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A peak energy event kind of sounds like a scary thing. But for many households in the United States, this is a nightly occurrence, and most homeowners don’t even realize it happens.
The circuit breakers in most homes aren’t smart, but they are intelligent enough to cut the power if the system experiences an overload. The problem is that these peak events ensure that homes are wired to run at maximum capacity at all times.
This ensures that homeowners end up paying for extra power that they aren’t even using. But a smart load center not only cuts the need for power during low usage times, it also runs at maximum efficiency during peak energy events.
Electrifying homes has been a trend in the US since the 1950s. Over the ensuing decades household power usage was doubled, and doubled again, and again. All the while power grids struggled to keep up, and a similar problem exists today.
It’s no secret, household energy consumption is on the rise. More and more homeowners are opting for Electric Vehicles (EVs) that charge in their garages, while running their dishwashers, laundry machines, heat pumps and HVACs, televisions, and wifi.
When a house is full and nearly every electric unit is drawing power, intelligent load centers will shift power away from what’s not being used, and use any reserve power for only what’s running.
In fact, an organization called Rewire America found that the average peak energy event in US households lasts for under 12 minutes, and in 90% of cases simply shifting power from one unused appliance or system mitigated energy usage significantly.
What’s the point of running backup power to an appliance that’s not even functioning? Smart load centers have figured out this riddle, and have been designed to perform this function without the homeowner even knowing that it’s happening.
Averages vary across different climate zones in the country, but the average power consumption of a house per day in the US is around 370 kWh. This means that US households are highly electrified, especially when you consider that the average household in England consumes roughly half of that.
With a growing need for HVAC systems, efficient EV chargers, heat pumps, etc… This consumption is only going to increase. That’s going to be very taxing on homeowner’s circuit breakers, which are typically wired for around 200 amps maximum, at any given time.
A recent study conducted by the research firm Pecan Street revealed that given this rate of consumption and the need for more, 48 million homes in the US will need an electric service panel upgrade in order to fully electrify.
Right now, smart load centers are a great way to save electricity, but for many households they’re going to become a necessity.
In the meantime, as homeowners become mindful of their energy consumption, many have taken matters into their own hands with electricity usage calculators.
Free electricity usage monitors are available on the web, and not only can they help you calculate where you land in terms of the average household in your area, they can also help you figure out ways to save electricity.
The way household electricity consumption calculators work is they take a running total of all of your appliances and how long they’ve run. For example, if you used your stove for 30 minutes to cook dinner that’s how long you’d calculate the usage.
However, some appliances are always on, and the calculators have a special nuance for that. Refrigerators, for example, cycle on and off, so electricity usage calculators would have you calculate that it only ran for one-third of the day (8 hours).
The idea is to keep a running log and see how your habits change, and how you can correct them. There’s no real, clear indication of how energy usage can be cut, as homeowners just have to make a decision about where sacrifices need to be made.
A smart load center empowers home owners to actually do something about their energy consumption in real time. Controlled from a mobile app, homeowners are able to automate the process of shifting energy from unused appliances to functioning ones, or they can actually do it themselves.
This is a great way to save on energy costs, and the good features of a smart load center don’t stop there. For those homeowners who like remote control of their homes when they’re away, they’ll love smart circuit breakers.
Breakers, such as Leviton smart circuit breakers, can be tripped remotely from a mobile app, which is a feature that many homeowners love because it gives them peace of mind that they can actually do something to save their household in the event of an energy overload.
Alerts can be set up ahead of time as well, and these can let a homeowner know that energy usage is too little, too much, or out of the ordinary. This feature can also be used to set limits on monthly energy consumption, so you can cut back if you’re reaching your threshold.
Smart load centers haven’t become the norm yet, but data makes it pretty clear that most households are headed in that direction. It may cost some money up front to get a smart load center installed, but the monthly energy savings and peace of mind from having control over energy usage has been reason enough to convince many homeowners that now is the time to upgrade.