Adding Energy Use and Cost to “Laundry Done” Notifications

Some time ago [Xose Pérez] got interested in generating a notification when his washer had completed a cycle, and now with added features like reporting power usage and cost, he’s put it all together into a Node-Red node that makes it easy to modify or integrate with other projects.

[Xose] started this journey with a Laundry Monitor he created that effectively used cheap hardware (and his own firmware) to monitor his washing machine’s current usage. That sensor was used as the basis for sending notifications informing him whenever the appliance’s cycle was done. Since then, he has continued to take household power monitoring seriously, and with a bit of added work can not only tell when a given appliance has been started and stopped, but can also summarize the energy usage and cost of the appliance, making the notifications more useful. The package is named node-red-contrib-power-monitor and is also hosted on GitHub.

Cheap WiFi-enabled smart switches are making it possible for even the dumbest of appliances to join the Internet of Things, so don’t ignore [Xose]’s complementary work on ESPurna, which is an alternative open-source firmware for a wide variety of ESP8266 and ESP8285 based smart switches, lights and sensors.

29 thoughts on “Adding Energy Use and Cost to “Laundry Done” Notifications

    1. From what I understand clothes dryers are very different in Europe: smaller; some don’t heat, just tumble; some don’t have a hose dumping the air outside, just a collector that has to be dumped and cleaned regularly… Etc. There is a general consensus that it’s best to hang your clothes outdoors to dry.

      I wasn’t able to find a good reference for this, but this story kind of sums it up:
      https://qz.com/1034914/it-doesnt-matter-where-brits-keep-their-dryers-the-point-is-they-dont-work/

        1. The heat pump ones are expensive. There is another type which use dessicant and have a water trap which needs emptying.
          Gas powered ones are exceedingly rare in non-commerical.

          I asked the mrs about building her a drier using a cast off full electric heated unit and butchering a dehumidifer into it.
          I obtained said drier and before modding and after she used it twice she hated it and went back to drying outdoor or indoor on clothes stands with said dehumidifier.
          Due to the damage done on the clothes.

          Don’t ask me what magic persists inside a washing machine that doesn’t damage the clothes in the same way.
          I just know that I’m not allowed to use the washing machine, only fix it.
          Something to do with a valve cover being left in the dishwasher and a large burn in front of the oven from DIY powder coating :)

      1. If you live in the UK you might have heard Dyson speaking about only maikng cordless hoovers now because of the power of them.
        Not that I’ve actived researched it but my own FUD on the matter is because the EU banned higher power mains operated hoovers. But nothing stopping you from charging batteries slower and lower, and then taking the same power output from them.

        Which kind of seems like the way a stupid law like the power consumption of a hoover would have been written with loopholes.
        Becasue obviously using a lower power hoover for double the time of a higher power unit saves energy…

    2. Gas fired dryers are very rare in Europe. It is either a heat-pump electric dryer, or more likely a 1 KW electric dryer with a thermostat that maintains an efficient (and clothing safe) temperature by keeping the heater off 2/3 of the time.

        1. I still use my old dryer. 3.2kW, ventless. Takes about one hour and roughly 2kWh to dry a 6kg load. A heat pump dryer of good quality costs at least 1000 Euros. That means that I would have to dry four to five thousand loads before I begin to save money.
          Not gonna happen.

          1. You compare a “free” dryer that you already own with a new dryer, at electricity prices that are 2 or 3 times lower than electricity prices in Europe. That makes it clearly unattractive, but when looking for a new dryer in Europe it would swing the other way.

        1. Well, one can buy quality class A++(+) for almost nothing, because most people just change their appliance because something broke or even in some cases if it just needs a cleanup (as simple as cleaning a filter)
          There is a whole aftermarket ecosystem with spare parts and people who fix and refurb such applilances

          Soo,,, maybe it´s not money efficient for the first owner, but for the second one it´s just unbeatably cost efficient, to pay like 50-100$ for an quality brand appliance that was refurbed is energy efficient and costed new about 20 times more.

          1. Every white good in my home is a cast off from someone because it no longer worked or they “upgraded”.
            I’ve fixed them where needed. In some cases like hoovers merely cleaned them to stop teh motors overheating from cogged filters.
            My main fridge freezer is A++ rated, and dishwasher A+.

            We are a disposable society. Good for me, bad for the planet.

        2. That is not correct in Europe, which is why A++ dryers are recommended there.

          I can get a A++ dryer for €435 / $500 from the local store including 5 years insurance.
          The store doesn’t have a A-class dryer, and the cheapest A+ costs the same as the A++.
          The cheapest dryer in the store is a C-class vented dryer, which costs €306 / $350 without insurance.

          If we compare A++ and A-class, while using the price of the C-class:
          A++ (for 8 kg) is a maximum of 236 kWh/year.
          A (for 8 kg) is a maximum of 480 kWh/year.
          Average price per kWh in Europe were €0.204 in 2017 (The price is much higher in my country).
          This results in a difference of €50/year, or about €250/$285 for the 5 years that the A++ dryer is guaranteed to work (only 2 years for the C-class dryer).

          Compare that to the €129/$150 price difference, and that Consumer Reports sets the average lifespan of a dryer somewhere between 10 and 13 years.

      1. That really where the main problem with climate change is: everybody is considering only money savings instead of energy efficiency. YES, energy efficient devices cost more, and at the end of its lifespan, you will certainly NOT have saved money despite consuming less energy. But the main goal is to save energy in order to reduce air pollution and resources consumption (renewable or not). Full point.
        And saying that you prefer to save money or can’t afford to spend it now, is forgetting that you (or your child) will have to pay for it later. Short time money savings quite often lead to long term additionnal costs…

  1. Here is my information on creating a low energy dryer, using the outside air, I still use it every day since made it. It takes an average of 1-2 hours to dry, but uses only the power from the motor, and doesn’t heat up the house in the summer, and more importantly doesn’t suck in air-conditioned air to heat up and be pushed out side. It requires only a 120v plug, and doesn’t leave towels all scratchy like line drying does.

  2. Drying heavy towels with delicates and usual stuff will extend the drying time for the majority of the load. Towels are a huge load of energy expense, they’re designed to hold lots of water. Used for a minute, then it’s hours to wash and dry. Clothes you wear all day, sheets all night. Body drying done like hair drying makes more energy sense. Air-blade tech!

    All dryers should be vented in summer only, the rest of the time that heat and humidity is needed inside. A good hack would be an automatic vent to know when it hotter or more humid inside and vent out instead. Knowing energy use is useless unless you are willing to use less here and there. Measuring the change is then of some use, easily seen on your bill.

    1. My guess would be the electric use of your 3d printer is so minute it’s not even worth it to spend the time to calculate or spend the money on equipment to meter it. Your filament costs MANY times more than the electric used. Just throw an extra 10 to 20 cents on to the cost of your part and call it a day. That would cover about 1KWh of electric use, and there is no way any typical hobbyist 3d printer is using that much power over the course of a print. If you are talking about some kind of industrial scale printer, then maybe it would be worth tracking.

      If you really must track it, get a $30 Kill-a-watt meter, configure it to the cost of your electric and reset it at the beginning of each print. I’m sure you’ll find after your 1st few prints it wasn’t even worth it and will probably take years to pay off the cost of the meter

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