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Old 06-29-10, 09:56 AM   #1
Ryland
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Default Mystery 500 watt load.

The other day I bought one of the Black & Decker electric meter monitors that clamps on to your electric meter and gives you a read out of it's readings via a remote hand held display, it's not as accurate as I would have liked, it reads in 100 watt increments so any time the total loads are under 100 watts shows up as -0- it is nice however because it will let me read what my water heater is using, my electric stove or if I have 3 40 watt light bulbs on it will give a readout, it will also track the lower loads and give me a total used over a given time and tell me what my estimated end of month bill is going to be in either KWH or $ and give me a total of what I have really used, it will also allow me to do a tare on my usage so I can then flip my stove on, or whatever and get a more accurate reading.
So I hooked it up and it seemed to be working, it showed 300 watts used (my room mate was finishing up a tile grouting project with a big work light) then a little while later, after the work light was off I noticed it jump up to 500 watts! 5 minutes on 10-15 minutes off, now our house is a duplex so we have two meters, the meter this was on has the furnace, water heater, some lights, door bell, no fridge, no freezer, no normal household loads, the water heater timer was off, the furnace breaker was off.
So anyone have any ideas as to what this mystery load is? I'll be borrowing a clamp on amp meter in the next few days to test each line for that 4 amp load, but I'm interested in seeing if anyone can guess.


Last edited by Ryland; 06-29-10 at 10:00 AM..
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Old 06-29-10, 11:26 AM   #2
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It sounds like some kind of heater coming on. A small 500w heater.?.
Or maybe an old attic fan that comes on when it gets real hot up there..
I have one, but it used far less than 500w..


If you can monitor when the Mystery load comes on, you might be able to hear it clicking,
if you poke around while the TV and radio is off..

I was outdoors the other day, checking my electric meter and I was seeing about
360 to 420 watts being used all the time. (6 to 7 LCD pluses per minute).
When suddenly, I started getting very erratic busts of quick LCD changes.
Back inside, I find my wife boiling some water on the stove.
The heating element is switching off and on ever 10 or 12 seconds..
I decided it was too hot outside to take more data..

I'm thinking of getting her one of those little induction heater-hot-plates,
since they have to be a lot greener than that dumb stove top.
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Old 06-30-10, 07:28 AM   #3
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Well pump?
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Old 06-30-10, 09:24 AM   #4
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Humm, a pump.. Is the basement flooding??

5 minutes on 10-15 minutes off.. Is that going on 24-7 ??
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Old 06-30-10, 09:31 AM   #5
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We live in town so we do not have a well.
turns out that our dehumidifier cycles the compressor on and off creating a load of over 500 watts! the fan, on it's lowest setting draws 55 watts and cycles on and off as well based off humidity so when I had tested the dehumidifier before it showed the lower number.
A year ago it was running almost non stop before we did two coats of DryLock paint (water proofing paint for cement walls) and epoxy paint on the floor, we still have two large crawl spaces that are open to the soil and have no insulation that we are getting bids to fix (I don't want to try to spray foam in a crawl space my self) so once that is done the moisture problem should be almost gone!
the whole house electric meter monitor is pretty nice, after a week or so I'm going to switch it to the other meter, then set it up at my parents house, then see who else in my area wants to use it.
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Old 07-05-10, 04:19 PM   #6
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Maybe the other half of the duplex shares a circuit in your fuse box.
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Old 07-05-10, 05:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
We live in town so we do not have a well.
turns out that our dehumidifier cycles the compressor on and off creating a load of over 500 watts! the fan, on it's lowest setting draws 55 watts and cycles on and off as well based off humidity so when I had tested the dehumidifier before it showed the lower number.
A year ago it was running almost non stop before we did two coats of DryLock paint (water proofing paint for cement walls) and epoxy paint on the floor, we still have two large crawl spaces that are open to the soil and have no insulation that we are getting bids to fix (I don't want to try to spray foam in a crawl space my self) so once that is done the moisture problem should be almost gone!
the whole house electric meter monitor is pretty nice, after a week or so I'm going to switch it to the other meter, then set it up at my parents house, then see who else in my area wants to use it.

At least a dehumidifier coming on every 10 to 15 minutes, and running for 5 minutes is an easy thing to find..
If makes as much noise as mine, you couldn't help but find it..

I've been thinking of getting a new dehumidifier, but I would like something
that didn't use so much juice. Something with an EnergyStar label..?.
Do they make any home models that work well at 60-65 degrees F?

This summer, we have been leaving a basement window open when it's not too humid during the daytime.
Tomorrow is going to be in the high 90s, but it's going to be pretty dry during the hottest part of the day..
So far, the basement humidity has not been very bad.
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Old 07-06-10, 09:58 AM   #8
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Here is a list of Dehumidifiers that are Energy Star.

the one I bought I rather like, seems to be costing me between $15-25 per month to run in the summer, of course it was 90% humidity outside yesterday so this time of year it runs a bit.
I'm not sure why a Dehumidifier would draw 500 watts tho, unless it has a heating element to keep frost from building up.
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Old 07-06-10, 12:31 PM   #9
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Hummm.. The really good ones (liters per kw) are big bucks..
I'll have to look at the smaller units that have can make 2 or 3 liters per kw..

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