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Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, United States
A guy finding out if life really does begin at 50.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Entertainment Boxes and Power Drain

I've read a couple articles about energy usage around the home. One article Atop TV Sets, Cable Boxes and DVRs Drain Power - states that a DVR might use "... 446 kilowatt hours a year, about 10 percent more than a 21-cubic-foot energy-efficient refrigerator, a recent study found." Since I have Kill-a-Watt energy monitor I decided to see what my home entertainment setup used.

I have a UPS plugged into the wall outlet and I have the following devices plugged into the UPS:

  • DVR
  • Google TV
  • Wireless Router
  • DVD player
  • Wii
  • Digtial delay device
  • 46 inch LCD TV
  • Surround Sound
The Wii, DVR player, Digital Delay, and Surround Sound was not used during this sample. I only use the Wii when it's too hot to run, and the other items when I'm watching a DVD movie. So I would say the DVR, TV, and Google TV devices are my typical viewing set up.

Over 72 hours (3 days) my setup used 8.24Kwh or 2.75Kwh per day and just over 1000 Kwh per year. That's about $110 a year at 11 cents a Kwh. When 'off' 85 watts per hour (2Kwh per day) is used , and the 'on' usage is 142 watts per hour (3.4Kwh per day). Like the article says you don't save much when turning the devices off. 2.75Kwh - 2Kwh = 750 watts per day for me which is less than 9 cents a day to have them 'on' for just over 13 hour per day. 750 / (142 - 85) = 13.16

The NY Times article never actually stated what a typical household used. The study the NY Times linked to never said either, but there was a table that showed 617 Kwh per year. Based on what I am using I would say that 617 Kwh is conservative when you add in the TV and the internet access needed to stream video.

I think a Kill-a-Watt device is well worth the $30 since it gives your real time and accumulated watts (watt hours) and the amount of time it has been measuring which is all you need to understand the energy usage. Kill-a-Watt are available online and home improvement stores.


Major Mom said...

My kind of blog post! We recently got a waist-high cabinet with remote-control-capable glass doors for our DVR, Blu-ray, and A/V receiver for our surround sound. While it's pretty and keeps the house less cluttered w/ our electronics, when I open those doors to load up a DVD or Blu-ray, I feel this burst of heat come through.

The back of the unit is more open, so I don't think I'm endangering the units by having them in a closed cabinet, but it does get me thinking about how much energy those things are using, considering the heat they're giving off...

Major Mom said...

Not sure if you following the MM blog when we did our "Grand Experiment" in Spring 2008:

Don Miller said...

It only takes So it takes .005 watts to heat 1 cubic foot of DRY air 1 degree F. So temperature in a cabinet can get pretty hot unless the heat is dissipated through conduction or convection.

One of the few things I miss about my old (500 watts!) plasma TV is it would keep the me comfortable - It kept the den toasty and warm in the winter, and the heat it gave off kept the A/C running regular it the summer which allowed the humidity to say low. My house is fully shaded by trees and I don't get much solar heat gain in the summer so unless I 'put out some heat' the A/C didn't run enough to dehumidify the air.

Adrian in Phoenix said...

Don - I like the idea of the UPS for entertainment devices. We just had a power outage this week that caused the DVR to fail in it's mission to record a program.