How To Look At A House
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What is the box on the wall that says LOAD MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS?
Sunday, May 12, 2019
The box contains a device that allows your local electric utility to remotely turn off either your water heater or heating/air-conditioning system, or both, during periods when the load on their sytem begins to reach its maximum capacity. This avoids a “brown out,” which is when the voltage throughout the electric utility’s service area drops below an acceptable level because of heavy electrical usage. Lights dim and some appliances will slow down or stop working, and some types of motors can be damaged by a brown out, but it avoids a “black out” total loss of electric service. This typically has happened in Florida during extremely hot summer days.
The idea behind this system is “load shedding”: decreasing the electrical loads temporarily in rotating service areas during a period of high demand instead of stressing out the system. In exchange for allowing the electric company to turn off the power to your major appliances for a few minutes, you usually get a small reduction in the rate you pay for electricity. If you are not familiar with is setup, probably it was installed for a previous owner of the home.
The box will typically have a row of colored lights in a small window to indicate whether or not the electric utility has turned off the power, and which appliances are turned off. Here’s a diagram of one manufactured by ABB, a Swiss technology corporation.
Also, some of these systems are no longer functional and abandoned in place. The one shown at the top of the page has long ago been disconnected from the house electrical system, but others around Florida are still hooked up—with the row of indicator lights on.
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