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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to get a better idea of how much my tanks are costing me in terms of energy use and then look at ways of making them a bit more efficiant. Does anyone have a way or equation for figuring the energy usage on lights, heaters, pumps ect.?
 

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I used the killawatt. It makes it easy.

An alternative is getting all your wattage ratings of all of the plugins on your system. But, you run into a problem when calculating the heater as you really don't know how many hours it's on in a day. But, if you'd like an equation, I can give you a simple example.

Let's say your lights are 54 watts and run 8 hours per day. You need to calculate killowatts drawn by that. A killowatt is 1000 watts of usage.

So,

54 X 8 = 432 watts in a day

432 X 30 (average days in a month) = 12,960 watts used in a month

divide 12,960 / 1000 to convert to killowatts => 12.960 killowatts

then multiply that by your killowatt charge on your electric bill, let's say .13

So, 12.960 X .13 = $1.68 total cost for lighting in a month, not too bad

Let's look at a bigger wattage eater, say a sump pump that draws 145 watts

145 X 24 (runs constant, so 24 hours) = 3480

3480 X 30 days = 104,400 watts

104,400 / 1000 = 104.4 killowatts

104.4 X .13 = $13.57 per month to run the sump pump

Sump pumps draw a lot of wattage, and run 24 hours a day, so can cost considerably more than just about any other piece of equipment. Heaters could potentially be next, but can vary quite a bit. You can always watch it for a while and log the on and off times and see how long it's on in an hour. You can do this while watching your fish, so not too bad. HOB filters, air pumps, single tube common fluorescents, not so much. And not so much on the lights because they're one thing that doesn't run 24 hours. Canisters aren't too bad either. For instance the Eheim classics 2212, 2215, and 2217 draw 8, 15, and 20 watts respectively, according to one site. HOB's are going to be similar. The AC110 draws 14 watts, the AC70 draws 6 watts. Hydor Koralia pumps average 8 - 18 watts. Hagen AquaClear power heads run between 6 - 20 watts.

But getting the killowatt is easier.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys! :thumb: i think I will pick up one of those gadgets. I'll bet it will pay itself off many times over.
 

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Honestly, I could care less. I have never seen any of my tanks have an impact on my power bill. While the equipment undoubtedly draws power, it has never been enough that I could equate part of my energy bill to the tanks. I have 8 tanks and my ac/heat is always 80% of my bills. My electric drops way down during the winter, since my heat is gas that part of the bill goes up. Since my tanks run on electricity and that part of my bill is low during the winter I can rule them out as a major contributing factor to my energy bills. I also run lots of computers and electronics, doesn't affect anything. I mean, don't get me wrong, they all use power. Just not the amount of power that affects your bill. Your appliances running on 220 are what peaks your bill.
 

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I dunno man... I have 6 aquariums, each with a light, filter & heater.
It will add up.

But yeah, I know what you mean about the computers, etc.

Depends on the cost of electricity in your area.
 

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$70 per month for my 5 sump pumps alone, $130 total for my 24 tanks, per month. It definitely can add up. The killowatt helped me knock a huge amount off of my bill. I was running LED lighting thinking it was cheap, and it was costing me a fortune. Should have read the wattage on the label.
 

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addict.
 

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prov356 said:
$70 per month for my 5 sump pumps alone, $130 total for my 24 tanks, per month. It definitely can add up. The killowatt helped me knock a huge amount off of my bill. I was running LED lighting thinking it was cheap, and it was costing me a fortune. Should have read the wattage on the label.
24 tanks??? :eek:

We needs some pictures.
 

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Glaneon said:
I dunno man... I have 6 aquariums, each with a light, filter & heater.
It will add up.

But yeah, I know what you mean about the computers, etc.

Depends on the cost of electricity in your area.
We do have some of the cheapest energy costs in the country, from what I hear. My energy bill during the summer can get to $250 with the Texas heat, but that is all AC. During the winter, my bills drop to $120 and only $50-60 of that is electric. I'm not saying they can't affect anything, I just don't really see an impact on my bill with all my stuff. Like you said, maybe its the energy costs in the area. I have no idea how the prices are for the rest of the country, so in an attempt to figure it out, here is my December energy bill:

Current Electricity Charge: $63.20
Current Natural Gas Charge: $53.71
Total Current Energy Charge: $116.91

Electric
Residential Electric
Service Availability Charge $8.25
Energy Charge 707 kWh x $0.0668 $47.23
Fuel Adjustment 707 kWh x $0.00719 $5.08
Regulatory Adj 707 kWh x $0.00373 $2.64
Total Electric Bill (Non-Taxable) $63.20

Gas
General Service
Service Availability Charge $8.95
Energy Charge 59 ccf x $0.472 $27.85
Fuel Adjustment 59 ccf x $0.28664 $16.91
Total Natural Gas Bill (Non-Taxable) $53.71
 

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check out your local public library. Some states like georgia actually have kill-a-watt meters that you can sign out of the public libraries.
 

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Tank Electrical Costs – Especially Heaters
Note – If you don’t want to read through all of this, just skip down to the second last paragraph.

I have seen posts where people want to know the cost of running their tanks for a month. Lighting is easy because the wattage is listed on the lamps and we can estimate the hours per day that the lamps are on. Filters are on continually so it is just a matter of checking the specs for the filter wattage.

The trickier part is the heater because it goes off and on. I tried watching my heater in my 45 gallon tank while I worked at the computer. I tried to record the time it went off and on for two hours. Sometimes I’d miss it though and would have to estimate. I came up with ON 22% of the time.

I have 5 tanks so I needed a better idea. Over two weeks I randomly walked by the tanks and checked off on a piece of paper if the heater was on or off. I tried to do it randomly, not every 10 minutes in case a heater was running say, an 8 min. off, 2 min. on cycle. I did this about a 100 times over many days but it took less time than sitting watching a tank for two hours. The 45 gallon tank was on 20.3% of the time so I feel my method was fairly accurate. The chart below shows my results.

180 gal. – 250 W heater = 1.4 W/gal. On 31.4% Cost per month is $5.21
90 gal. – 250 W heater = 2.8 W/gal. On 35.6% Cost per month is $5.91
45 gal. – 200 W heater = 4.4 W/gal. On 20.3% Cost per month is $2.70
33 gal. – 150 W heater = 4.5 W/gal. On 36.4% Cost per month is $3.63
23 gal. – 50 W heater = 2.2 W/gal. On 100% Cost per month is $3.32

All heaters were set for 77-78 F and room temperature in all rooms was 70-71 F so we are looking at 7 degrees heating (about 4 degrees C) above room temperature. All heaters but one were Ebo-Jagers (the other a Visi-Therm). All were installed in the upright position.

What amazed me was how efficient large tanks are at conserving heat. The watts/gallon figures are not used in calculating dollar costs but make for interesting comparisons. You would think that the more watts per gallon you have, the less the heater would be on. Surprisingly, that is not always the case. I was worried about heating a 180 gallon tank with a 250 W heater (would it be enough heat output?) but it is on less often than the same size and brand heater on my 90 gallon. I surmise that this is due to the larger volume of water retaining heat better and the fact that the glass is thicker. Also my 180 gallon is my only tank with foam insulation underneath so maybe that makes a difference. Other factors that could affect your heating are: the location of the tank (by a window, wall, open door), the type water movement in the tank, location of heat vents in the home, and the type and amount of covering for the tank. [So tell the spouse you need a bigger tank and it won’t cost any more to run it!!! (At least the electricity part)].

In case you wonder how to calculate the cost of the heater, I will give you an example. My 200 W heater is on 20.3% of the time so that is 20.3% out of 24 hours so .203 x 24 x 30.4 days in a month = 148.1 hours a month. 148.1 x 200 Watts = 29,620. I am paying 9.1 cents per kilowatt hour so that is 29,620/1000 x .091 = $2.70 per month. You can calculate your lights and filters the same way. I am calculating in Canadian dollars.

I don’t have live plants so I have single bulb lighting and the lights are only on an average of 6 hours per day (so for me I multiply watts of lighting by .25).

Examples of filter energy use are: AquaClear 110 – 14 Watts, AquaClear 70 – 6 W, AquaClear 50 – 6 W, and Eheim 2217 – 20 W. Amongst my five tanks I have 9 filters.

I calculated that the cost total for electricity for the 5 tanks I have, to be $29.91 per month, which averages out to $6 a month per tank. 70% of that electrical cost is for heaters, 22% for filters, and 8% for lights. If you live in an area where your home is above 70 degrees F much of the time because of the warm weather, your heating costs would be less. If you are heavily into lighting, that portion will be more.

Other costs would be costs of the water (I am on a flat rate at the moment, not a meter), and the cost of heating the water as you do water changes – most people would not be adding it cold from the tap but trying for tank temperature around tank temperature. That calculation is for another day.

So there you have it. If you are too lazy to do all this math and recordkeeping, you can use the $6 a month per tank average for light, filter, and heater expenses if your electricity rate is around 9 cents per kilowatt hour. A 12 cent/kwh rate would be $8 a month per tank; 18 cents works out to $12 a month.

I have been back into fish keeping for the past seven years. I have put off doing these calculations because I really did not want to know the answers. The costs were not as expensive as I had thought. You might think I’m crazy to go to all the trouble math-wise, but I must confess to being a math teacher. Say, I think I might use this as a bonus question on next week’s quiz!!
 
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