If you are planning to do a lot of welding then you might be concerned about what to expect on your monthly electricity bill. Especially if you are opening a business. Generally, welding machines are not that power-hungry and unless you are a professional welder, there is not much to worry about it. Let’s learn about how much electricity does welding use.
A regular welding machine uses 7-12 kilowatts per hour. A typical welding session takes no more than 20 minutes. So you can imagine what minimum of an effect it will have on your electricity bill. At max, it can cost 5 to 15kWh extra per month which will cost you around 2$.
However, electricity costs really depend on the machine and your usage. Not all machines cost the same and more usage costs more. To know what will be the exact cost for your welding work, go through the whole article.
The Electricity Cost of Running Your Welder
Electric welding is cheap, and even the most power-intensive work does not cost more than what your personal computer may cost you. Weird comparison but you heard it right, your computer can take in more electricity than your welding machine would. Most of the electricity is consumed by lights, then air compression, or maybe the refrigerator and then the welding machine.
Being that said, you wouldn’t probably notice a difference in your monthly bill. Welders like me do the fitting at the same time during welding, so power consumption is not an issue. Even if you are doing pure-welding, you wouldn’t exceed 20 minutes. At least I haven’t seen any of my peers using a welding machine for more than 20 minutes.
Still, if you want to save some bucks, do not keep your welding machine running when you are not working with it. A welding machine takes only a bit of electricity when idle but you can turn it off whenever you are not using it to save whatever electricity you can. Turn it on only when you are going to use it. Remember, the actual electricity cost depends on you and your usage.
Calculating the Power Consumption of Welding Machines
It is better to calculate the power consumption of your welding machine yourself. As I told you before, the power consumption varies from machine to machine and its usage. Most of the machines have their power consumption written on the manual so you can easily calculate the cost yourself using your usage data.
In general, the power consumption of a welding machine is calculated by multiplying the operational hours by the wattage of the welding machine. For example, let’s take a welding machine that supplies 160AMP at 24V with, let’s say 0.89 efficiencies, and has a rated power of 4.3kW. If this machine is used for 30 minutes, the total power consumption will be 2.15 kWh.
A welding machine’s rated power can be calculated using the output voltage and the output current the welding machine supplies. Here, the rate at which the device consumes power is called watt, and the actual power consumption is called kilowatt per hour. For example, if your machine is rated as 1 kW and you use it for 2 hours, the machine will consume 2 kW.
Let’s go again to the previous example. I mentioned a welding machine that supplies 160 AMP current at 24V with 0.89 efficiency. In order to calculate the rated power of this welding machine, you need to use this formula:
Power (kW) = (Output Voltage X Output Current) / Efficiency
Now let me use the values of the previously mentioned welding machine.
Power (kW) = (24 X 160) / 0.89 = 4.314 kW.
So the rated output power is 4.314 kW in one hour.
Electricity Consumption: Small VS Large Welding Machines
It’s obvious that a large welding machine, particularly the one used in construction sites will consume more electricity. A lot of welding machines use gasoline and oil but I am not going to talk about them as you are currently focused on the machines that use electricity.
The electricity power consumed by a welding machine largely depends on the size of the transformer that’s used in the welding machine. A powerful welding machine should have a better transformer, hence consuming more energy. Moreover, the heat produced by these transformers causes more energy consumptions and less performance.
However, the latest inverter technology uses small but multiple transformers to reduce heat and power consumption. Therefore if you want to consume less energy even if you use a large machine, consider getting a machine that uses inverter technology.
A small welding machine that is used for home welding shouldn’t draw much electricity and fit in your monthly budget. Do not push your machine to its maximum limit or else you may end up frying that. Up to 50% usage is good for your home welding machines.
How to Reduce Power Consumption During Welding
So now you know about the power consumption of welding machines, now it’s time to learn how to reduce it. You will be surprised to know that by using three simple ways you can largely reduce your electricity usage. Let’s learn them:
- Assess Your Current Equipment’s Efficiency
First of all, think about the upgrades you can do at your welding shop. If they are too old, like more than five years, it’s time to think about it. People often say that “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. Just do not go for this old adage and start upgrading. If you are ready to upgrade, do the following things:
- Calculate output power
- Calculate input power
- Calculate daily operating costs during welding
- Calculate the daily operating costs during idle periods
- Calculate the total operating costs
Now compare the calculations with your newer system and start upgrading.
- Consider switching to inverter technology
Inverter systems are known for lower electricity consumption and higher efficiency, just as I mentioned before. They are super-portable and lightweight, thus generating less heat and producing more power. Even if you have a large machine for construction sites, the inverters feature advanced input voltage protection that helps in high-performance jobs.
These systems are able to provide power for high and low amperage flux-cored, stick, MIG, and TIG welding along with CV submerged and arc gouging. So stop thinking and go for inverter systems now, no doubt they are going to reduce your energy consumption by a huge margin.
- Closely track shop floor production and efficiency
Regularly monitoring energy efficiency using software is a good method of saving electricity. A lot of welding machines these days include built-in software with no requirement for computer hardware. It saves your money and helps to keep an eye on whatever is happening in your system.
The newest always-on alert system on the latest monitoring programs is able to track and analyze system faults immediately. By using this feature, you can keep track of your welding machine’s data 24/7 and take necessary decisions. The programs use SaaS, the cloud-based software system that provides all of your necessary welding information on your host computer.
Therefore, saving electricity is easier than ever by tracking the production and efficiency of your welding equipment.
Newbie welders are often intimidated by welding solely for the fear of ramping up their electricity costs. But, as you have learned by now, that fear is completely unnecessary. Welders consume very little power and for most casual users the monthly electricity bill should not reach above 2$. So, there is absolutely nothing for you to worry about. And even if you are still paranoid, you can just use the formulas I’ve provided in this article and calculate yourself how much electricity does welding use for your specific hardware.