Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I saw this a couple of days ago while doing an air leakage inspection in a new, small vacation cabin. There are a lot of 15- and 20-amp AFCI/GFCI (or are they combo?) breakers in this panel, and they generate a LOT of heat. There was nothing on in the cabin when I got there, and the only thing I ran is my blower door fan. Not sure how much power this consumes, but I imagine it's fairly significant.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2015711172540_IR000004.jpg

30.05 KB

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ambient air temperature inside was 73, outside was 70. This image was taken after the BD fan had been running a while, and it definitely added a bit of heat to the panel, perhaps counteracted by the cool air being pulled into the panel via the crawl space. Marc's number is interesting to me. If it's 1.3 watts per breaker, and there are ten such breakers in the panel, and there are 19 such cabins in the resort, that's close to 2200 KwH per year that they are spending just to power the breakers themselves, or about $183 in our market.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2015711184641_IR000014.jpg

23.93 KB

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ambient air temperature inside was 73, outside was 70. This image was taken after the BD fan had been running a while, and it definitely added a bit of heat to the panel, perhaps counteracted by the cool air being pulled into the panel via the crawl space. Marc's number is interesting to me. If it's 1.3 watts per breaker, and there are ten such breakers in the panel, and there are 19 such cabins in the resort, that's close to 2200 KwH per year that they are spending just to power the breakers themselves, or about $183 in our market.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2015711184641_IR000014.jpg

23.93 KB

I wouldn't call that a "lot" of heat. The hottest thing in there is cooler than a baby with a fever.

That also doesn't seem particularly expensive to me. It comes out to about $10 per cabin per year. And, as Marc pointed out, during the winter, it offsets heating costs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ambient air temperature inside was 73, outside was 70. This image was taken after the BD fan had been running a while, and it definitely added a bit of heat to the panel, perhaps counteracted by the cool air being pulled into the panel via the crawl space. Marc's number is interesting to me. If it's 1.3 watts per breaker, and there are ten such breakers in the panel, and there are 19 such cabins in the resort, that's close to 2200 KwH per year that they are spending just to power the breakers themselves, or about $183 in our market.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2015711184641_IR000014.jpg

23.93 KB

I wouldn't call that a "lot" of heat. The hottest thing in there is cooler than a baby with a fever.

That also doesn't seem particularly expensive to me. It comes out to about $10 per cabin per year. And, as Marc pointed out, during the winter, it offsets heating costs.

Hopefully they have insulated the wall behind the panels, or a good portion of that heat will be lost to the outside. Our new codes here require insulation behind panels in exterior walls.

Electronics in general are powered by these cheap wall wart power supplies that waste a lot of juice. No surprise the new breakers do the same.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I'm curious to know if they consume more power when there's a load on the circuit. Anyone happen to know, or do I have to go out and buy an AFCI?

I doubt the electronic circuitry draws more power when the breaker is loaded but the other components (found on all circuit breakers) are still generate the same heat (in proportion to the square of the load current) that's passing through the device.

Marc

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom, I think it is. When you're inside a house doing infrared, the panel cover is often room temperature and barely even shows up on your screen. This one was quite warm from the start. Marc and Jim are correctly pointing out that the energy used offsets heating, which in this case is electric wall heaters so it's a 1:1 trade-off during heating season. In an A/C climate you'll be buying cooling to offset this heating. Not a lot of watts, just something I found surprising and interesting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...