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Old 12-04-2019, 03:29 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 1
Block heater causing spike in my electric bill?

Hey guys, my contractor allows me to take home my work truck which runs on diesel. I plugged it in last month because here in Iowa it gotten pretty cold. Not unusual, however I've noticed a significant increase in my electric use. Which typically doesn't occur since I've looked at previous years of records for October-November. Perhaps because as soon as I get home, I plug in the block heater. I don't typically get in my truck till about 5:30 in the morning next day. Looking at purchasing a outdoor plug timer. Do I need a specific type of plug timer since the diesel block heater could be pulling in more power? I believe I don't need to have my block heater on until 3-4 hours before starting the truck. Is that correct? Would appreciate the replies, thanks.

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Old 12-04-2019, 04:46 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 34,917
It will show on your bill. I found if I plug it in an hour before wanting to use it was fine.
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 12-04-2019, 06:03 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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Yes even an hour seems to be enough at most times in the winter. Try for a timer with decent contact ratings.

Personally I would try to find out what the block heater actually draws current wise before buying a timer. Or mention the truck brand and engine type and some poster may know. Plus they may have an ideal of the actual time needed on that engine.
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Old 12-05-2019, 02:55 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Northwest Indiana
Posts: 7,772
Regarding the timer needed. Ohms law, watts divided by by voltage equal amperage. Also you must already be using a sufficient extension cord, keep that in mind also.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:23 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,979
Work trucks have different sized engines. He could even have something large. I only used block heaters long enough to assure stars. The old indirect volkswagon diesels needed some help when the thermometer was well below zero.

Some of them had the strongest and quickest heater system I have ever experienced. They produced heat that would scorch you if you held your hand near a vent. Plus this came on pretty fast.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:56 AM
Diesel911's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Long Beach,CA
Posts: 30,267
I am looking at a normal house hold timer that people mainly us on Lights and it has 15 amps on it. 15 amps X 120 Volts = 1800 watts
and on the timer it has 1875W (watts?).

Any way the electrical info will be on the timer. However, the timer is made for inside of the house not outside.

84 300D, 82 Volvo 244Gl Diesel
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