Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > General Aquarium Forums > General Hardware/Equipment Discussion
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 10-21-2010, 07:43 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Windsor Ontario Canada
Posts: 54
Smart Meters and Power Use

I live in Ontario, and we have recently changed to a Smart Meter for billing for electricity. I'm not sure how prevalent Smart Meters are...essentially it keeps track of the time of day you use electricity and then you get billed more or less depending on demand during those times.

My husband pays the electricity bill and he is complaining A LOT. He says the bills have doubled. Now that isn't all because of the aquariums, but a lot probably is.

I have changed my lights so that they are off between 11am and 5pm. But the heaters and filters need to be on all the time. (Don't they?)

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to reduce overall electricity usage OR to shift electricity usage to off-peak times?

Do heaters or lights use more electricity?

Thanks for any help!

G
__________________

__________________
Greeny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2010, 02:19 AM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
mgamer20o0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: so cali
Posts: 5,987
it really depends on room temp. heaters and filters need to be on at all time. personally what i would do is get a killiwatt meter this is used to measure how much power you are using. a fw tank really doesnt use that much power. sw tanks do use more though.

could the bill be more that they are charging more for the same power used?
__________________

__________________
Google.
mgamer20o0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2010, 02:29 AM   #3
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
glassbird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 449
Your bill has doubled from when? From this same time last year? From last month? I have found that our electric bill goes up a bit in the fall because we are using more lights (gets darker earlier). But if your bill doubled from last year at this time (and you had your tank(s) last year), find out what you actual power use was at that time, NOT the actual dollar amount. The rate per unit may have gone up, making it LOOK like you are using more power, when you are actually just paying more.

And yes, a "Kill-o-watt" meter will tell you exactly how much you are paying to run a specific device. I borrowed one from a neighbor and it was very informative. (My tank uses MUCH less power than the fridge.) Having one might prevent some arguing, and save you some money somewhere, too.
__________________
glassbird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2010, 11:46 AM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
BigJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oak Forest, IL
Posts: 4,388
You could drop your tank temperature a bit. I've started keeping my tanks at 72-74 degrees F with no adverse effects on the fish. It won't work for all fish, but it's worth a little bit if you can. Basically the closer the tank temp is to room temp, the less the heater has to run.

Most filters use very little power. A well-designed pump rated at 2000gph will consume only about 100-200W. Most HOBs will consume less than 25W.

If you don't have plants, only turn the lights on when you want to view the fish. Otherwise, I think you're on the right track with keeping your lights off during peak hours.

As suggested, look into actual kilowatt usage. It could just be that your rates have gone up. Chances are there are other areas of your electricity usage that offer greater savings if optimized.
__________________
BigJim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2010, 01:23 AM   #5
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: not here anymore
Posts: 5,338
We were involved in a "pilot project" with our local electricity company that tried out the variable time-of-day pricing a few years ago. It only lasted a year, and then we went back to normal pricing that wasn't dependent on time of day. I found that our power bills skyrocketed during that period. For a while, we just kept doing things the same way we always did. After a few months, we decided to try and shift some of the more energy hogging activities (washing/drying clothes, running the dishwasher) to the evening hours. It really didn't make that much of a difference. And with a newborn at that time, and LOTS of laundry, the piles of clothes quickly got out of control! Personally... I'm not sure what the pilot project was really a test of. I have a hunch it was more of a psychological experiment to see if people would change their habits, or how much *more* money the power companies could make if they implemented the concept across the whole grid.

Anyway... guess what I'm saying is that based on my year long experience with that pricing concept, it doesn't surprise me that your bills went up a fair bit.

As far as your aquarium costs, there's not much you can do. You need heaters, so nothing you can really do there. Luckily, the biggest use of heaters occurs at night when the house is cold, so you're at least getting off-peak rates for those. Lighting... except for reducing the length they're on, not much there - except for maybe going with LEDs that will put out more usable light with less Watts. You *could* shift those to the off-peak hours also, but then it wouldn't be on when you wanted to view the tank!

While there are a few things you can probably do to reduce the costs from the tank, I think there are probably bigger ticket items in your house that could more easily make a difference. I just know that when I compared a years' worth of power bills from before I got my 46g reef tank, to after, my actual power usage really didn't move up that much.
__________________
Kurt_Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2010, 04:35 AM   #6
member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 469
i so need myself a killiwatt meter, i hate running 10+ heater and 2time the filter i need in the winter. winter just need to go away. this is y i took down most of my HOB filter n went with sponge filter. with sponge filter u do save a lot cause ur running on one air pump. depends on what kinda of air pump ur running.
__________________
BlackMagic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2010, 02:29 PM   #7
AA Team Emeritus
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Whitby, Ont,Canada
Posts: 2,755
Greeny, have you actually started to pay the time of day usage? I was under the impression that wouldn't start until next year or later.
__________________
Join a fish club. Don't have one in your area? Start one.
BillD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2010, 04:25 AM   #8
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
mgamer20o0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: so cali
Posts: 5,987
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMagic View Post
i so need myself a killiwatt meter, i hate running 10+ heater and 2time the filter i need in the winter. winter just need to go away. this is y i took down most of my HOB filter n went with sponge filter. with sponge filter u do save a lot cause ur running on one air pump. depends on what kinda of air pump ur running.
in larger fish rooms people just heat the room vs the tanks for the most part. becomes to much to heat all that water.
__________________
Google.
mgamer20o0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2010, 04:32 AM   #9
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 56
I would not think you aquariums would be driving up your bill that much.

Here is a link to the Kill A Watt EZ that was mentioned by others. You enter in your local utility killowatt per hour charge and it will tell you how much an attached device is costing per day/week/month/year until you reset it. It has a built in battery backup so you do not lose your totals in a power outage and it only slightly more than the basic model.

P3 - Kill A Watt EZ

I got mine off Amazon for about $25 with free shipping.

Amazon.com: P3 International P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor: Home Improvement

Not sure what type of filter you have but modern canisters do not take much power and HOB type use even less. Lights can be controlled by timers so unless you have live plants they really do not need to be on that much. Personally I like a dimmer tank anyways and only light the middle part of the tank using a shorter light.

Heaters can draw much more power depending on their wattage and how long they are on. This really depends on the difference between the room temperature and what you want your tank at. If you have one or more large heaters running alot then you might want to try insulating your tank with a hard foam like material.

http://www.fabricationspecialties.com/pdf/tuff-r.pdf

SUPER TUFF-R 1/2 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. R-3.3 Polyisocyanurate Rigid Foam Insulation - 263063 at The Home Depot

I buy the 4' x 8' x 1" sheets at HomeDepot for about $15 (they split them into 2' pieces for free) and you can cut them with a circular saw and it can be painted. I insulate the bottom, rear, and sides of my tanks and dramatically reduce heat loss and heater usage (I live in Minnesota when it gets very cold in the Winter). At night I can place another piece on the front and it works out great.

Use the Kill A Watt EZ around the house to track down the biggest uses of electricity and you should find it is not your aquariums.
__________________
jcahow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2010, 11:03 AM   #10
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Chester-le-Street, UK
Posts: 786
You can get plugs which themselves are like smart meters and will tell you how much each component is using.

The only thing you can cut down on really is the lighting, perhaps you have it on a timer? Maybe switch to only switching it on if you're in the room? Not much good if you have plants, mind.

But your filter does need to run constantly but it won't take much power my canister is about 12W I think.

The biggest by far is going to be the heater, but this entirely depends on the amount of water, tank/hood insulation, room temperature etc.
__________________

__________________
135 litre (35 US gallons) 6 Black Widow Tetra; 3 Mollies; 3 Bronze Cory; 1 Pygmy Cory; 6 Gold Barbs
27 litre (7 US gallons) 6 Guppies.
Mark Hewitt is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
meters

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What kind of testers/meters Kligonxx General Hardware/Equipment Discussion 2 10-20-2010 02:08 PM
Question about pH Meters leafyseadragon General Hardware/Equipment Discussion 8 07-26-2005 09:42 PM
cheap tds meters mhedrick Archive 2 01-05-2005 01:09 PM
flow meters? guitarded General Hardware/Equipment Discussion 6 12-07-2004 05:54 PM
Hanna PH meters fishman Saltwater Reef Aquaria 4 07-19-2004 11:41 AM







» Photo Contest Winners








Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.