Chicken water heater--energy hog?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by derbychick, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. derbychick

    derbychick Out Of The Brooder

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    We got our second horrendous utility bill yesterday... we have a gas furnace and water heater, but since December our electric bill has rivaled those of the high summer months. The only difference between this year and last year is frequent use of a 30-year-old chicken water heater (or whatever they're called). Is it even possible that it could be using 200-300 kwh of electricty per month?

    Just wondering! Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If it is 30 yrs old it certainly isn't energy efficient by todays standards. Turn it off and see what happens if you can. I would also start looking for pin hole leaks in hotwater lines and listening carefully in my house for sounds of things running that shouldn't be. Small appliances use electricity just by virtue of being plugged in. Go around and unplug everything that you aren't using as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2008
  3. RepoBob

    RepoBob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you post of pick of the water heater, It would help if I could actually see what you mean. If its one of those small one that float in the water or sit under the bowl it would be possible but not probable. If it is a tank that hold the water with the heating elements in it then it is very possible. If you can get a hold of an amp meter take a reading on any one of the wires (except green) that will tell you how many amps your drawing. It is possible that the heating element has gone bad and is leaking current to the water then to ground. If it is a tank be sure that it is grounded well for your saftey. Another solution would be to disconnect it and see if the wheel in your electric meter spins faster when it is pluged it. If its drawing that much power you should see a noticeable difference. Good Luck and be safe electricity needs to be respected...be careful.


    Bob
     
  4. derbychick

    derbychick Out Of The Brooder

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    Charlestown, IN
    I don't have a picture of it, Bob, but it is the disk type that you set the waterer on. That's a good idea to test it... we are kind of clueless about these things! Finding an electricity leak seems a lot harder than finding a water leak.

    I really hope this is it, otherwise we have bigger problems. Thanks for your help, both of you... I'll keep you posted! [​IMG]

    Andrea
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    if you do not have the patience to see whether plugging/unplugging changes how fast the wheel on your electricity meter spins, you can now buy a gadget ($20 or so) that will more or less instantaneously tell you how much current a given appliance is using. Ask at Radio Shack or somewhere like that.

    Note that if you use it on something thermostatically-controlled, make sureyou are measuring draw with the heating element kicked 'on'.

    You're not also using a heat lamp, are you? Now *there's* a significant electricity hog...

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. RepoBob

    RepoBob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Finding an electricity leak seems a lot harder than finding a water leak
    Yup... Thats why electricians cost more that plumbers. [​IMG]
    The kind you have probably would burn up before consuming that kind of electricity. If its the kind I think you are talking about they aren't that expensive and if its that old I'd replace it.
    Never thought of the gadget Pat mentioned, but I've heard those work good too. It would really help you isolate your problem. Don't know about where you are at but here electricians are about $100/ hr. Usually with a problem like yours diagnosis takes the most time.
    Good Luck
     
  7. seagullplayer

    seagullplayer Out Of The Brooder

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    If it is really eating the juice, looking at the meter while someone unpluggs it should tell you something.

    If that is not it, you can do the same thing while someone shuts off breakers in the house one at a time, maybe that will help you find the problem.

    I was looking at a water heated bowl today, it is made with dogs in mind, but I didn't see any reason I couldn't use it for chickens. If was about $22 and was 50 watt. Meaning it would draw about 1/2 amp. Think half the cost of a 100 watt light bulb left on.

    I think I am going to get one, keeping water in the coop is my biggest problem in the winter, and could really boost egg production.
     
  8. RepoBob

    RepoBob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The meter will take a while to slow down its rotation after the load is removed.( some kinda Physics thing) Thats why I suggested watching it while the load was applied. The same thing would work with breakers, watch the meter as you turn them on. That would be another good way to help isolate your problem.
    Like seagull says, a new one is only 22 bucks. Even if your dish is not the problem a new one will pay for itsel in efficency over the old one. Old electrical stuff tends to corrode inside over the years. As it corodes it causes more resistence which results in more watts to accomplish the same heating effect.
     
  9. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Quote:That would be a 500 watt heater. I doubt it's you're problem. 500 watts (1600 BTUs)
    could heat a small room.
     

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