Calculating your electrical load is useful for two reasons:
- the exercise of calculating your house’s electrical load will better understanding of what consumes your strength and where you can make savings
- knowing how much electricity you use will give you an idea of the sort of generator you need if you plan to switch fully or slightly to different energy.
An electrical load calculation is sometimes referred to as an electrical audit. Both exercises are about calculating the strength you consume by appliances, lighting and heating.
Electrical load calculations looks at appliances such as ovens, televisions in addition as fittings and device (bulbs) that consume energy and calculates your energy consumption.
Arguably an audit looks at both direct need and indirect need or waste in addition as coming up with possible remedies.
For the purposes of this article we just want to look at how to work out what your using. Once you know this you can start working out what you can do and thanks to the information you gather from the load calculation you’ll have an idea of the effect your actions will have.
Step 1 – List all your appliances and fixtures (lamps, heaters) – room by room
To calculate you electrical load you will need to build a list of all the electrical appliances in your house and also make observe of the light bulbs and fittings (ie lamps) that you have.
Step 2 – Make a observe of the amperage or wattage of the appliances and fittings.
You need to find out how many volts or amps they use – you should be able to find this information on the appliance itself. You need this information to calculate the watts.
Some appliances and fittings (such as light bulbs) are already rated in watts so just write that number down.
Step 3 – transform the Amperage into Watts
To calculate the watts take the amps and multiply it by the volts. In the US if you are on mains electricity your appliances and fittings will have a voltage of 120 v. So calculate the watts used by an appliance multiply the amps by 120 This will give you an calculate of how much watts an appliance uses in 1 hour.
For light bulbs it an easier calculation since most bulbs are described in terms of watts – so to work out total wattage multiply the watts of the bulb by the hours your calculate the light is on.
For fluorescent or strength saving bulbs the calculation is the same. The energy saving is already factored in to the lower wattage.
Step 4 – calculate how many hours you use the appliance, keep the lights on or use the heater.
You can start by estimating hours used per week and then multiply this number by four to get a rough monthly calculate.
To get a good calculate you need to consider your hours of usage by each season as the appliances used and length of time they will be used will be affected by the weather.
For example in winter you would use heating more and also turn lights on for longer (as the days are longer). In summer you may use more air-conditioning or fans.
Step 5 – Add up the numbers
You now have an calculate of how much strength you consume on a room by room basis, per week and per month.
This may seem time consuming but the effort is worth it as you will have a better manager on how much electricity you use and this perspective can help you when you decide what different energy source you can use.
Check your calculations by comparing them to your utility bills. You may need to transform them to match the same time periods (for example if you are billed quarterly multiply your weekly calculate by 13 for the number of weeks in a quarter).
The numbers won’t be exactly the same but should be in the ballpark.