# Doorbell always uses electricity!

Page 3 of 10
• posted on November 20, 2008, 2:29 pm
on 11/20/2008 7:48 AM George said the following:

My transformer is mounted just outside the power box in the basement. Since all the heat in my finished basement where my office is located is supplied by the ambient heat of the boiler and water heater, it adds to the ambient heat. Right now, it is 28º F outside and it is 66º F inside the basement.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 10:17 pm
wrote:

The fact that my doorbell transformer is not remotely warm to the touch would indicate to me it is not dissipating 3 watts of power (and it IS powering an incandescent lighted push button)
The lighted button helps find the key in the dark, so I don't really care if it costs me \$3 a year.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 12:48 pm

Such a door bell transformer is typically capable of a maximum of 7 watts or less when it is actually ringing the bell or door chime. Many are not designed for continuous use. Next time I have spare moment will measure the amount of electrcity such a transformer takes in it' 'idle' state. It's most likely a few milliamps. Well lets say 10 milliamps (A 100th of one amp) to be generous to a fairly low grade transformer. One 100th of an amp at 115 volts = 1.15 watts per hour, 27.6 watt hours per day or 10,074 watt hours per year. That's just over 10 kilowatt hours per year. Although I doubt it is that high? At my cost of electrcity (ten cents per kilowatt hour) that's just about one dollar per year. A saving of one dollar per year (over 20 years) could probably amortize a capital saving at the start of that period of around \$12. Spend more that and it not economic. Our transformer which has been in place for the last 38 years does run slightly warm. In this cool climate that warmth does very, very slightly, but insignificantly, contribute to the electric house heating. Probably less so than normally leaving the bath and shower water to cool down to house temperature. Seemed like rather pointless exercise?
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 6:17 pm
terry wrote:

Actually, a big transformer that draws an amp with no load may use less power than a little transformer that draws half an amp. It's resistance from the copper windings and the iron core that uses power. Without resistance, the current is 90 degrees out of phase with supplied voltage, and that means no power.
I think the solution is a DC chime with a modern wall wart. To get the Energy Star rating, a wall wart up to 50 watts can't use more than 0.3 watts idling. That would mean about 25 cents a year for electricity. My remaining question is how long a particular wall wart would last.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 9:16 pm
E Z Peaces wrote:

Good idea. Everybody has boxes full of wall-warts whose original device has passed on. Shouldn't be too much of a problem to modify one of the right voltage.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 2:36 pm
On Wed, 19 Nov 2008 18:47:09 -0800 (PST), Seerialmom

One can be sure that light used about 2.75 watts of the three that the user measured. Not that I'd trust a toy like the 'Kill-A-Watt' to make accurate power measurements, especially at those lower power levels... <g>
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 3:02 am

Congratulations. You've just made a potentially lethal accident waiting to happen. And somehow I suspect your insurance won't pay if someone dies. I would STRONGLY suggest you do one of 2 things. 1. Rewire that doorbell to it's original configuration. or 2. Put a GFCI into the circuit
Either way I think would be safe. Option 1 of course would be cheaper, but if you insist on saving the few pennies worth of electricity, then option 2 would work. And it would be a rather interesting experiment to see how often the GFCI trips.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 4:02 am

A gfci won't deal with the issue of low voltage wiring carrying 110. It is a fire waiting to happen, especially if there is any possibility of rodents.
It is unfunckingbelievable what people will do to trim off a ten cent/year cost.
That's right. Maybe ten cents in an entire year. maybe.
The cost of the pushbutton guarantees that the change will never ever pay for itself.
And that isn't counting the insane fire hazzard.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 2:41 pm
On Wed, 19 Nov 2008 22:02:33 -0600, AZ Nomad

The OP claims to have rewired the entire circuit with romex... He used 14 AWG, though considering how little real thinking he did, I'd suspect anything and everything he did.

And thinkg "Wow, what a good guy I am, so smart!"

That's my calculation too.

Don't ignore the cost of rewiring the button, the romex, the new box, and the labor. Like I said earlier, payback is sometime about the time hell freezes over, assuming it can.

Let's be thankful that he's not living near us! (At least I hope not...)
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 3:39 pm
And what was your electric bill last month?
My electric bill is about \$120 less each month because of things I have done in the past to save energy. Basically many little things and a couple of big things which all add up.
1 plus 2 plus 1 plus 8 plus 1 plus 1 = 14
This same idea works at the gas station. 10 cents less a gallon at a particular station, fill up 15 gallon tank, do this 3 times a week... Can make quite a difference if you know how to add.
This project was paid for by money I am saving on my electric bill. And it was only about \$8 because the transformer is in a closet by the door, so short wire run. So \$120 savings minus \$8 leaves me with \$112 *extra* money actually.
Everything was installed and wired to code. Metal box and brass plate are grounded, on GFCI circuit (wet location), wire is 14 gauge romex (regular electrical wiring, not doorbell wiring), and the momentary push button switch is rated at 120VAC (not a low voltage doorbell button).
This is my 401K. What better way to go into retirement than to set yourself up for a low cost of living!
My electric rates went up 13 percent just this year. How much will they go up in the next 20 years?
Basically there has been a trend to manufacture products which always use electricity. I'm reversing that trend at my house. I turn this stuff off when not in use (power strips with switches on them). And switches similar to this...
http://www.orphanespresso.com/images/Illuminated%20wall%20switch.jpg
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 3:44 pm

Oh, I dunno, a couple of hundred dollars. We have an outdoor hot tub, so the power consumption of doorbells and light bulbs really is in the noise.
Cindy Hamilton
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 3:52 pm

Wow that \$120 is half my average total monthly energy bill for this 4 bedroom all-electric house in a cold climate!
What do you use for heating? Gas (said to be cheaper) not available here. And oil just too expensive and too much of a liability and maintenance expense.
A neighbour (also all electric house, as most are here) has gone all CFLs but says it makes very little difference to their electric bill.
CFLs make sense for outdoor locations so maybe when our long life incandescent burns out (after several years) will try one outside. Can't use CFLs in our two motion sensor fixtures, but those only come on for short periods when activated.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 7:17 pm

You didn't trim \$120/month by eliminating three cent/month transformers.

I also know that spending two hundred hours to trim three dollars a year off one's electric bill is insanity.
Turn the thermostat two degrees and it'll outweigh removing every single transformer in the house.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 10:24 pm
On Thu, 20 Nov 2008 13:17:05 -0600, AZ Nomad

And instead of driving all over town to save \$0.05 a gallon on fuel, drive less, don't haul junk in the car, drive an efficient vehicle, keep it tuned and the tires inflated, and stay home more.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 7:33 pm
On Thu, 20 Nov 2008 07:39:11 -0800, "Bill"

Your bell transformer was using \$120 worth of electricity? That must have been one hell of a big transformer, and an even bigger bell!

Try considering a cost/benefit analysis next time then do something that is meaningful. Bottom line is that you saved perhaps a dollar or two a year if you eliminated the door-bell transformer, not that sillyi \$120 you are quoting!

âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 21, 2008, 1:48 am
Bill wrote:

Eek! My electric bill is around \$40-45 total for my house, and I've got an old refrigerator and several computers that run 24/7. But gas heat.
Dave
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 3:10 am
Bill wrote:

I had a friend some years ago who ran the communications division of the local power company. This was back when they had HF radios for communications and the techs actually had to know something about electronics. They would get electronic interference complaints which were often traced to doorbell transformers. It was a very common problem and one that many people don't even think of today.
TDD
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 20, 2008, 6:40 pm
The Daring Dufas wrote:

Sorry, but I have a hard time believing that.
If it was "a very common problem", can you offer a cite proving that a 60 hz transformer and 10-50 feet of unshielded wire with 24 vac on it can cause interference at radio frequencies?
Wouldn't you expect that if that story was true those big pole pig transformers and all that higher voltage wiring running on the poles on nearly every street would have caused the radios to melt? <G>
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 21, 2008, 12:09 am
Jeff Wisnia wrote:

According to the FCC Interference Handbook, defective doorbell transformers are often a source of interference to TVs and other household electronics. It may be a neighbor's transformer. I think it happens when part of the core comes loose and vibrates.
âœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
• posted on November 21, 2008, 1:40 am
E Z Peaces wrote:

I'm no EE, but I would guess that most of the in-house interference is back down along the power lines, not through the air. I know that on the baby shortwave I use to AM-band DX myself to sleep at night, when some unknown something in my house (or one of the neighbor's houses on the same pole can) is running, I can't get S**t to come in. But if I unplug the wall wart and run on batteries it comes in fine, as long as the unplugged cord is over a foot from the radio. Intermittent as hell, and annoying.
-- aem sends...