How to Tell if Your Building is Submetered?

Discussion in 'Growing Marijuana Indoors' started by didjdudjs, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. Hey all. I've got 8 plants in my closet at about 4-6 inches tall under a 150w HPS light. Now that they're outgrowing the 150w, I'm getting a 250w light plus ballast from a friend. My only concern is how obvious my power consumption increase is going to be.
    I'm living on the 7th (top) floor of an apartment building, where the tenants are charged rent with hydro inclusive. I'm a single guy living on my own, so I don't use a ton of power to begin with. Once I installed my 150w light, I generally accepted that I was now using a significant amount more power, but not a necessarily suspicious amount.

    The building is old, as far as apartment buildings go. I don't have a breaker, but rather a fuse box in the kitchen that my stepdad used as an example to show how old the building must be. I ran into some terms online when trying to find an answer. Apparently some buildings are "sub metered", meaning that electricity consumption can be monitored for each and every individual rental unit. Others, like most of the buildings built in the 50's and 60's, were "master metered", which means the owners just pay one large bill for each building.
    I figure if my building is master metered, I'm probably ok, as an extra 0.1kw/h isn't going to be a huge change in the overall building's energy consumption. The age of the building fits right in with the master metering era as well, back when electricity was much cheaper. But the building is owned by a corporation, so they might have had the funds available to convert.
    Is there a way I can tell? I don't want to just come right out as ask one of the managers if my energy consumption is being tracked. Are there any physical give-aways on, in, or around the equipment that's on the bottom side of every building?
  2. 250w ain't shit, man. I wouldn't worry. Could be a mini-fridge.

  3. Rampart we have an illegal grow operation on the 7th floor of an apartment building. Standing by for advice.
    Teanant's name is Kilroy. Might as well be roy cause i want you to break his door down without a warrant and kill him.
    10-4 Rampart.
  4. Wow, wish I had a place like that.... 150w is nothing, you'd get away with a 1000w no problem. How many people in the building have an extra heater or aircon? I wouldn't worry...
  5. Ya dude I wouldn't worry.  Personal Computers sometimes have up to 1200w power supplies.  Xbox prob draws 250w.
  6. One other thing, get a bigger light if the powers included. Why fuck around with a 250w?
  7. Well they're sitting in the closet in my bedroom, which I no longer sleep in. Unless I want to stick two 4" ducting vents out my patio window (which is still visible to other buildings across the parking lot), I've gotta keep heat down to a minimum. Even with my 150 watt light, the temperature is a steady 80-82 degrees at the tops of the plants. And these seeds are non-feminized, so half are going to likely be thrown away anyway.

    (I've accepted that I'm going to need ventilation regardless. I just have no idea how to make it subtle from an apartment 80 feet from the ground)
    Most desktop computers use between 65-250 watts at any given time, and that's only when they're in active use. And the Xbox Slim barely uses 100 watts.
    It is pretty nice. I fear that my description of the "old ass" building was unfair. It's only like 50 years old probably, but the apartments are big and clean and cozy. Really doubt I'd get away with 1000w though. My current 150w HPS (as well as my bathroom lights) already flicker when anyone uses the elevator. Worried about adding the 250w but decided I just need to try it anyway.
    Thanks for the sarcasm, buddy. It's not like the thread is specifically for "Absolute Beginners".

    Thank you. I hadn't thought of that.
    Most desktops using 65w?  I doubt that.  Well.. maybe when they are in sleep mode.
    Noones going to come questioning you for a 250w power device. There are plenty of reasons why you could be using that power.
    Paranoia can be a side effect of cannabis consumption.  Maybe it's not for you.
  9. Even high-end machines only use around 5 watts in sleep mode. Laptops mostly use between 45-90 watts, and very few desktop computers (less than 10%) are ever taken past 200 watts. I sold these things for years. I'm not a professional, but I know enough. What you're doing is comparing a very small segment of the population (those with the hardware to play high-end games) with a single device that's going to be running at maximum capacity for 18 uninterrupted hours of every single day. It's very, very rare that a desktop computer uses as much power in a month as this 250 watt light will.

    I get from the majority of the comments that I'm over reacting, so I feel better. But running a 250w HPS light with ballast on an 18/6 schedule, with exhaust and oscillating fans running 24/7, is at least going to be a noticeable increase in power for a single guy who's almost never home, right?
  10. Assuming it's even sub metered. Which it might not be. Yeah I'm over reacting anyway. Thanks, everyone (almost everyone).
    You are right.  I am comparing to a very small segment of the population.  It is rare.  But I have known quite a few of them, also one myself at times.  I have never had a problem nor have I heard of anyone else having a problem for that matter.  There are also 100 other reasons why you could be drawing those kilowatts.  Like mentioned above a mini fridge?  Or you are lazy and leave your lights and tv on all the time.  Maybe you like to cook and bake often? How about your girlfriend that is always blow drying her hair after ever time she showers? ;)
    Also remember.  It's not illegal to run a 250w lamp in your house.  You could be growing vegetables or ornamental flowers.
    Follow the 3 cardinal rules and you will be fine. Don't sell, Don't smell, Don't tell. 
    In apartment growing you always have to take these kinds of scenarios into consideration.
    What if there is a fire in your building.  The whole building is evacuated suite by suite by the fire department.  They stumble upon your grow.
    You get random 24 hour inspection notices.  One time a fucker in the building had bed bugs.  So they had to inspect the rest of the building. I'm sure there are other reasons they can/will inspect as well.
  12. About the ventilation, it sounds like your temps are fine for now. Might increase in the summer months. But you would mainly just need a way to recycle "stale" air in the room. That can be accomplished as easily as leaving the door open to the room and pointing a fan into there. I just grow for personal use in a little tent and this works well enough for me.

    If you wanted to exhaust it out a window, you could fasten a piece of plywood to the wall with a curtain stapled to it. Take a hole saw and cut a hole for your ventilation flange. Leave the window open and have the curtain facing out.

  13. My PC draws about 1500W when I am gaming, I think a 250W will be fine

    In my area that 250 will only cost about 22 cents a day lol, I think you will be OK bro

    Sent from my Spaceship using the GrassCity App.
  14. All valid points, and all ones that I took in to consideration before starting. I've been here for almost a year and I've never had an inspection, so I was comfortable enough to give it a go. I like the three cardinal rules there. Sounds pretty safe.
  15. You must have an absolutely astounding machine, then. And unfortunately, I live in Ontario, which has some of the highest power rates in the North America :(
    1... those watts are nothing, a fucking coffee pot uses twice what the 150 + 250 together.
    2... Do save up to move to a house on the edge of town where you have a garage, a shed, a basement to grow in and a fenced yard with pit-bulls. Then run 1,000 watt lights and grow buds bigger then your arm. :D
    Be safe and filter the ventilation very good.
  17. Yea my machine is a beast, usually pulls about 200 when sitting idle. A nice comfy 100 fps on new games when I need it lol. But that effects my bill more than my lights do.

    How much per kW out there? I'm in Alberta and we pay about 8C a kW, pretty sure that's what I'm locked in at. I run about 1000W total and my bill is just less than a dollar a day, I can't see a 250 bringing you past 30 or 40 cents a day even with a higher rate. Plus its winter time here in Canada, power bills go up during the winter anyway, its the perfect cover.

    I think you'll be safe man. Even with a fan for circulation its really not going to raise eyebrows, my little space heater pulls 2000W. You'll be pulling about 20% of that with everything hooked up :)

    Sent from my Spaceship using the GrassCity App.
  18. It moves between 11.3 and 12.2C per kwh here. It's fucked.

    Thanks for the assurance. Heating doesn't take as much power as cooling, actually, but I definitely feel better about this equipment after reading that.
    Already saving. I'm a young guy in college, and I'm aiming to throw my first down payment on a house by the time I'm 25. Already totally planning on it! Dreaming about the security, actually.

    But I really, really doubt a coffee pot uses anywhere neat as much energy as one of these lights does. It might take more power to heat up, but most coffee pots get their job done in less than a minute. These lights are on for 18 straight hours.
    My coffee pot runs 16 hours a day and is 800 watts.  I used to be a drunk, now Im tripped out on coffee constantly.
    Anyway your power usage is almost nothing. I pulled a big ass cable and added a breaker box big enough to wire a whole house just for my grow room. I can run 7,000w 120VAC or 14,000 watts 240VAC.
    2,000 watts cost me $60 a month.
  20. Like everyone said, that's fuck all, your fine.

    If you want to still find out if the apartment is individually metered, you need to find the power box. This will be most likely on the outside of the building somewhere (metal box on the wall). Open it up, if it's individually metered, there will be one meter for each apartment, ie 30 apartments 30 meters. Being the age of the building I doubt this is the case, hence the electric being included into your rent. And if you can't find this box, then it's def not the case! You can casually ask the managers, without carousing suspicion with something like "these buildings are old hey?, they wouldn't be individually metered" let the manager fill in any gaps, the truck to asking suss questions, you have to be very casual about it. Bring the topic up first eg, start talking about the wiring first, or any power cuts you may have experienced. Don't mention anything being faulty unless you want someone in your apartment. And finally, if you don't believe in god, you better start. I would be praying every night that sone muppet in that complex doesn't start a fire! The last thing you want is the fire brigade seeing your lil hobby. Sorry i don't mean to scare but this is a worry about growing in apartment buildings.

    Sent from a used tampon, launched from Mars...

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