home electrical balancing

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  #1  
Old 11-26-12, 08:17 PM
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home electrical balancing

I've been getting annoyed at my high electrical bills and was told by a coworker to look into my circuit breaker panel, load balancing. From everything I've read online the most efficient way to use electricity is to use both phases without the neutral. Most of my load uses one phase with neutral so it occurred to me that it would be much cheaper to use a transformer that steps the 220 volts from the primary phase to phase; to 110 volts phase to phase on the secondary. Basically my house would be without any neutral at the receptical to achieve perfect balance. I attached a diagram of what i'm talking about. I'm guessing there's some reason that this doesn't make sense, and would like to understand the reasoning.
 
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Old 11-26-12, 08:22 PM
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Electric meters register watthours and utility companies bill according to watthours. What you were told will not reduce the watts of power being consumed.

From everything I've read online the most efficient way to use electricity is to use both phases without the neutral
You have single phase power coming into your home. If what you are proposing were true, electric water heaters would operate at very low cost, but they don't. It's the wattage that is increasing your bills.
 
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Old 11-26-12, 08:27 PM
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Joe is right......you pay by the watthour. By putting in the transformer you show in your picture you are still using the same power.....actually more now because transformers aren't 100% effecient.


On edit: Ahhh......I see you're from NJ too. Yes.....my electric bill is nothing to sneeze at either. I do save some money on an alternate energy provider.
 

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Old 11-26-12, 08:31 PM
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My main source is Power loads - Balancing Electrical Loads - Unbalanced Loads

This webpage leads me to believe that my energy bill is determined specifically by a balanced load. Can you please explain if the webpage is incorrect or if there is something else that i'm missing.
 
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Old 11-26-12, 08:35 PM
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everything is expensive in jersey.
 
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Old 11-26-12, 08:41 PM
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So if you are running two 120-volt window air conditioners that draw 10 amps each and they are on the same leg of power, your demand is 20 amps on a leg. But if you place them on separate legs of power, now your demand is only 1 amps, get it?
Get it.....get what

That article does have some good points in it but balancing your load to keep peak demand down is not one of them.
For one thing.....there is no peak demand in residential service.
 
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Old 11-27-12, 06:30 AM
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Attempting to "balance" a single phase panel in a house is a waste of time and effort. The loads shift throughout the day. What is balanced is the morning is not the same as the night time.

Balancing a panel is more critical on multi-phase panels like in commercial applications.
 
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Old 11-27-12, 05:49 PM
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There is some validity in the article which would apply to industrial users and high use commercial users such as a multi-story office building, but demand metering is reserved for those high use accounts and not used in residential metering, like PJ mentioned. There are many strategies, such as load shedding, for shaving peaks in those mostly industrial accounts, but you are wasting your time balancing the loads in your residential panel. Residential single phase service is derived from a single phase of a 3-phase distribution circuit. No matter how well balanced or out of balance your residential service may be, it all comes from that single phase at the top of the pole.

From everything I've read online the most efficient way to use electricity is to use both phases without the neutral
Your obsession with the neutral is unfounded in my opinion; the use of the neutral isn't metered at all. Only the power being delivered through your two hot legs passes through the typical residential meter.
 
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Old 11-27-12, 07:21 PM
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Not that you need another opinion, but most of your high-wattage loads in a residence are 240v loads, which by definition are balanced across the two legs.

As for other balancing, I would recommend not putting your fridge, window AC, chest freezer, etc. all on one leg, but for the only reason of not wanting to overload one leg. If you have a 100A service, you have basically 100A on each leg... so in theory you could overload one leg while still having capacity on the other. Quite unlikely though.

As others have said, you're billed by watt-hour (or kWh), and watts are measured independent of voltage or leg. 2,000 watt hours on one leg is the same cost as 1,000 watt hours on two separate legs.
 
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