Caravan in use Electric consumption.

Mar 29, 2021
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I'm going to start a daily thread about our electric consumption from Monday to Sunday.
A little about ourselves, we currently live full time in a Coachman Pastiche 575 and will be for the next 14 weeks, hopefully the delayed new build house will be finally finished as its around 4 months behind first predictions. We arrived on site from another site with inclusive electricity yesterday morning.

Michelle and I (Darren) accelerated our retirement plan to move from industrial West Yorkshire to Cornwall after Michelle was made redundant from her role, I as a lorry driver given todays demand thought I'd jump on a job at a time best suited after we arrived and settled in.
So that was the plan, sell up and ship out for a lifestyle of outdoor activities and a better work life balance, and as far as it has gone, house build to one side, every single box has been ticked. Michelle has the same role here in Cornwall as she had "Up Country" as we have learnt to say from the locals, and I landed a driving job with sensible working hours within 3 days of arrival.
Financially the wife is earning the same money for alot less hours, whereas I'm 10% down on the money front, but on the working hours at least on average 30% less than before, so both of us are very happy with our workplace choices.
We chose the house which is a small semi rather than a detached we left behind because we can buy it mortgage free and as its new its massively insulated with the latest in gas central heating, and having a first hand account from a person I've met who lives in the same style house energy bills are low, which brings me back to our caravan life and being on a metered pitch, the energy bills could sky rocket, in all our lives we have never worried about bills, but given the lack of insulation in the caravan heating on any fuel is going to be expensive at this time of year so my frugal head is very definitely switched on!

Alde 3020 heating,
I've watched the panel as probably many of us have, in my case for hours, did anyone know that the system carries on heating the glycol once the room temperature had been achieved?
I didnt.
So because the heating flips on and off we have the water heating turned off. I can report that at Night Mode temperature of 11 degrees currently the water tank is at 42 degrees. Night mode is 10 pm until 6 am.

In our caravan with its end bathroom, fixed transverse bed, flimsy curtain thing, then kitchen area finally the lounge bit, the joke for us for the almost 6 year's of owning the van was the flimsy curtain thing which is now actually coming into its own and helping to save electricity!
Yesterday for example in the late afternoon whilst Michelle was at work I'd finished setting up the caravan and sorting out my car so I'm sat in the lounge fretting over the predicted heating costs based upon an hour of Alde use, eureka moment, close the curtain and use the thermostatically controlled electric fan to heat up the front bit of the caravan, a few minutes later I was lovely and warm a huge success on reducing the leccy spend.

The fridge is no longer on maximum its on the third setting or middle ish which seems exactly the same as before, its hard to tell, my bottle of cider didn't seem any warmer last night which was the new settings ultimate test, Cornish cider too!

We both own Dry Robes, its an item of clothing popular with beach folk, a very thick durable baggy coat, designed to change into swim wear on the beach and to act like a waterproof floor mat to sit on. I have one because I've taken up sea swimming, managing 25 minutes in winter sea temperatures, been going every Sunday for the last 6 weeks, anyway I digress, as part of frugality we are for the first time using the site facilities for showers the dry robe being "Ideal" another Cornish localism, for the trek to and from.

At the moment I'm writing this sat in the lounge at 6am under an electric fleece, which uses on high setting an ish of 0.7 amps an hour which is my last way of saving heating money, normally Alde would be providing the heat.
I bought it a couple of years back as a way of being warm in the awning without the Alde heating turning itself off in the caravan, little did I know its future importance.

Because we are on a meter we did ask if we could bring our tumble dryer which we did. Yesterday was wash day, 2 loads in the onsite laundry(£3 a go for a proper laundrette style washer a good deal) and 2 loads in the awning full size tumble dryer.

The last savings idea is when we leave the caravan unoccupied for work or leisure pursuits. The caravans fuse board has 3 Mcb's, Fridge charger, Sockets, Boiler, the later 2 will be switched off. Now when we arrive back at the van its going to be clock cold with no hot water, so a combination of cooking, fan heater and combined gas and electric on Alde as the Alde manual states a more rapid heat up not only on dual use, a bit obvious, but the gas burner increases efficiency, which lends the idea of gas price's with our little 6kg bottle lasting around 6 weeks, well it did, but a bench mark for costing.

So with 3 hours 21 minutes to go before our first 24 hours I'm excitedly waiting to see the cost, even tho for other people to compare because of the tumble dryer it won't be totally comparable. Our normal couldn't care less what electric we use as long as the bollard doesn't trip was predicted to be around plus £70 a week very easily indeed. Alde pre metered pitch was on 24/7 even when we left the caravan, Night temperature was not that less than day time, and as I'm an early riser 17 hours a day the temp setting would be 21 degrees!

Even on day one its clear to me if I owned a site, almost did once, metered electric would very definitely reduce clients consumption, it has us and our disposable income is very healthy indeed so perhaps as the cost of a kwh increases it may become common place on UK caravan sites, especially those that operate in the colder months.
Having said that we are on a reduced rate from other sites we have used with inclusive fees, my goal is to not spend more than £31 a week on energy, as that and pitch fee puts us around the same cost as other sites within the area, which incidentally we couldn't use as they don't have a residential license.
As we are here for 14 weeks savings of X Kwh's a day will be multiplied 98 times, so could run into hundreds of pounds by the time we leave, a concentrating factor for this tight Yorkshireman to dwell on.


Darren.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Thank you a very good write up.. It interesting that on a metered pitch you now watch the finances, I’ve always been somewhat critical of those who heat the awnings or just leave heat on all day and night. It’s a bit like car fuel where higher prices modify behaviour far more than any advertising campaign. Hope that the new house gets finished soon, but housing developments in our area are delayed, as is one bungalow extension that should have completed last August. Timber being a major problem as it’s now a two storey “ bungalow”.

Our son and his partner are using similar “ robes” to you for when they get up first thing, or just sit outside for their first cup of tea.

Good luck with the new venture.
 
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First 24 hours, but not totally representative more a look see was......

£3.67
 
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Ern

May 23, 2021
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I concur with the idea of avoiding wasted energy, and having lived in the caravan for 3 months or so each year for 12 years, and sometimes paying a very high price (<€0.30 per kWh) for energy, know how poor the H&V is in caravans is. We are always careful to avoid wasting energy, whilst accepting that a comfortable living has a cost. BUT! What will your extreme frugality save? As the daily consumption will vary because of many things, no two days are the same, so how will you know what each day's saving compared to the higher cost of an increased level of comfort, was? If you estimate the possible cost of 100 nights and then compare the actual cost with it, this is the saving against an estimate. The Coachman/Alde heating and ventilation system probably provides optimum comfort and ventilation (but not necessarily at the lowest cost) if it is used as intended.
 
Mar 29, 2021
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Kicking the thread off early, to cut to the chase:-
19kwh used in the 24 hour period 06:30 Sunday to 06:30 Monday.

Within that period Michelle has used the caravan twice for showering and hair shenanigans, I've used the fabulous site facilities.

Sundays electric dairy was, Weather bitter outside but no frost, a very chilly wind cut across the site, around 6 degrees all day.
I awoke at my usual 4am and sat in the caravan lounge area with the partition curtain closed to the back half of the caravan, using my electric fleece for warmth listening to Wally the Walrus asleep in bed.
Around 8am Alde was switched on for a couple of hours.
10 am it was turned completely off, the partition once again shut and heat was via a fan heater. into the lounge area.
Midday we (friends) all went out for the day, all heating was switched off, sockets off via mcb.
4pm back at the caravan fan heater on, very very quickly warmed the front half up.
9pm Alde heating only on set to 18 degrees take the chill out of the bedroom and bathroom.
10pm Alde into night mode of 11 degrees hot water off.
4 am I'm awake once again listening to Wally, I turn Alde heating to off water heating to on, Fan heater on.
4.45 Michelle's awake, showered etc and off to work at 5.30 am, I trek up for a shower in the facilities block.
We've had a few electric kettle coffees within and a 10 minute ironing session.

Whats surprising is how easily the fan heater rapidly heats up the caravan lounge half and how the curtain partiton provides a barrier for the cold air from the rear half.
We have had a few bumps along the way this morning, I think in future on Michelle's early starts I'll switch Alde heating on as the bathroom was uncomfortably cold, but I have to say we havnt during all of yesterday been inconvenienced by frugal use of the leccy.
The star is without doubt the thermostatically controlled fan heater, which has a remote control too, if anyone is reading this and has a standard fan heater you can buy remote thermostats that plug into a socket and then have a control box you position to provide the temp cut off from Amazon, we used one at home on our lounge fire.

All in all a very satisfying 24 hours.
 
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Jul 23, 2021
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Very interesting read - I have you on follow! What are you using to measure your electricity use? I assume just the site meter, if do you have your own current clamp/ in line monitor?
I am intrigued as we seem to use between 12kWh and 20kWh a day at home without any heating or hot water (all on gas at this time of year).
 
Jul 18, 2017
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TBH when touring and if we stay on a metered pitch we will use common sense in keeping ourselves comfortable and not worry too much about consumption as you are on holiday.
However if staying on a site permanently, we would definitely be aware of excessive or unnecessary consumption.
 

Ern

May 23, 2021
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Darren.H You have reported £3.67 used for the first, and 19kWh used for the second day. What £/kWh rate are you using?
 
Mar 29, 2021
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Very interesting read - I have you on follow! What are you using to measure your electricity use? I assume just the site meter, if do you have your own current clamp/ in line monitor?
I am intrigued as we seem to use between 12kWh and 20kWh a day at home without any heating or hot water (all on gas at this time of year).
The sites own in bollard digital meter.
 
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We both arrived back to the caravan at roughly the same time, freezing cold, even the foam in the bolsters on the lounge seats are cold, brrr.

So had a look at the Alde system for help, and found it. Today I was last to leave and I switched Alde off, whereas tomorrow we are going to leave it switched on but no water and set temp at the minimum 5 degrees. Now for the science bit, I have set "Day Mode" at on to be 16:30 at 18 degrees, thats plus 1 hour before either of us is due back, so a toasty caravan will await thank you very much.

What we are trying to do is strip out waste using the tools to hand, we have probably over done it to date, a little easing from our uber frugality to increase comfort levels
 
Mar 29, 2021
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Dear diary, from 6.30 Monday to 6.30 Tuesday our usage has been, and nobody was more shocked than me let me tell you, an amazingly low 11kwh @ £0.175 per kwh gives us a 24 hour bill of £1.925! Wow, gob smacked.
Note During Monday the caravan was unoccupied for 10 hours ish.

Monday 6.30 to 7.00 am No heating on at all, I was alone dressed ready for work so there seemed little point.
7.00 am Heating off, Socket MCB off.
17.00 I return , Michelle's running late, inside of the caravan is colder than the outside it felt. Alde on electric only again gas in a 6kg bottle is silly expensive. hot water off. Sat for an hour before any real quantity of heat was noticed.
18.00 Alde off Fan heater on (built in thermostat and us using the remote for the right comfort level) partition curtain closed as were all the caravans window blinds, heat form the oven helped with warmth whilst the chicken was cooking, lovely.
22.00 Once again night mode on the Alde kicks in, bed beckons, bloody hell its cold between the sheets sort that out next.
4.00 I'm awake, I just can't sleep, a couple of years its been like this now, quietly I tip toe into the lounge. Leaving Alde switched on in its "Night Mode, as the now churning away fan heater will keep the front area temp above the Alde set point.
4.30 God its warm, fan heater very definitely off.
5.00 off for a site shower.
6.00 Alde end of "Night Mode", to eliminate Michelles complaint letting Alde run to 18 degrees.
6.30 Alde is set to 18 degrees and left switched on.

Within this 24 hour period neither of us used the caravan shower, but even with water heating off there has been plenty of hot water to wash the dishes and hands etc.

So far a few issues have come to light,
1:- Mornings are cold in the rear of the caravan, thats a problem for Michelle.
2:- Returning to a very cold caravan from work.
3:- The towels arnt drying.
4:- Uncomfortably cold bed.
Solution for 1 nd 2 is make better use of Alde day and night mode, and its standard on mode between, this will be because of Michelle's variable start times and mid week days off be a daily event to programme.
The answer to 3 is simple, from 4 am the 2 towels are on a coat hanger suspended from the lounge roof light the fan heater warming me up and drying the towels at the same time. Not a good look, but functional.
4:- Use the electric fleece to take the chill off the bed sheets, its very low in power consumption.

I need to check further, but initially turning the Mcb for the sockets off would by the Alde current consumption show 1 to 2 amps being drawn when in the on position. We have several phone chargers permanently plugged in, tv, digital clock and a variety of items in the awning including the unused on this site portable induction hob which is in standby mode, and the dyson hand held plugged in, I need to investigate a little further.

Conclusions at the moment, in order to save electric by mainly limiting Alde and using the as it would appear more efficient fan heater makes living in here not quite laborious, but you do have to put an effort in.

Its glaringly obvious that for this style of layout Alde has missed a trick, a pipe cutting the caravan in half left to right at or near the curtain partition would allow a selection to be made of heating all the caravan or just the lounge/kitchen area. Indeed if a variable valve was used then maybe you could select how much heated glycol went rearward to give all over control of the internal space.

I'm sure as we go forward a routine will kick in, we started this experiment by over stripping at the cost of comfort, we are now adding back in heat/electric to fill in the troughs of the cold graph.

As we progress removing waste will seem a thing we should have been doing years back, but as long as site fees are inclusive of energy why bother?
 
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Mar 29, 2021
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TBH when touring and if we stay on a metered pitch we will use common sense in keeping ourselves comfortable and not worry too much about consumption as you are on holiday.
However if staying on a site permanently, we would definitely be aware of excessive or unnecessary consumption.
Our previous site which was hardly occupied by other caravans, the owner was bouncing over our electric usage, I estimated it to be around £70 a week based on timing threw a 1 hour period how often Alde was on, and noticed that it continues to heat the glycol for a period when at set room temp, plus our other bits and bobs.
At that site and on our previous one Alde was on 24/7 and I used the on board shower, putting water on boost 30 minutes prior.
We just didn't consider electric usage at all.
One day soon I'm going to use Alde as before because we are on holiday next week, let's see what its going to cost
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Dear diary, from 6.30 Monday to 6.30 Tuesday our usage has been, and nobody was more shocked than me let me tell you, an amazingly low 11kwh @ £0.175 per kwh gives us a 24 hour bill of £1.925! Wow, gob smacked.
Note During Monday the caravan was unoccupied for 10 hours ish.

Monday 6.30 to 7.00 am No heating on at all, I was alone dressed ready for work so there seemed little point.
7.00 am Heating off, Socket MCB off.
17.00 I return , Michelle's running late, inside of the caravan is colder than the outside it felt. Alde on electric only again gas in a 6kg bottle is silly expensive. hot water off. Sat for an hour before any real quantity of heat was noticed.
18.00 Alde off Fan heater on (built in thermostat and us using the remote for the right comfort level) partition curtain closed as were all the caravans window blinds, heat form the oven helped with warmth whilst the chicken was cooking, lovely.
22.00 Once again night mode on the Alde kicks in, bed beckons, bloody hell its cold between the sheets sort that out next.
4.00 I'm awake, I just can't sleep, a couple of years its been like this now, quietly I tip toe into the lounge. Leaving Alde switched on in its "Night Mode, as the now churning away fan heater will keep the front area temp above the Alde set point.
4.30 God its warm, fan heater very definitely off.
5.00 off for a site shower.
6.00 Alde end of "Night Mode", to eliminate Michelles complaint letting Alde run to 18 degrees.
6.30 Alde is set to 18 degrees and left switched on.

Within this 24 hour period neither of us used the caravan shower, but even with water heating off there has been plenty of hot water to wash the dishes and hands etc.

So far a few issues have come to light,
1:- Mornings are cold in the rear of the caravan, thats a problem for Michelle.
2:- Returning to a very cold caravan from work.
3:- The towels arnt drying.
4:- Uncomfortably cold bed.
Solution for 1 nd 2 is make better use of Alde day and night mode, and its standard on mode between, this will be because of Michelle's variable start times and mid week days off be a daily event to programme.
The answer to 3 is simple, from 4 am the 2 towels are on a coat hanger suspended from the lounge roof light the fan heater warming me up and drying the towels at the same time. Not a good look, but functional.
4:- Use the electric fleece to take the chill off the bed sheets, its very low in power consumption.

I need to check further, but initially turning the Mcb for the sockets off would by the Alde current consumption show 1 to 2 amps being drawn when in the on position. We have several phone chargers permanently plugged in, tv, digital clock and a variety of items in the awning including the unused on this site portable induction hob which is in standby mode, and the dyson hand held plugged in, I need to investigate a little further.

Conclusions at the moment, in order to save electric by mainly limiting Alde and using the as it would appear more efficient fan heater makes living in here not quite laborious, but you do have to put an effort in.

Its glaringly obvious that for this style of layout Alde has missed a trick, a pipe cutting the caravan in half left to right at or near the curtain partition would allow a selection to be made of heating all the caravan or just the lounge/kitchen area. Indeed if a variable valve was used then maybe you could select how much heated glycol went rearward to give all over control of the internal space.

I'm sure as we go forward a routine will kick in, we started this experiment by over stripping at the cost of comfort, we are now adding back in heat/electric to fill in the troughs of the cold graph.

As we progress removing waste will seem a thing we should have been doing years back, but as long as site fees are inclusive of energy why bother?
We used a low power lightweight foldable 100 watt airer to dry towels during winter trips. It worked well.
Could try an electric blanket with timer for the bed.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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We both arrived back to the caravan at roughly the same time, freezing cold, even the foam in the bolsters on the lounge seats are cold, brrr.

So had a look at the Alde system for help, and found it. Today I was last to leave and I switched Alde off, whereas tomorrow we are going to leave it switched on but no water and set temp at the minimum 5 degrees. Now for the science bit, I have set "Day Mode" at on to be 16:30 at 18 degrees, thats plus 1 hour before either of us is due back, so a toasty caravan will await thank you very much.

What we are trying to do is strip out waste using the tools to hand, we have probably over done it to date, a little easing from our uber frugality to increase comfort levels
If I remember correctly the ALDE system should kick in automatically if the temperature drops below 5C?
If not, turn the KW down to 1kw and turn off the hot water. Dropping it down to 10C should suffice. Not sure but I thin k heating a caravan up from 5C to 20C will use a lot of kw in a short space of time eliminating a lot of the savings.
Interesting feedback.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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A very interesting thread, Darren, your concentrating on the heating, may I ask how are you cooking your meals, gas electric, a mix of both. When we used to go to France for a month at a time, we have an electric 3 litre pressre cooker/ crockpot, which was very effective, a 15 hour timer, so you could set it up go out and it was ready for when you got back to the van.
Hopefully your house keeps to schedule.
 
Mar 29, 2021
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A very interesting thread, Darren, your concentrating on the heating, may I ask how are you cooking your meals, gas electric, a mix of both. When we used to go to France for a month at a time, we have an electric 3 litre pressre cooker/ crockpot, which was very effective, a 15 hour timer, so you could set it up go out and it was ready for when you got back to the van.
Hopefully your house keeps to schedule.
Mainly gas with the odd use of the microwave.
Michelle loves a recipe book, currently Pinch of Nom, homemade Fish Pie tonight, yummy.
 
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If I remember correctly the ALDE system should kick in automatically if the temperature drops below 5C?
If not, turn the KW down to 1kw and turn off the hot water. Dropping it down to 10C should suffice. Not sure but I thin k heating a caravan up from 5C to 20C will use a lot of kw in a short space of time eliminating a lot of the savings.
Interesting feedback.
This morning from 6am to 7 am Alde went from 11 to 18 degrees room temp, took nearly an hour and almost 3 kwh.
We are kwh dependent on the weather!
 
May 7, 2012
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A very interesting thread, Darren, your concentrating on the heating, may I ask how are you cooking your meals, gas electric, a mix of both. When we used to go to France for a month at a time, we have an electric 3 litre pressre cooker/ crockpot, which was very effective, a 15 hour timer, so you could set it up go out and it was ready for when you got back to the van.
Hopefully your house keeps to schedule.
On the same thread we have used a slow cooker, uses the power of a light bulb, so very effective.
 
Mar 29, 2021
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Tuesday to Wednesday.
Last 24 hour usage was 15 kwh at £0.175 giving £2.625
I'm not sure the increased use was worth it, yes the caravan has been warmer but not hugely.
I have a weekly budget in mind of £31.50 a week, or £4.50 a day for electric, this being the difference in pitch reduction for it being metered and the previous site being inclusive. So I'm well under still.

To address some of the concerns of t'other occupant, the wife, we changed the heating routine, from the Alde being switched off all the time the caravan was unoccupied, to yesterday it was set to 5 degrees and "Day Mode" utilised to provide a heat up function roughly 1 hour before either of us was due back from work.
Also at early morning yesterday Alde was turn on and set to 18 degrees, to take the morning chill off.

6.30 Alde on to 18 degrees a no water heating (continuation from 6.00 am)
7.30 Alde set to 5 degrees, Socket's Mcb off Caravan unoccupied.
16.45 "Day Mode" activates heating only, set point 18 degrees.
17.30 we both arrive back almost together, the caravan is warm inside but the worktops and other surfaces are cold to the touch.
18.30 Alde off, curtain partition closed fan heater temp set to 18 degrees, very toasty indeed.
22.00 bed time! Alde into "Night Mode" 11 degrees no hot water.
4.00 Sick of this not being able to sleep malarkey, coffee and a sit in the lounge, quick blast with the fan heater to take the chill off, write this piece, edit the final kwh at 6.30, then usual routine of site shower, put up my lunch and a quick dabble on the laptop.
6.30 Heating set to 18 degrees, water off.

Michelle used the by product of hot water for showers in the caravan, I love the site shower, piping hot, with a good power behind it so I'm sticking to them.

Today is Wednesday, Michelle's day off, so automating the heating is not really possible, its also mid week wash day which means the tumble dryer in the awning will be on.
So the pocket wrenching decision has been made to use the next 24 hours as a bench mark, let's just see how much a full 24 hours of heating bliss, aka Alde on all the time is, not 100% accurate because of the dryer, but when that's on Alde isnt so we won't be a million miles away.
Donations gratefully received👍
 
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Wednesday to Thursday.

We used the Alde system with very little intervention other than the Tumble Dryer, but having done a little math I would deduct 2 kwh ish from this 24 hour period to reflect this.
Dryer total presumed kwh within, 2 hours at 2.4kwh, minus cool down time, auto crease guard stoppages, auto heating element shut down whilst in programme at required drum temperature, add in Alde presumed "On" time as Load monitor shut Alde down whilst the dryer was in use.

Wednesday Metre reading at
06.30 was 6286
19.00 was 6298
Thursday
03.30 was 6309
06.30 was 6311

Total kwh in the 24 hour period was 25 kwh at £0.175 equals £4.375
Deduct the "Unusual to a Caravan" tumble dryer we have,
23 kwh at £0.175 equals £4.025

The period had a day time ambient temperature of a maximum 8 degrees and a night time low of 5 degrees.

Now I'm not calling Alde expensive as it depends on a person's perspective, and I have no figures for a modern blown air system to compare.
Do consider outside temperatures as this will increase/decrease usage .

The other point to note is in "Usual" holiday periods I would expect the kwh's used to be considerably less, as its warmer out, so can sites justify price hikes if we conclude the average in season electric use would be sub £3 or even £2 a night because of their energy concerns?

Hot water off throughout. Kettle used briefly 4 times, microwave 3 minutes.
06.30 Alde on to 18 degrees
22.00 Alde into new "Night Mode" 14 degrees
06.30 Alde in "Night Mode" 14 degrees

7am I'm off to work, Michelle today will leave for her workplace at 9.30 am, Alde in "Night Mode" Until 07.30.

My conclusion at the moment is as before, using "Day" and "Night" mode will reduce consumption, "Day" mode is little more tedious as that varies each day, combined with the more, it would appear, efficient thermostatically controlled fan heater.
So overall perhaps Caravan/Alde designers perhaps should include a mix of wet and blown air heating?

For us a fan heater under the bed and one in the lounge under a seat with individual set points working along with Alde wet would give better controlled heat comfort at a reduced cost to sites and or us.

My experiment I think is now concluded, I was worried I would go over my £4.50 a day electric limit, that has proved possible but avoidable Perhaps the heating options for caravans in our energy expensive future should no longer be "One or the Other" but both, a little like when we had blown air and a gas fire!

Darren H.
 
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We are stopping on a metered pitch this season it will be a first so i found this a very interesting read and what you use per day .but we will not be doing any washing because we are on holiday keep inputting (Darren)
 

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