Top Energy Hogs in The Home
Here’s the good news: The biggest energy hogs in your homes are not your flat screens. And it’s probably not your home theater system—unless you’re pumping out watts by the thousands. There are ways to save energy on those suckers, but why not concentrate your high-tech energy-efficiency efforts on the appliances and devices that pull the most juice from both the utilities and your wallet?
- Electric Cars
- Hot Tubs
- Swimming Pools
- On-Demand Electric Water Heaters
With more and more electric cars being sold, the more calls we get to install outlets for chargers’. Installing charging outlets is sometimes a fair, straightforward task, especially if the panel is in the garage since the outlet install is directly below it. However, a lot of homes don’t have enough capacity to add one. You may open your electrical panel and see you have space to add a breaker, but depending on the size of your wire coming in from the utility, it won’t handle the additional load required. Generally, if you have a 100-125 amp service, it will not support your vehicle’s rapid charging.
Most of the home’s electrical service size is based on when it is constructed. They are generally not built for any expansion in mind. Case in point, you have two homes, both 1500 sq ft one is all-electric, and the other has natural gas. The electric/gas home would only require 100-125 amp service. Whereas the all-electric would need 150-200 amp service, since their central heat water heater, dryer, and cooking appliances would all need to be electric.
Back to your electric car, most manufacturers have multiple charging options, depending on how long you are willing to wait to have it charge. For example, Tesla’s generally have the following options available.
240V 90A – 2 hr
240V 50A – 4 hr
240V 30A – 6 hr
120V 20A – 8-1- hr
If you’re ok with the most extensive charging option, this can be installed in most homes, provided there is space in the panel. If this option won’t work for you and you need a faster charging option, then a service upgrade will be required. This generally will also require a new panel that can handle the additional amps needed for the charger.
A panel/service upgrade can cost between $3,000-$10,000, depending on the variables. If you have an overhead service, you don’t have to worry about your service conductors from utility to house. However, if you’re in an underground area, it is the homeowner responsible for excavation. So the further the distance and the more obstacles between your meter and utility company transformer/pedestal, the more expensive it will be.
Some things to consider; It is always best to consult with a licensed electrician before you buy a hot tub. Like electric cars, you do have some service options. Most hot tubs require a 50-60 amp 24 0volt circuit. However, these do not generally let the jets and heater operate at the same time. Which in our Texas climate may not be as big of a deal as if you lived in a northern state where winters are much colder.
Based on previous experience with hot tub installations, the company sells customers the hot tub and is just interested in the sale and not the logistics behind the purchase. When a customer has asked about wiring, it’s usually a lot less than what a reputable licensed electrical company would charge. A poorly wired installation can affect how the tub operates, not to mention the safety aspects. Hot Tubs must have a GFCI breaker unless the manufacturer has some kind of GFCI protection built into the tub.
Electric Water Heater
A lot of people are going away from the traditional tank-style water heaters. They are using the on-demand type that instantly heats water without having to store it. There are two types of water heaters, natural gas, and electric. The all-electric are usually less expensive to buy than natural gas. However, on most occasions, you have to double the amount of your electric service to operate them (very costly). You may need a meter upgrade, and some of your pipes upsized with gas, generally a cheaper option. However, if you are in an all-electric area, where gas isn’t an option, it can be done. Save money on your energy bill by avoiding these mistakes on these energy hogs.
Mister Sparky Electrician Houston, America’s On-Time Electrician, serves Houston, Texas and the cities of Katy, Sugar Land, Cypress, Spring, The Woodlands and others with a team of certified electricians. In addition to emergency electrical repairs, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections. Call us today at: (281) 907-8418.