So You Think You Want To Mine At Home?
- December 18, 2020
By Pete Richison – Owner of Miners-Warehouse.com
So you have decided to take the crypto mining plunge at home. Now we need to work through some of the other considerations–like location to mine at, electrical rates and capacity, noise and heat etc. All of these topics will be discussed in today’s post.
The location of your mining rigs is one of the most important things you will decide. This matters for many reasons but one of the most important considerations is power cost. Power cost directly affects your mining ventures profitability. At home residential electrical rates in the United States are typically in the range of 8 cents per kilowatt-hour to 13 cents/kwh and in some places even higher.
Understanding your electric bill is very important. When examining the bill, many people look at the “cost to compare” if you are in a region where you can shop electrical companies. My electrical rate is shown to be around 5 cents which sounds super exciting. However, don’t be fooled, this is a very common mistake. That number may be for power generation only. You need to know the actual full price of your electric to properly understand your mines profitability. The best way to determine this is to take your last bill and find the total KWH on the bill. Divide the total bill by the total KWH. This won’t give you a perfect rate because there are some flat fees built into most bills, but it will give you a very good idea of the real rate you’re working with.
Once you have determined your at home electrical rates, you want to take a peek at some online mining profitability calculators and see if your rig looks like its going to be profitable to run at home at your electrical rate. If not, go back to the drawing board and try to find another location to mine in (colocation, a friends house, a local business you’re connected to), or consider different hardware to use that is more profitable.
After you decide where you are going to mine based on electrical costs, you still have to consider some other factors: electrical availability, noise, heat, safety, and accessibility.
The first consideration is electrical availability. Decide where in your home do you want this machine to be? Does that location have proper electric available or can you get it installed? Please don’t use extension cords to power your mining rigs, because this is highly unsafe. Get properly rated electrical outlets installed by a professional and save yourself a ton of risk. In general you don’t want to exceed 80% of a circuits maximum load with a constant load. Some people will even say 70%. So for example if you have a 15 amp breaker, you don’t want to load it more than 12 amps constant load. (Remember Amps = Watts ÷ Voltage)
Next is noise. Mining rigs make noise. Some of them make more noise than others. It depends on your equipment choice and how you set it up. The hotter the rigs are running the harder the fans are going to work. Server PSUs are much noisier than most ATX PSUs but they’re also much cheaper. You can assume you are going to at least have GPU fans humming along nicely with a low whir, or if you have server PSUs running you can plan on a high pitched hair dryer running 24/7/365. So plan the location accordingly. If you are in a small home, or your significant other is going to be noise sensitive, think ahead and be sure you get the right gear for your situation.
Heat must also be considered.
Mining rigs use a lot of electric, and much of that electric is converted to heat. This heat has to be dissipated from the rigs. When you run a rig 24/7 in a room, even a larger room, it will have an affect on the ambient temperature. If you install multiple rigs in a room it can get downright warm in there. This can be used to your advantage in the winter months to heat parts of your home or office. Creating the unique advantage of saving on heating costs in addition to mining profits! If you like your home cool, and especially in the warmer parts of the year this can be a real issue and you need to think ahead. How will you dissipate the heat? Can you vent it outside? Can you shut down your rigs or move them at different times of the year?
Another consideration is safety. I want to start off by saying this is just general information and not intended to be safety or legal advice of any kind. You make your own decisions I am just sharing my experiences. For starters, electrical devices absolutely can catch on fire. I haven’t personally seen a mining rig start a fire, but I have seen many melt a few cables and luckily shut themselves down. Be cognizant of what is around your rig, keep combustible items away from the rigs. Use quality and properly rated components. Have your electric inspected and properly installed for the desired load of your rigs. Don’t use extension cords. Avoid SATA connectors powering risers or sata > molex adapters.
Last we should consider accessibility. GPU rigs break down. They can be feisty creatures that require a lot of TLC. Having your rigs in your home can help you keep them up and running because you can address problems quickly when they arise. It’s not unusual to drop a GPU or to have a rig just randomly go down and need a physical power reset. Having physical quick access to your machines can be very helpful to your profitability. It can also be very detrimental to your sleep. You’re not a real miner until you’ve been up until 3am trying to figure out how to fix your bricked card, rewriting a config file, or otherwise mending a broken rig. Be wary of the “quick fix” trip to the basement to tweak the rig, those never turn out quick!
Wrapping It All Up
As you can see there is a lot more involved in mining at home than just grabbing a few GPUs and getting started making money. At home mining is a great option for many people and I highly encourage you to try it. But its always best to be armed with plenty of information to help you make the most informed decision so that you can have the best experience and make the most crypto doing it! One last thing to consider is mining at home gives you the chance to have one unusual looking conversation starter for parties (when we can have those again).