How much energy does an appliance use?

The real answer, if you have read The Battery Powered Home: Foolproof Grid Tied Lithium Storage, is an easy one, but not a very informative one. However, if you are designing an energy storage system then it is vital to the longevity of the system to know your energy consumption. And this is true regardless of your application- grid tied, off grid, RVs, boats, etc.

Load - Any device, appliance, or equipment that consumes power. Here are some examples:

These are common loads that people would like to run even when the grid is down. We want the food (and beer) to stay cold, we want the internet so that we can stay connected with our devices, and we want to be able to have a good soak in our hot tub with 8 of our closest friends. Wait.

Can you spot the two loads that will drain a battery system down faster than you can say, "Hey, why did the lights go out?" You guessed it- the central air conditioner and the hot tub. But that is a story for a different blog post.

If you are designing an energy storage system that incorporates a sub panel, affectionately called a backup panel, essential loads panel, or protected loads panel, then you need to know the energy consumption for the loads on the circuits you are backing up.

Pro Tip: Never call the sub panel with the protected circuits a "critical load panel". This is a no-no by the strictest definition of the National Electric Code. If you use this term, stop using it- it could get you into more trouble than mistakingly calling a module a "panel." 😒

There are a few ways to get the load energy consumption.

  1. Measure each load using a Kil-A-Watt Meter. This will take some time.

  2. Cheat and use an online load power/energy list like the one I have below! <-- preferred method

  3. Connect a whole home energy consumption kit to the main breaker box and come back a month later. This is the most accurate method, but not a lot of people have the patience for this.

So without further ado, here is a compiled list of loads that people would like to run when the grid goes down. This does not mean that I condone some of the loads on this list, but sometimes people just can't be reasoned with and will need this information. These are averaged values that are good enough for a load calculation. I gathered all of the lists I used in my book for your viewing pleasure. Did I miss one? Let me know!

Pro Tip: Use your web browser's search feature to find the load you are looking for!

Household Appliances - click here for these common loads

Common Household Electronics - a more comprehensive list for the techy people

Power Tools - in case you need to build something when the grid is down

Home Theater Equipment - for the really techy people