Update 12: Flying Without Instruments
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
“You cannot manage what you don’t measure” goes the old management adage. During the lockdown, I was struggling to understand the complexity of all the things we were changing in the house and I realized I was “flying without instruments” ! I could see the overall home consumption, but not the individual loads that made it up.
That’s when I turned to an old colleague Gary who runs the energy metering business, Envisij. We installed his CT clamps up and down my distribution board and pumped the information to the web based dashboard and ‘Voilá’, I am now flying with instruments.
The first thing that jumped out was the high voltage, we are peaking at 256V (we now know the PV array has added 3V on average to this). Voltage Optimization will reduce my consumption by 10% and thus we have now invested in a very smart 3 phase VO unit from PowerStar, to be installed at the end of the month.
We knew our Ground Source Heat Pump would likely be a high consumption suspect but now we detected that it was drawing 20A rather than 15A. On investigation we found a burnt out capacitor was the cause and, once replaced, we saw the GSHP”s consumption drop by 38% using the helpful verification function on the Envisij dashboard.
The highest consumer in the house was now in the spotlight and no surprises it was the swimming pool heater. What the Envisij dashboard showed was a continual 1A current being silently drawn by the circulating pump and the pool heater would switch on when it dropped below 28C, irrespective of what time of day and the energy tariff.
In consultation with the pool’s manufacturer we found ways of switching off the circulating pump for 10 hours per day and stopped the heater running between 4pm and 2am reducing consumption by 30%.
All told overall consumption is down 14% month on month and this is only one half the story with Envisij toolset being able to SENSE consumption. The second part is SWITCH which means, in the future, we will be able to automatically turn devices on or off when energy costs are low or high.