What does kilowatt meter do if it is overloaded?

solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
A friend is having trouble with his DLP Toshiba tv. It gives low power supply warnings. I took my kilowatt meter to his place to check voltages ect. It reads about 113.9 to 114 volts. Isn,t that kind of low? They heat with wood and most of the day no one is in the house. I think his electric bill is too high, close to $200. a month with the electric heat rate even though he doesn,t turn on the electric heat. Big energy hogs are electric waterheater, 2 freezers and a hottub which is inside his home. Only turns the hot tub on a couple hours before they use it for about an hour. So we plugged in this old philco freezer and it makes the kilowatt meter beep and the freezer can,t seem to turn on. The other old freezer turns on and has about a 200 watt draw but runs constantly. I told him he should get new freezers and his electric bill would probably be low enough to pay for the freezers. his answer the philco is over 40 years old and works well and the other one is over 20 years old. So my main question . Will the kilowatt meter not let enough power thru to start the freezer as I understand the meter only measures up to 1850 watt draw? If you plug the freezer directly into the outlet it will come on. He has both freezers on the same outlet. :Dsolarvic:D Monitors, Would you please move this post to the right catigory? Thank you in advance

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,070 admin
    Re: What does kilowatt meter do if it is overloaded?
    solarvic wrote: »
    A friend is having trouble with his DLP Toshiba tv. It gives low power supply warnings. I took my kilowatt meter to his place to check voltages ect. It reads about 113.9 to 114 volts. Isn,t that kind of low?

    I guess the standard for North America is 114 to 126 V (-5% to +5%). Historically 110, 115 and 117 volts have been used at different times and places.

    The Kill-a-Watt appears to a reasonably sized chunk of wire--so I would not expect too much voltage drop...

    However, starting a freezer if it has been unplugged with the compressor running may need more current than the Kill-a-Watt can let through--but many refrigeration compressors will simply stall (not enough starting torque because of the high side/low side pressure differential), pop the thermal overload, rest for 10-15 minutes, pressures will equalize (high side/low side), thermal breaker will reset and compressor will start right up.

    If there are extension cords--Make sure you use a short/heavy gauge cord (not a long 16 awg light duty cord)--especially when doing the testing.

    I assume your Kill-a-Watt still functions (did not pop the shunt)?
    They heat with wood and most of the day no one is in the house. I think his electric bill is too high, close to $200. a month with the electric heat rate even though he doesn,t turn on the electric heat. Big energy hogs are electric waterheater, 2 freezers and a hottub which is inside his home. Only turns the hot tub on a couple hours before they use it for about an hour.
    What are your power costs ($/kWHour)? That sounds like 1,000-2,000 kWH per month.

    That is quite a bit of power--And the freezers may be $10-$20 (each) for the bill... A modern freezer may be $3-$6 per month (30-60 kWH per month)...

    We had a very old freezer that the insulation had become water soaked and the bottom of the freezer was just a mass of ice (we could see it from outside the freezer--but that was 4 decades ago).

    I would not be surprised to hear that they have a DVR, a couple of desktop computers, and some other "small appliances" that they leave on 24x7 that may also account for big chunks of that bill.
    So we plugged in this old philco freezer and it makes the kilowatt meter beep and the freezer can,t seem to turn on. The other old freezer turns on and has about a 200 watt draw but runs constantly. I told him he should get new freezers and his electric bill would probably be low enough to pay for the freezers. his answer the philco is over 40 years old and works well and the other one is over 20 years old. So my main question .
    If we assume the freezer runs 24x7 (possible if thermostat is turned way down, insulation compromised, iced up, and/or low Freon charge, etc.):
    • 0.2 kWatts * 24 hours per day * 30 days per month = 144 kWH per month
    Around $14 - $28 per month (guessing around $0.10 to $0.20 per kWH).

    Pay for a new freezer in 1-2 years (depending on what level of freezer they purchase).

    I was trying for maximum power savings and purchased a manual defrost unit (something I have not had to worry about for 40 years)--Forgot what a pain it is to defrost twice a year).
    Will the kilowatt meter not let enough power thru to start the freezer as I understand the meter only measures up to 1850 watt draw? If you plug the freezer directly into the outlet it will come on. He has both freezers on the same outlet. :Dsolarvic:D Monitors, Would you please move this post to the right category? Thank you in advance
    Don't know--The Kill-a-Watt is not always that accurate and for $30 or less for a test tool--it does have its limitations.

    I will move to the Conservation Area.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What does kilowatt meter do if it is overloaded?

    "He has both freezers on the same outlet."

    now this offers up a clue and how much does anybody want to bet the tv is on the same breaker or fuse as the freezers? 2 freezers that start up simultaneously on one outlet with a high turn on surge noteworthy of most frig/freezers without popping a breaker or fuse says there's something not too swift on his wiring. the surge is pulling the voltage down farther than indicated while running the other freezer and tripping the supply for the tv. modern tvs are very lenient on supply voltages so the draw down his wiring is seeing is downright dangerous as it is far overloaded and i'd guess the breaker or fuse was upped without updating the wire itself that must handle that power. modern practice for a full sized frig or freezer is to have them on dedicated breakers/fuses and the wires associated with them also dedicated. that means not running 2 at the same time let alone a tv too.
    to get a bill that high indicates some huge power consumption, as you well know vic, for your area does not charge huge amounts of $ per kwh. the biggest problem may well be that that individual is not being honest with himself on how much he consumes and is not being very safe in going about doing that. my advice is for an electrician to evaluate the whole thing and make recommended updates before the place burns to the ground.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What does kilowatt meter do if it is overloaded?
    niel wrote: »
    "He has both freezers on the same outlet."
    2 freezers that start up simultaneously on one outlet with a high turn on surge noteworthy of most frig/freezers without popping a breaker or fuse says there's something not too swift on his wiring. .

    Not to mention the heavy and prolonged current draw that would occur if there was a power bump / short interruption that happened while both freezers were running. The compressors would stop, then when the power came right back on, he'd have two freezers drawing full locked rotor currents until their respective overload devices activated 10 or 15 seconds later. And the breaker or fuse on that circuit doesn't blow? Red lights are coming on just thinking about the possibilities. Not good. And especially with the 40 year old freezer, who knows what it's locked rotor draw would be. Scary situation. And almost as scary is that some people don't realize what huge energy hogs those old freezers can be. My mom had an old Sears 18 cu ft that was operating and cycling perfectly, but sucking back just under 6 kwhr / day. That's more than enough to run SIX modern freezers, and more than my whole house now uses, including my fridge and freezer! Time for people to start shaking their heads and open their eyes.
    And some of those old fridges and freezers actually used corrugated cardboard for insulation! Not kidding! I helped my uncle strop down and re-insulated an older propane fridge, and that's the only insulation it had. Corrugated cardboard.
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: What does kilowatt meter do if it is overloaded?

    I hear you on the high usage. But need to look at the reviews of some of the "Modern" ones.

    New ones may use less, but when they break. It is at times big $$$$ to fix them.
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: What does kilowatt meter do if it is overloaded?
    solarvic wrote: »
    So we plugged in this old philco freezer and it makes the kilowatt meter beep and the freezer can,t seem to turn on.

    Do you or your friend know how to solder? My Kill-a-watt meter had a piss poor soldering job on the plug, one prong actually pulled out of the meter when I unplugged it.

    A poor solder joint will cause a high resistance and drop the already low voltage even lower, low enough to cause the problems you describe.

    I'd say to open up the kill-a-watt and look at the solder on the plug connections and re-solder it if needed.
  • poppypoppy Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: What does kilowatt meter do if it is overloaded?

    Solarvic Have your friend call his Power Company and check voltage at his Meter. They will see the low voltage Which they should have replace the transformer at their expance because they are not supplying proper voltage to his house. poppy
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