DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Our electric bill was over $500-$600 each winter month from December 2014-March 2015 and in February we looked into Solar to reduce our monthly electric bills. Yes EVERYTHING in the house is electric from baseboard heat in each room, stove, oven, hot water, AC. In January we had to replace our entire electrical box and service to the house due to a corroded service that water was leaking into the electrical box and shorted out the main breaker. We had just moved into the house 3 months earlier it should of been pointed out that this was an immediate need for a replacement because the electric box was rusted from the water on the inside. Our first home, and didn't think to open the panel around the fuses to check the condition but the outside did have visible rust.
Anyway we sucked it up and had it replaced for emergency replacement for i think at least $2.5k

OK..... We are now committed to getting solar and after everything to get this going we are up and running by the end of August 2015. Since then we haven't had a electric bill and have kWh credits for this month but the heat hasn't been needed consistently yet.

Now the real question. The inverters that are on the system each morning have been getting error messages about the grid voltage coming from pole which is reading 256v when tested. I am not seeing lights burnt out, but asking can this driving up my electric bill?

So 256 Voltage coming from the Pole that has a transformer attached in a downtown in NJ with Atlantic City Electric as the provider, is this normal? What kind of response do you think I'm going to get from the electric company?
 

·
A "Handy Husband"
Joined
·
12,351 Posts
If you are really reading that high a voltage from the POCO, they have an issue. Call them.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,352 Posts
256 volts will make you bill higher to some extent. The wattage of devices will be higher. They will draw more current. However they will heat faster and run for a shorter time, so the KWh should be similar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
256 volts will make you bill higher to some extent. The wattage of devices will be higher. They will draw more current. However they will heat faster and run for a shorter time, so the KWh should be similar.
That makes sense, that the baseboard heat and hot water will heat faster and run a shorter amount of time but how about all of the other appliances such as lights, and other electrical equipment that do not need to heat up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,512 Posts
That makes sense, that the baseboard heat and hot water will heat faster and run a shorter amount of time but how about all of the other appliances such as lights, and other electrical equipment that do not need to heat up.

Light bulbs (incandescents) will run brighter, use more energy and have a shorter life.

256/2=128 volts which is high. Worth calling the POCO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
708 Posts
As for computers and stuff with Switched-mode power supplies, nothing will happen to them as they usually can take anywhere from 85-265 volts.

Not sure about self-ballasted lamps... I think they would just run brighter and consume a little more electricity (especially if they are dimmable).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37,264 Posts
There is no higher cost type heating then electric baseboard heaters.
No gas avalaible in your area?
Gas water heater, dryer, stove would bring that cost down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,286 Posts
Voltage outside +/- 5% is worth calling about. If they have regulators or cap banks on the distribution line, they can adjust settings. Either that or you're really close to the sub.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
You want to upgrade your heaters and lamps. You might get a bigger ROI upgrading from baseboard heaters to heat pumps than you get installing solar.

The reason is that if POCO charges you 11 cents a kilowatt, the best you can do with solar (subsidies, self installation) might produce for 6-7 cents a kilowatt. That's not even a factor of 2 difference.

If you replace your baseboard heaters with ductless minisplits, like these, (perhaps the Fujitsu RLS3H), you're chopping your energy bill for heating by a factor of 3-4 and your energy bill for cooling by a factor of 2 (because 33 SEER is twice as good as typical 14-16 SEER for residential AC)

Similarly, replacing all your lights with LEDs cuts the power consumption by a factor of 7. People who do LED light replacement complain that the light is of poorer quality, and the reason is they buy bulbs with poor color rendering index, or the wrong color temperature. You want : color temperature 2700, CRI >90. If the bulb doesn't have both stats listed or the numbers don't match, do not buy them, they are garbage. (you can get 3000 CRI bulbs if you want to replace halogens)

I personally mainly use these.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
17,158 Posts
256 volts when measuring across L1 & L2 is still within the tolerances of the High and Low of 10%.

Unless it stays like that when measuring across both legs, say over a 12 hour period, while your house and others on that transormer are not running any appliances that are considered heavy loads (Electric Stove, Electric Water Heater, Dryer, A/C or Heatpump, Electric Heating strips in Furnace). I would not be really any concern about it. Only if you are seeing it every day around the same time. You may want to have the Power Company come out and put a recorder at your house, unless they are using electronic remote reading meters. They can pull up those readings in the system.

Home appliances and electronic devices power supplies are made to handle at least no more than a 15% variation of power suppling the device.

I have seen my incoming drop down to 212 late at night, when the Capacitor Banks shut down after everyone goes to bed and shuts stuff off.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
17,158 Posts
256 volts will make you bill higher to some extent. The wattage of devices will be higher. They will draw more current. However they will heat faster and run for a shorter time, so the KWh should be similar.
That is actually a myth. At a Plus or minus of 10% for power measured between L1 & L2. The same when measuring between L1 or L2 to Neutral or Ground. It will not cause your bill for use change.

Incoming supply has no effect on the billing for use for a customer. It is the demand that the customer places on the system, which causes their bill to rise.

You could go to every building in a neighborhood, turn off the Main Breakers. As ling as no current leaks past some how through the Neutral from the meter. No one will be billed for anything.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
17,158 Posts
He is close to the sub

Across the street

So that explains that

But still call poco

Ask them nicely

And they may be able

To do something.
Most likely all that the Poco will do is pull the meter, take a reading and call it fine.

If they see any type of corrosion, or when the new panel was put in, a new Meter Pan was not installed. They would Red Tag it, if there are any signs of a possible hazard.

New Jersey is the last state that you want the utilities to start finding things to gig you on. The utilities in that state are as broke as the ones in Michigan. They will try to find anything to call it a a problem.

As for the panel being showing signs of corrosion. That does not surprise me at all with the majority of Home Inspectors, who were flipping burgers a week ago and in the pocket of the selling agent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
That is actually a myth. At a Plus or minus of 10% for power measured between L1 & L2. The same when measuring between L1 or L2 to Neutral or Ground. It will not cause your bill for use change.

Incoming supply has no effect on the billing for use for a customer. It is the demand that the customer places on the system, which causes their bill to rise.

You could go to every building in a neighborhood, turn off the Main Breakers. As ling as no current leaks past some how through the Neutral from the meter. No one will be billed for anything.
Uhh...no. V=IR. R is constant in things like incandescent light bulbs, any kind of resistive heater, even the electric motors in bigger appliances have constant average impedance when running at steady state.

If V is increased, I must also increase. Power = IV. Since both I and V have increased, power consumption has increased. Electric meters measure actual power consumption by being sensitive to the product of current and voltage.

This means that light bulbs will consume more power. Resistive heaters will also consume more power, but, as mentioned upthread, they will get the heating task done faster and turn off sooner, making their total energy consumption about the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
Those are interesting. They're high CRI and consume 9.5 watts? I have a CREE TW and although the light is really nice, it consumes 13.5 watts. Those lights are also cheaper, though I got mine on clearance for $4.
Yeah. To my eyes they look good. I've also replaced some of the old style fixtures with the recessed fixtures in the ceiling, using high CRI LED retrofit kits with them.

Are the more expensive crees better? Might be, but a 50% difference in power consumption and double the cost makes them take a lot longer to pay for themselves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,512 Posts
That is actually a myth. At a Plus or minus of 10% for power measured between L1 & L2. The same when measuring between L1 or L2 to Neutral or Ground. It will not cause your bill for use change.
Ohms law. For incandescent lights it will.
Incoming supply has no effect on the billing for use for a customer. It is the demand that the customer places on the system, which causes their bill to rise.

You could go to every building in a neighborhood, turn off the Main Breakers. As ling as no current leaks past some how through the Neutral from the meter. No one will be billed for anything.
The neutral leg is not metered. You could have 100amps flowing through the neutral, if none is going through either hot on the load side of the meter nothing will be read.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,286 Posts
256 volts when measuring across L1 & L2 is still within the tolerances of the High and Low of 10%.

Unless it stays like that when measuring across both legs, say over a 12 hour period, while your house and others on that transormer are not running any appliances that are considered heavy loads (Electric Stove, Electric Water Heater, Dryer, A/C or Heatpump, Electric Heating strips in Furnace). I would not be really any concern about it. Only if you are seeing it every day around the same time. You may want to have the Power Company come out and put a recorder at your house, unless they are using electronic remote reading meters. They can pull up those readings in the system.

Home appliances and electronic devices power supplies are made to handle at least no more than a 15% variation of power suppling the device.

I have seen my incoming drop down to 212 late at night, when the Capacitor Banks shut down after everyone goes to bed and shuts stuff off.
+\- 10% is outside acceptable norms for power quality.

Cap banks are not generally on a timer. They work with preset hi/low settings. As usage goes up voltage may drop. Maybe at 116v the cap bank will come on line. As usage drops and the voltage raises to say, 124v the cap bank will go offline. Assuming a 120v PT.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top