View Full Version : Electricty Useage is killing me


holabird
02-24-2011, 5:52 PM
My power bill has tripled since I started getting into this money pit hobby and I am trying to figure out who or what is the biggest culprit. Here is what I am running:

1. Little Giant pump MDQX-3 runs 24/7 @.9 amps
2. Dolphin AmpMaster pump 6250 runs 24/7 @4.8 amps
3. Nova Extreme Pro 12 bulb Fixture runs 8 hours @ 468 watts
4. 2 K3 and 1 K4 power head and 1 Vortech MP40 runs 24/7
5. ASM G3 skimmer with a Sedra 5000 pump 24/7
6. Aqua Aquaviolet UV sterilizer 114 watt 24/7
7. 2 72" VHO bulbs running about 8 hours

Add to that a few other things, 2 GFO filters, 3 heaters, etc etc. Not an electrical engineer so watts, amps, current dont equate much to me.

Where is my biggest power drain? Maybe I need to upgrade to newer more efficient pumps. Any suggestions.

LilRobb
02-24-2011, 5:58 PM
4.8A x 120V = 576W
and that's just a PUMP!

Rbredding
02-24-2011, 6:09 PM
convert everything to watts... that will tell your story.. (but that ampmaster pump is probably the culprit..)

to go from amps to watts, multiply by 120 - 4.8A is 576W (and so on)

you pay for your electricity by the KW/H (1,000 W/Hour)

I don't know the pump you're using.. but my reeflo snapper external pump runs under 110W per hour and moves somewhere around 2100gph...

if you're moving 6200gph, you just can't move that kind of volume of water without using some electricity..


your lights and your pump are using somewhere near 1,000W/ Hour..

JCampbell
02-24-2011, 6:19 PM
Hmmmm... Why do you have a Nova Extreme Pro and VHO's together? The Nova Extreme is plenty of light!

holabird
02-24-2011, 6:27 PM
It is. I only use the VHO's for early dawn and late dusk. They are more of a black light and really make the corals glow when it is dark. You are right tho, the Nova Extreme is a lot of light. The VHO's just supplement it. Good point. Thanks

Hmmmm... Why do you have a Nova Extreme Pro and VHO's together? The Nova Extreme is plenty of light!

JCampbell
02-24-2011, 6:32 PM
Gotcha! Doesn't the Nova Extreme pro do dawn and dusk effects too?

holabird
02-24-2011, 6:36 PM
It does but I like what this light does with the "glow" effect.

Gotcha! Doesn't the Nova Extreme pro do dawn and dusk effects too?

JCampbell
02-24-2011, 6:55 PM
Oh! Well, maybe when your lights go out in the Nova Extreme you can adjust to the proper color actinics that you like and get rid of the VHO's. Just a thought!
Good luck!

Crewdawg1981
02-24-2011, 7:13 PM
Sweet jebus that pump uses double what my Reeflo Marlin takes...

Schwaggs
02-24-2011, 10:34 PM
DUDE, that pump alone costs you:

576W/1000 * 24 hours * 30 days = 414 KWH @ $.09 per KWH = $37 per month....

Crewdawg1981
02-24-2011, 10:42 PM
Do you NEED the ampmaster? I'd sell it and get something else.

Smoothie
02-24-2011, 10:49 PM
What is it used for? CL, running multiple items, etc?

Acroholic
02-24-2011, 10:55 PM
Replace the Ampmaster, and get rid of your VHOs (those suck a lot of juice). You can get the same glow effects with actinic led strips, which use about 1 watt each. I black light my 300 SPS tank with 24, 3 watt acticinc LEDS run at 1.5 watts each. There are much more efficient pumps on the market that your Dolphin.

grouper therapy
02-24-2011, 11:20 PM
Sweet jebus that pump uses double what my Reeflo Marlin takes...
But the marlin only a 2200 gph too.

Rasbora
02-24-2011, 11:31 PM
If you got a library card, go to your nearest public library and check out a kill-a-watt meter. Use it to test pumps, lights and other stuff.

rizmaher
02-25-2011, 9:02 AM
Rasbora, that is a really good idea. I did not know that the libraries carried them, I was planning to buy one from Frys.

Crewdawg1981
02-25-2011, 9:06 AM
But the marlin only a 2200 gph too.

True and its more than I need. I figured I'd use the rest for other things like a chiller, CA reactor, carbon, etc.

I guess the OP didnt really say how much flow they needed or how big the tank was. There is already three Koralias and a Vortech?.

How big is this tank?

jmaneyapanda
02-25-2011, 9:07 AM
3 heaters? What wattage? They are very inefficient power hogs too, and may not be necessary at all, depending on the setup. 114 watts of UV is going to heat up the water some.

MorganAtlanta
02-25-2011, 10:00 AM
Maybe that's why the pump is called an "AmpMaster". If you have a huge pump for water movement you are going to pay. Powerheads are way more efficient than pumps (factor of 10 or more) for water movement in the tank. I'd certainly look at other pumps.

The heaters will only use the power they need to heat the water, so how many you have and how big they are probably won't affect the overall electricity usage too much, they'll just run for less time.

Lights eat up power, but the VHOs wouldn't amount to that much if they are only used as dusk/down for a couple hours a day.

Your big items will be main lights, pumps that run 24/7, and your chiller if you use one.

T5 lights are pretty efficient, so unless you are going to spring for LEDs, you won't get much better there, and the real long term savings from LEDs are the bulb replacement costs, not the electricity when compared to T5s.

Your UV is pretty big too. If you are running it 24/7, it could add up. You could probably put the UV on a timer and only run it for a couple hours when your main lights are off, especially if you are running a chiller. There's no sense constantly putting the heat into the water only to pay again to take it out.

The formula to use is watts/1000 x hours on per day x cost/KWH x 30 days = cost per month

If you want watts used from amps, you multiply the amps times the volts (120)

Be glad that we only pay $.09 or $.10 per KWH. Some places pay double that.

The cheap version of the Kill-A-Watt meter is only $20. I'd definitely get one before you go and replace a component to make sure it will pay off.

Crewdawg1981
02-25-2011, 10:07 AM
I just re-read the list and there are WAY too many water movement devices unless we're talking about a real headloss from the return pump and a massive tank (EDIT: Looked and saw your 180 Peninsula which looks awesome BTW)

There is already a little giant pump (~1100gph) - looks like a CL pump?
3 Koralias...
1 MP40w
Ampmaster

You could probably do away with the little giant and replace the ampmaster and find a significant power savings.

gnashty
02-25-2011, 11:13 AM
Your UV is pretty big too. If you are running it 24/7, it could add up. You could probably put the UV on a timer and only run it for a couple hours when your main lights are off, especially if you are running a chiller. There's no sense constantly putting the heat into the water only to pay again to take it out.


I run the same UV 24/7 as well. I havent had an issue with heat or a skyrocketign power bill as a result. Im no dummy though and know it is adding heat and using up the electricity...Ive been thinking of cutting its run time down a tad.

can anyone estimate the power cost of this unit per month? Im terrible at calculating these equations...plus im at work

Edit: I tried the formula above and came up with $8.20 per month - sound right?

jbadd99
02-25-2011, 12:13 PM
HERE (http://www.marinedepot.com/md_educationcenter_calculators_tank_electrical.htm l) is a calculator to help you find the answer to what is hogging all your money...

I'm sure three heaters don't help things either.

gnashty
02-25-2011, 12:39 PM
HERE (http://www.marinedepot.com/md_educationcenter_calculators_tank_electrical.htm l) is a calculator to help you find the answer to what is hogging all your money...

I'm sure three heaters don't help things either.

very nice!!

MorganAtlanta
02-25-2011, 2:03 PM
HERE (http://www.marinedepot.com/md_educationcenter_calculators_tank_electrical.htm l) is a calculator to help you find the answer to what is hogging all your money...

I'm sure three heaters don't help things either.

I don't think the number of heaters matter for total power used as they will just be on for less time before the water is heated and they turn off.

Rasbora
02-25-2011, 3:48 PM
Rasbora, that is a really good idea. I did not know that the libraries carried them, I was planning to buy one from Frys.

I think most of them have them, can be signed out just like a book. Part of some 'green' program to save energy. http://www.georgialibraries.org/news/articles.php?searchid=73

holabird
02-25-2011, 8:15 PM
No, it is just a return pump but it has to pump about 16' upstairs to the DT. I have it tuned down a little and I have the flow cut back a little.

What is it used for? CL, running multiple items, etc?

Edit: The tank is a 180 and the pump is just for return. It is obviously more than I need but it came with the tank. Looks like it will be going somewhere else or be used as a back up. I use the Little Giant to run 2 GFO's, 2 carbon filters and the UV.

True and its more than I need. I figured I'd use the rest for other things like a chiller, CA reactor, carbon, etc.

I guess the OP didnt really say how much flow they needed or how big the tank was. There is already three Koralias and a Vortech?.

How big is this tank?

Edit: I use three smaller heaters. Two in the basement sump run by the controller and one in the DT as a back up that is set to come on if the others fail. The number of heaters shouldn't matter as they only run when necessary, be it all three for a shorter time or one big one for a longer time. I think. The UV doesnt put much heat in the water and I dont use a chiller.

3 heaters? What wattage? They are very inefficient power hogs too, and may not be necessary at all, depending on the setup. 114 watts of UV is going to heat up the water some.

jmaneyapanda
02-26-2011, 8:24 AM
No, it is just a return pump but it has to pump about 16' upstairs to the DT. I have it tuned down a little and I have the flow cut back a little.



Edit: The tank is a 180 and the pump is just for return. It is obviously more than I need but it came with the tank. Looks like it will be going somewhere else or be used as a back up. I use the Little Giant to run 2 GFO's, 2 carbon filters and the UV.



Edit: I use three smaller heaters. Two in the basement sump run by the controller and one in the DT as a back up that is set to come on if the others fail. The number of heaters shouldn't matter as they only run when necessary, be it all three for a shorter time or one big one for a longer time. I think. The UV doesnt put much heat in the water and I dont use a chiller.

UVs will put a lot of heat in the water. Trust me. And heaters are energy pigs. Trust me on that too. But, to each their own. Good luck.

Rbredding
02-26-2011, 8:28 AM
I use the Little Giant to run 2 GFO's, 2 carbon filters and the UV.
can you re-plumb your return line to include a manifold that will run this equipment?

what kind of return flow are you looking for at your display tank?

grouper therapy
02-26-2011, 12:20 PM
UVs will put a lot of heat in the water. Trust me. And heaters are energy pigs. Trust me on that too. But, to each their own. Good luck.
Submersible heaters do burn a lot of watts! Luckily they are near 100% efficient in terms of watts burned to heat transferred. The number of heaters is not as critical as the total wattage of combined heaters but even then the only waste would be trying ti heat the water above a unusual high temp.

darcurr
02-27-2011, 9:29 AM
I always check watts when purchasing anything for my tanks. That said, trying to retro-actively come in and reduce consumption will only provide limited results. If it wasn't taken into consideration up front, there will always be a bottom that cannot be lowered. I always think of it like hot rodders that worry about MPG after they finish installing a 502. Sometimes you just got to pay to play.