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Old 07-13-2004, 08:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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welder vs. electricity bill

I am electricity-knowledge challenged...

I've got a Snap-on FM140A mig: http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/pro_d...re&dir=catalog (which I bought for $250, not the price on that site)

My question is in regards to using a 115 welder compared to one that requires 220, and if that could affect how my electricity bill has jumped almost double in recent months since I've been using it at the house?
When I'm using it, I've heard that you can tell (when you're inside) because of some lights dimming and the TV getting staticky (sp?)
I really like the welder but would consider something requireing 220 eventually, if that would possibly bring the electric bill down to something less than $220+.
Does this have any bearing? or can I start bagging on my GF for running the washer/dryer, attic fan/AC (cigarette smoke) every d@mn day?
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Old 07-13-2004, 10:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There are a lot of factors here, but at in it's simplest form:

Your welder did not double your electricity bill. It only draws 20amps. Your AC unit/fan unit gobbles about 3x the amount of electricity that your welder does, and your AC unit runs MUCH more often. Unless you are some type of pro who is applying your MIG gun to metal about 18 hours a day at maximum output (which you're not doing, are you?)

So the answet to question #1 is this: No, your welder did not double your electricity bill. The dryer and AC unit will have a greater impact.

Your welder can cause interference on other house branch circuits. Yes, a 110v welder can be plugged in anywhere, but if you're using it at home, you should have a sepaerate branch circuit wired up that you use exclusively for the welder. It should have it's own 20amp breaker. At the minimum, that should eliminate static and/or dimming on other branches. If you are still getting dimming on other branches when you switch the welder ON while it's on it's own circuit, it's because you're maxing your total breaker panel capacity ANYWAY. And the welder is just icing on the cake. That's probably not the case, so a separate circuit will probably eliminate those problems.

Another way to eliminate them is to make sure your dedicated welder circuit is wired up on the other 110v phase from the dimming/staticky circuits. You probably don't know what I'm talking about, so get a friend or electrician who does to add your circuit for you.

Finally, a 220v circuit and a welder that uses it will draw even MORE amps and total watts than a small 110v welder. You're actually MORE Likely to affect more branch circuits in your house using a 220v welder. Now, a 220v welder circuit will be balanced, and there's almost no way, if it's on it's own branch, that it will affect other circuits (unless, again, you are nearing max capacity anyway.) Still, the answer to question #2 is:

Moving to a 220v circuit on it's own will NOT solve your problem, but a 220v welder is always a good idea.

I tried to eliminate technical jargon, but here's the summary:

Get your 110v welder on it's own branch circuit. Tell your old lady that it's HER running up the electricity bill. Just what you wnated to hear!
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Old 07-14-2004, 08:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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"Electric bill doubled in recent months"

Hmm... that does seem really odd, the minute summer rolls around the electric bill goes up. Must be the welder!

Sigh... we were getting 7c KWH (good rate!), last month it was billed at 15c KWH! My $180 bill was about $400. OUCH!!! Oh, the spouse loves it to be 68F in the house. Yep, must be my welder.

Tom
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Old 07-14-2004, 10:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Matt, mine has also doubled since the shop was put up, but that's from about $25 during the summer to $50/55 during the summer now, and it's only that high when I've done a couple of all-nighters out in the shop. IOW, that increase is not only the welder, but also the plasma, the compressor (which definitely dims everything in the house when it kicks on), the lights (six 8ft flourescents now) and the ceiling and floor fans in the shop....oh and the stereo out there (small but it all adds up)

IOW, I just don't see how your welder could double your bill, particularly $100+

Oh, AND when the shop went up the clothesline came down, so we run the dryer more now during the summer than we did before the shop. Been too lazy to put the clothesline back up.
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Rusted, thanks for the insight. It helps a lot.

fj40guy, glad I could help you pad your post count.

D60, I didn't realize you even had electricity.

I know the welder isn't the REASON for the high bill. I know it's July and it's always the most expensive time of year. But when I get asked if the fact that the lights and TV flicker, has any bearing on the high bill, I don't know what to say. I didn't even know they did that. This helps though. Thanks.

Regards,
-matt
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Old 07-14-2004, 02:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Its not too hard to estimate the cost.... Assuming you have a regular residential type electric meter & not some peak rate industrial setup.

Single Phase:

(Current Draw)(Voltage)(1KW/1000W)(Hours of Use)(Electric Rate) = Cost

(20A)(110V)(1KW/1000W)(8hr)($.115/KWH) = $2.02/8 hr day @ 100% duty cycle

For 3 phase Mulitply by 1.73
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Old 07-15-2004, 06:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You might consider a small generator to run the welder. A friend of mine claimed it was cheaper to do that than pay the higher electic bill. Besides, you can prove to your GF that its not you who makes the bill so high.
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Old 07-20-2004, 09:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It's not the welder, it's the grow lights.
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Old 07-20-2004, 09:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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compare bills to the same month a year ago, and be sure to take into account any increase in rates.
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Old 07-20-2004, 11:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I did 4 suspension's , 3 roll cages, 1 hood mod, lawn mower bumper with stinger, and a few little odd's and end's.My bill was only $24 for the moth of June.We have it on a seperate bill than the 2 homes are.Ohh yeah my dad was out there running the planer, drill press, sander, and lathe.I also used the power bender air 2 griners at once and the drill press with a miller 220 that is about 10 years old before they were made energy efficient...lol
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Old 07-22-2004, 03:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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My 110 volt welder would pull the lights down in the house then I got a Hobart 175 22o welder. It did about the same then had a new breaker box with more amps put in for A/C and the welder doesn't bother the house now.

It is still cheaper doing it youself then having it done and with the price of gas I would just pay the electric bill. If I could get the wife and girls to turn the lights off when they are done it would cut mine down.
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