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Appliance Power Usage


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6 replies to this topic

#1 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 05:33 AM

Many grasshoppers often ask me, "Oh, most wise and beloved Samurai, which appliances use the most power and what can be done to make them more efficient?" To which I sagely reply, "Look, I'm Samurai Appliance Repair Man, not a friggin' power meter. How 'bout you measure the power usage of your appliances yourself?" Yes, grasshopper, until recently, power consumption test instruments were very expensive. However, a new product called the Kill-a-Watt meter, which only costs $39.95, can help you determine which appliance is hogging the most energy in your home.
Is your refrigerator running too much, or is your window air conditioner causing your electric bill to skyrocket? With the Kill-a-Watt meter, you can determine energy usage of any standard household appliance that plugs into a 110 volt outlet.

Refrigerators use a lot of power -- between 300 and 500 watts while running. If the condenser coil is dirty, or the door gaskets are torn, they’ll use even more. Check the efficiency of your refrigerator and other appliances regularly, and clean or maintain them as needed to make sure they’re running as efficiently as possible.

You can also use the Kill-a-Watt meter to check computers, table lamps and most other devices that plug into standard wall receptacles. You’ll learn many devices, such as TVs and stereos, actually use energy when they’re turned off.

The Kill-a-Watt meter is now available for only $39.95. This is a small price to pay to potentially save hundreds of dollars in electricity over time. Come git you one!


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#2 Keinokuorma

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 11:04 PM

I wouldn't be so careful about appliance power usage... If I have a reliable unit which uses more power than something that tends to give me trouble, I will settle with more power usage.

To many people it seems to be entirely unknown, that you cannot consume electrical power without finally turning it into heat, of which most is released into the house interior air. Especially in areas where the winter is cold and you need heating, and if you live in an owned home where you pay proportionally for heating, you may find it surprising that what ever power you consume in the winter will affect your heating bill in a positive manner.

OTOH in hot areas where room temperature must be reduced artificially, the workload on the AC unit increases per every extra watt your other appliances consume.

I live in a place where we meet both sides of the story. Our winters are cold, but then we have some very hot days in the summer, and sometimes heat emission from power usage becomes crucial about being able to live indoors. B)

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#3 mark e

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 02:21 PM

We have religated our trusty kenmore coldspot (model no. 106.9532580) to garage duty.  Unfortunately, there is only one outlet in the garage.  Now the freezer and refrigerator trip the GFI every hot day.  And that's a regular event in Charlotte.  I first suspected the GFI, contractor's best and 15 years old.  The electrical boys at the local big box recommended replacing the GFI with a 20 amp model.  It still trips.  I know that both appliances are big wattage eaters but, I believe the issue is starting current.  A kill-a-meter wouldn't detect that.  That was until to day.  We (my wife) discovered that plugging the fridge into the 3 ft. extension cord that feeds the freezer didn't cause the GFI to trip.  Could it be the fridge's cord (whip)?  Lost too many good steaks.

#4 Keinokuorma

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 03:26 PM

Starting current can sometimes trip GFI, but I suspect there's some scum buildup somewhere, that grounds out some wire... it happens on hot days, so you might expect to get dew buildup at cold areas, and dew buildup increases conductivity on scum buildup. On some fridge models exterior air can enter the wiring duct that goes from the back to the lamp/switch/thermostat assembly... means that water will condense into the duct and the rest becomes history repeating itself.

It is not recommended to operate any kitchen appliance (or laundry any better) on a GFI circuit. They all tend to gather all kinds of stuff (grease, grime, dust etc.) on their insulations (whether thermal or electrical) and eventually turn prone to trip the GFI.

IMO, our local regulations on GFI use just suck. In new installations, you must have GFI on every circuit except those, that are loaded by only one machine, which must be directly hooked and grounded. A 500mA GFI is recommended for them too. Alas, autumn comes, nights are chilly, surfaces moist or frosty... you can't always even preheat your car on a standard 20mA GFI circuit.

The 500mA and similar GFI's are there to protect the appliance from fire. They won't protect the user if they partake to the circuit load. The 20mA one is there to protect the user, but often just keeps him fron getting his work done.

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#5 mark e

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 08:36 AM

Thanks for the guidance.  Now that it is cooler (Septrembers are usually in the mid to high 80's) the nuisance GFI issue has subsided.  Are there any instructions available or recommendations for cleaning the scum or better moisture proofing a refrigerator?

#6 Keinokuorma

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 12:15 PM

I don't need to say this, but this is not a power consumption issue, this should be its own topic in the kitchen appliance repair forum... but anyway, this can be as simple as the condensate pan overflowing on the compressor.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corporation (1977)

#7 Keinokuorma

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 02:08 PM

Concerning the part of the GFI not tripping when the appliances were on an extension cord... Here at the end of the topic is a repair adventure saga:

http://www.appliance...ic.php?id=10537

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corporation (1977)




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