Device Comparison

The ability to measure the performance of my current appliances in order to rationalize new purchases to certain other interested parties is one of the main advantages I see in bringing Sense into my home. Now that I have some preliminary data on my fridge, I would love to see how it stacks up against other user’s devices and compare makes and models. Of course there is a privacy concern here(!), but maybe this could be facilitated by giving users the ability to opt-in to sharing aggregate electrical consumption data within the community? Just musing and curious to see what others think!

P.S. Unfortunately, my 13 y.o. LG fridge is not inefficient enough to justify replacement. :upside_down_face:

My fridge seems to consume about 150W when running…and kicks on for 30 minutes and turns off for about an 1 hour in between…

Not sure if that helps… But that’s my experience… Mine is a old Maytag, and is a very basic fridge… Nothing fancy… I think we paid $350 for it 10 years ago… If this is interesting, I can go beyond guessing and can find my receipts and records to give you something more accurate…

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Thank you for sharing!

For this particular situation, I find it helpful to also consult energystar ratings and consumption estimates for new devices. For example, the current estimate that my fridge uses 427kWh seems pretty efficient.

But it would be great if there was a feature that could leverage the mass of data being generated by the community to inform decisions about purchasing a new device. Like a database that we could choose whether or not to participate in at the device-level.

No small task, but would be super cool and - I believe - add lots of value.

There already is a database… Check this forum thread.

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For me, the real value is noting the trend of my specific appliance’s behavior, comparing it to the previous few months.

When we first installed the Sense, it was obvious our very old freezer (in the basement) was both a power hog and nearing its end-of-life, as it was actively running 50+ minutes out of every hour. After a couple of months, it was also clear that the “actively-on” time was gradually increasing. Knowing that, we were able to “shop around” and plan for replacing the freezer, taking advantage of seasonal sales to save several hundred dollars over having to replace it “in a hurry” when it finally failed. (That’s on top of the energy cost savings from the newer freezer efficiency.)

Fast forward a few years: Same thing happened with our kitchen fridge: It failed to restart immediately after a power outage. Fortunately, cycling the circuit power did restart the fridge. Taking that ‘warning’, I looked at the Sense power meter for that (long-since detected) device and could see that for the past 6 weeks or so its power-on time had been gradually increasing too. Just as with the freezer, we then were able to plan for and take advantage of sale prices to schedule the replacement of the fridge before it failed completely – and saving a bunch on the price as well has having a more energy-efficient fridge.

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My OLD Amana fridge has no ice maker, water dispenser, anything. Mine is on 10 or 11 minutes at a time, starts at 168 watts and gradually drops to 141 watts. When we haven’t opened it, there’s 35 minutes between compressor cycles. Sense has estimated a yearly cost of $20. This is also for a fridge manufactured in April 2003.

If I look at the energy start ratings of my current fridge vs. a new comparable one (same manufacturer/style, Whirlpool Cabinet-Depth side-by-side), the numbers have not improved much. The same goes for the gas water heater I replaced a month ago (previous one was 12 years old). In fact my AOSmith water heater got larger as well (20 to 22 inches across), since now they use more/thicker insulating material to improve the energy efficiency (for the same volume/capacity of the heater). The same is true for refrigerator doors where now all of them ‘appear’ thicker/deeper. What used to be a ‘cabinet-depth’ fridge (based on outside dimensions) has now LESS interior volume, because of thicker insulation. Also, from multiple observations, my conclusion is that the energy star ratings typically do not improve much before end-of-life of the device itself, except perhaps with better cooling technology. Some fridges now have a metal cold plate inside, where now it appears fridges are using ‘radiating cold plates’ vs. forced cold air for simpler models. However, those fridges typically command a much higher price (4k vs. $1500). This said, I would refrain from changing appliances just because the new ones have a slightly better Energy Star number.

However, one aspect we might be overlooking here is cleaning/maintenance. Whether it is your fridge or your AC sitting outside, those devices use heat exchangers. The fins tend to attract/collect a lot of dust, which hurts the thermal exchange and could lower your appliance’s efficiency. By how much is another (difficult to answer) question.

The one thing I would do first then, is to go and clean and remove all the dust accumulated on the
heat exchanger’s parts. Do not be afraid of using a screw driver and removing panels, but at the same time careful not to break anything or else, your wish to replace the appliance will become a must.