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Thread: Have You Ever Calculated Your Shop Energy Consumption and Expense?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Have You Ever Calculated Your Shop Energy Consumption and Expense?

    Planning my new shop and tool purchases I'm encountering a variety of machines with 3, 5 and even up to 7.5 HP motors. For a hobby woodworking shop at home, I'm wondering if I need machines rated that high. On the other hand I don't want to anything undersized, be disappointed and have to replace it.

    I'm also afraid of the unknown, the electrical bill, which led me the question of what it cost to operate a woodshop.

    Have you ever calculated (or measured) your shop energy consumption and expense?
    How much time do you spend in the shop?
    Of that, any idea how many hours the larger machines are running?

  2. #2
    I'm scared to even go there..lol I think my lighting eats as much or more electrons than the machines...

  3. #3
    Not to scare you off but my electric bill is about $200/mo. But I'm a pro and this is my shop I use for a living. Most of my motors are 3HP and single phase. I have one 3HP 3PH motor. Lighting is probably the most consistent energy burner though. My lighting is about 1200 w, so 1.2Kw/h when I'm in the shop minimum. Plus I have another 750 and another 480 in other rooms. Sometimes they are all on at the same time. I have a DC that is 2 1/2HP and is usually on at the same time as a 3HP machine.

    In the summer I have a 4 ton AC unit that is going almost continuously. Wintertime I have 1 or 2 175K BTU modine propane heaters going plus an electric heater (1500w) which keeps my drying room at 68-72F as soon as the temps start to go below that.

    Takes lots of power to keep it going.

  4. #4
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    My shop runs about 5 kW-hrs per day -- about $50/month at my billing rates. Most of the usage is lighting (500W), because it is on all the time. I'm in the shop something like 50 hours/week. Machines run only sporadically. The biggest power hog is the cyclone. It eats a couple kilowatts when it is running. No heating, no air conditioning.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Graywacz View Post
    Not to scare you off but my electric bill is about $200/mo. But I'm a pro and this is my shop I use for a living. Most of my motors are 3HP and single phase. I have one 3HP 3PH motor. Lighting is probably the most consistent energy burner though. My lighting is about 1200 w, so 1.2Kw/h when I'm in the shop minimum. Plus I have another 750 and another 480 in other rooms. Sometimes they are all on at the same time. I have a DC that is 2 1/2HP and is usually on at the same time as a 3HP machine.

    In the summer I have a 4 ton AC unit that is going almost continuously. Wintertime I have 1 or 2 175K BTU modine propane heaters going plus an electric heater (1500w) which keeps my drying room at 68-72F as soon as the temps start to go below that.

    Takes lots of power to keep it going.
    I can live with that; I just had no concept. Besides, after investing something north of $50k to build and outfit a shop I'm going to turn it on and use it. Otherwise what's the point, although I have a friend that does just that. He has a nice home shop mostly outfitted with Craftsmen products but hardly ever works in it.

    As you are in CT and I'm in CO, my jig-a-watts cost about 71% of yours or about $143 for the same usage. For that I am thankful. Further I'm just a hobbyist although as it will be a new house and garage I have a very long project list; maybe a couple years worth depending on how dedicated I get. I know I'll never run out of projects.

    I'll probably heat the garage (insulated 2x6 construction) with a natural gas hanging garage heater, but I don't know about AC yet. That will all depend on free time and the desire to convert materials into products.

    I'm not going to have multiple rooms as you have; at least not more than one active at any one time.

    Your post put my fears to rest.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    My shop runs about 5 kW-hrs per day -- about $50/month at my billing rates. Most of the usage is lighting (500W), because it is on all the time. I'm in the shop something like 50 hours/week. Machines run only sporadically. The biggest power hog is the cyclone. It eats a couple kilowatts when it is running. No heating, no air conditioning.
    A cyclone was one of the machines I am considering with a larger motor. The HP required to spin a blower surprised me. I'm also considering a vertical air compressor for all kinds of air tools. Both of those will be enclosed in a small utility room for noise control and ventilated outdoors as needed so they don't overheat.

    Some of the table saw motors' HP surprised me too. I realized I am going to have to decide what I need and draw a line. I'm not a production shop or a commercial cabinet shop. Where that line is, I don't know yet but think it lies with the largest piece of lumber I'll ever want to rip.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Erbele View Post
    I can live with that; I just had no concept. Besides, after investing something north of $50k to build and outfit a shop I'm going to turn it on and use it. Otherwise what's the point, although I have a friend that does just that. He has a nice home shop mostly outfitted with Craftsmen products but hardly ever works in it.

    As you are in CT and I'm in CO, my jig-a-watts cost about 71% of yours or about $143 for the same usage. For that I am thankful. Further I'm just a hobbyist although as it will be a new house and garage I have a very long project list; maybe a couple years worth depending on how dedicated I get. I know I'll never run out of projects.

    I'll probably heat the garage (insulated 2x6 construction) with a natural gas hanging garage heater, but I don't know about AC yet. That will all depend on free time and the desire to convert materials into products.

    I'm not going to have multiple rooms as you have; at least not more than one active at any one time.

    Your post put my fears to rest.
    Plus I'm on commercial rates and you are likely on residential. So no demand charge and a few others they stick us with to subsidize all the residential customers.

  8. #8
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    Hearing those numbers makes me feel better about my electrical cost in my little basement shop! Since it's in the basement I don't need additional AC or heat, and I'm in there maybe 12 hours/wk if I'm lucky.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Erbele View Post
    A cyclone was one of the machines I am considering with a larger motor. The HP required to spin a blower surprised me. I'm also considering a vertical air compressor for all kinds of air tools. Both of those will be enclosed in a small utility room for noise control and ventilated outdoors as needed so they don't overheat.

    Some of the table saw motors' HP surprised me too. I realized I am going to have to decide what I need and draw a line. I'm not a production shop or a commercial cabinet shop. Where that line is, I don't know yet but think it lies with the largest piece of lumber I'll ever want to rip.
    A 3 hp saw will cost you a lot less to run than a 3 hp cyclone. The cyclone is designed to run at near the rated hp of the motor. That is, a 3 hp cyclone draws 3 hp worth of power all the time it is running. In contrast, the saw draws only as much power as it needs to do the job at hand. If it is just spinning the blade but not cutting any wood, it draws almost no power. It draws maximum horsepower only with a big load -- like you're ripping 3" solid oak, feeding the lumber as fast as you can.

  10. #10
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    My machinery costs me very little to run, as the others have said it's the lighting that burns watt's! FWIW I run my shop 6 days a week with motors up to 25 hp. In the heaviest usage months my 3 phase panel still doesn't come close to my single phase, (lighting etc) panel.

    good luck,
    JeffD

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    That is, a 3 hp cyclone draws 3 hp worth of power all the time it is running.
    Only if you've got enough blast gates open to fully load it.

  12. #12
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    Im in the same range as Leo with a full time shop. About 4k sq', fluorescent lighting throughout, certain lights left on 24/7 and exterior dusk to dawn lighting. I dont think I have a piece of stationary equipment that is less that 5HP perhaps other than drill press. 5HP single phase is about my average. Power bill is in the 150 range but varies from 90 to just under 200 depending on season and work load.

    I dont think power consumption in a hobby shop with a 50k investment is really going to be an issue. If your worried about 50-100 a month but are at peace with dropping 50k on a hobby youve got an interesting sense of rationality

    It'd be like having a hobby around exotic automobiles but not wanting to buy gasoline. When you by a Lambo, the mileage really is irrelevant.

  13. #13
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    Jeff,
    Yours is a hobby shop, right? Mine is too, I had separate service run to my shop because is was quite a bit cheaper to have the power company dig the trench an bury a new cable from the pole than to have the contractor do the same from the house to the shop. Because of that I had to set up commercial instead of residential service because no one was actually live in the shop. In my neck of the woods a commercial account actually has a better rate than residential, but it has a minimum usage. I have never actually used over the minimum and my elec bill is around $32 a month for the shop. Now to be fair I do not use the shop every day, but I am down there just about every weekend and some evenings. My shop is 30X42. I have all the usual machines and a 3hp cyclone dust collection system. I have a window unit AC that I run in the summer. I would think that you will not need to worry about elec consumption in a hobby shop.
    Larry J Browning
    There are 10 kinds of people in this world; Those who understand binary and those who don't.

  14. #14
    I'm in the process of finishing the addition to my shop, and have been adding switches so I can switch on lights as I need them. Instead of turning 5-4 bulb fixtures on at a time, I'd prefer to turn on 2 or 3. Going to have to cut a hole in the wall to add a switch so I can turn on the light above the miter saw. Otherwise, just making use of available options as I'm working on the addition. Don't really see the need to turn on all the lights in the shop, as I am only working in one area at a time.

  15. #15
    If you run a one horsepower motor for one hour you will use 3/4 of a Kwh. Your electric bill should tell you what rate you are paying per Kwh. To figure out how much something will cost to run you would use horsepower x 3/4 x hours run x rate.

    When you figure it out keep in mind many tools only get turned on for a couple minutes at a time so unless you are doing A LOT of woodworking you wont and much to your electric bill.

    Also if for lighting you have florescent tube lights running 5 four bulb fixtures will use 1/2 Kwh per hour, which comes to about 6 cents per hour in my area. That cost would be lower if you have the energy efficient fixtures and bulbs.
    Universal M-300 (35 Watt CO2)
    Universal X-660 (50 Watt CO2)

    Hans (35 watt YAG)
    Electrox Cobra (40 watt YAG)


    Glass With Class, Cameron, Wisconsin

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