The 3rd Dimension – So little to say and so much time!!!

A power play / The 5 month cycle
June 29, 2011, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just a few short updates:

A power play

I got a Kill-a-watt EZ power usage monitor to start seeing how much power various devices consume and decipher the enigma of the kilowatt-hour – the main metric used by power companies to charge you. The Kw/hour was actually a deceivingly simple concept all along! It was just the avg. amount of wattage a device used in a 1 hour time frame. A 1,000 watt heater run for 1 hour uses 1 KW/hr.  The same heater run for 5 hours uses 5 KW/hr. A 200 watt computer run for an hour uses 200 watts/hour (1/5th of a kilowatt hour). A 10 watt lightbulb would have to run 100 hours to reach 1 KW/hour of usage.

Energy over here is priced by tiers with the first tier being up to ~8-10 KW/hrs a day (meaning you get to use 8,000 to 10,000 total watts per 24 hours) and the 2nd tier doubling in price up to 12ish KW and anything above that being the 3rd tier which is quadruple the price! Thus we get some unholy progression like 12 cents, 24 cents, 40ish cents per KW/hr for power. We get some interesting insights from there:
1) It is almost impossible to run on almost 8-10KW/hr’s per day and stay totally in tier 1 energy charges. I think this is by design. To stay in tier 1 you either need to average 400 watts continually for 24 hours or 800 watts for 12 hours and hibernate the other 12 with everything off (I mean EVERYTHING). My computer playing WoW and monitor and lamp take up around 200 watts total per hour while they’re on and that’s just my room. If you have a family running things in all 5 rooms forget it! A fridge will switch off between using 200 watts and 0 watts and if it’s on 12 hours a day that’s a 100 watt/hour continual drain all by itself. My older computer takes up 180 watts all by itself while my newer one with cheapo video card takes up about 150.

If you’re single and the only one or two living at a ceratin address you may be able to pull off tier 1. If not get ready to get rammed up the ass by your PG&E Smartmeter!

2) Power is expensive! And we use a lot of it just doing our thing! To reduce power usage though you need to attack the big players. For example the saltwater aquarium here is one of the biggest consumers avg’ing 250 watts without the lights on (only at night) and 510 watts with (most of the day). That box of water itself is our tier 1 energy allocation!!! Turning off your 9 watt energy saver bulb is only going to save you at most 40 cents if you don’t leave it running for 100 hours. Sure the little things add up but make sure you get the big boys first before chasing the small frys as it usually takes the same amount of effort to investigate a big boy as a small fry.

The 5 month cycle

I noticed if I get into a new hobby I only stick with it for about 5 months before I move on to something greater. fin. Makes me wonder how things like this blog or some other things I do persist beyond the 5 month cycle. It’s like the menestraul(sp? don’t give a damn!) cycle but only for me!

On that note I’m going to start winding down my casino hobby. I’m still doing it and all but now we’re on the otherside of that hill. Like all the other stuff I like though it never really goes away for good – my main focus just shifts away from it temporarily. Hobbies do tend to overlap though i.e. I painted edgespots on my solid casino chips with acrylic paints a weeknight or two ago and I want to try molding/casting my own poker chip using customized colors by doping the solution with food coloring!