanf

    Mine is about 300W. Septic tanks are often forgotten about. Took me a while to figure out the blower and pump where on when I thought everything in the house was off!

    I am happy with the 300W though. I have 3 PC/Devices that are always on (media server, home assistant etc) so I am happy enough and that level.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭Big Lar

    Around 1-1.2Kw

    Have two desktop PC's on here all day and most of the night, two laptops running as servers, cameras and wifi stuff. Could hire someone full time in this house to be going around turning off lights and switching off things.

    Wife has a dehumidifier in the hot press and she always it on high (250w), every-time I pass I puts back to eco mode, (20-50w)

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,768 ✭✭✭Alkers

    With the exception of the dehumidifier, everyting there shouldn't add upt to that much

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,336 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    You haven't seem my computers!! Is that Base load? LOL! (Nahh, not even I consider that "base load")

    Solid 1Kw-1.2Kw all the day is long. Guess I had a shower at 9pm last night :-)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,409 ✭✭✭Big Lar

  • Registered Users Posts: 942 ✭✭✭Mr Q

    I had an OWL and for some reason the fire detectors in the house would throw it off massively, took a while to figure it out. Edit: It could have been an Efergy meter that had that issue.

    Now using one that counts the LED flashes on the meter and have no issues.

    At one stage I had the base load below 100w per hour

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭Ginger83

  • Registered Users Posts: 793 ✭✭✭reklamos

    400-500W I have lab with multiple devices and a fish tank running 24x7

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,437 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    Nothing fancy required, take a meter reading at bedtime and when you get up, this gives you true baseload.

    Likes of laptop etc can be captured with another reading from when you get up until you go to bed.

    I tracked this for a month prior to PV install, very little variance

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    Night time baseload is about 95W. Did a good bit of work minimising it before investing in Solar PV.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭Ginger83

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    Nothing other than the obvious steps.

    Replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs everywhere. Replacing CFLs with LEDs is likely uneconomic, so you might want to keep them until they die and then replace with LED.

    I replaced all of the sockets in the house to more modern ones that have switches on them. This makes it easy to switch off energy vampires.

    The OWL/Geo Minim CT monitors are also very useful, as is the inline socket energy monitors linked above. The latter is particularly as it allows you to see the power factor of various devices, which you cannot see from a CT monitor. You aren't billed for reactive power, but it will show up on a CT meter (apparent power).

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,118 ✭✭✭SD_DRACULA

    Daaaaamn, 95w is nice. How you managed to do that? No fridge or internet at night?

    I seem to be jumping between 200-300w at night but sort of expecting that, the more "smart" stuff you add the more power you use since they are on all the time for the wifi, hell all my light switches and sockets have their own IPs at this stage 😅

    VirginMedia came to check something and was like over 100 devices on your network?

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    Per the graphs it seems to jump up to about 160W when fridge compressor kicks in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 451 ✭✭phester28

    i found my old owl was unreliable below 100w. It could go to zero or stay at 60w even if you turned off most of the MCB. From what I could find out the current clamp is not accurate around the zero mark. So Less than 100w the margin for error increases exponentially. My base load was 80-96w continuous at night according to my owl

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  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    Yeah. If you have a digital meter, getting the led pulse version of the geo minim will give you more accurate readings. I didn't have a digital meter at the time so I had to get the CT version.