Do wireless switches save energy?
I know zip about electricity. Consider two homes almost exactly the same, both conditioned by heat pumps (to drop gas out of the equation). But, one has traditional electrical wiring/conduit to all loads and switches. And the other only has wiring and conduit to the loads but no wiring and conduit from loads to switches because the switches generate radio frequencies and are self-powered (flipping them or ambient room light solar generates enough power to send the signal). Considering the whole electrical load (including heating/cooling in Northern Zone 5a), which home uses more energy?
On one hand, proponents of wireless switches point out their house has less conduit to transfer unwanted temperatures around either through conduction or air simply blowing through them, so the house is automatically more air tight . Furthermore, sealing is not always done perfectly, so the fewer penetrations the better (for instance, wiring coming into switch boxes does not have to be sealed because there is none). Also, there are LEED points for wireless switches.
On the other hand, another layperson pointed out that the receiver for the RF signal is wired into the wiring near the load it controls and, I and he assume, uses a small amount of electricity all day long to listen for the signal from the switch that controls it. Now consider a whole house full of these vampire loads (this is a link to one of the most commonly used types of receivers but my untrained eye doesn't see a power consumption spec... http://www.illumra.com/Products/Receivers/E3R-R12-3HOBP_3-wire_copy.html ).
Anyone have a feeling for gain in thermal efficiencies (reflected in the electricity the heat pump uses) due to a better sealed house vs. these vampire electrical loads I'm assuming are there (or other considerations)? Thanks.
Posted May 19, 2014 12:18 PM ET
Edited May 19, 2014 3:50 PM ET
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