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Old 01-27-2010, 07:58 PM   #1
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elec. bill spiked, bad element on furnace?


A friend of mine recently had a large increase in their electric bill. It's an all electric house with a new hot water tank, so I'm thinking furnace. She claims the furnace is not running any more than usual, heat is the same in the house.

It's an 20+ year old GE. I haven't gotten over there yet but I want to pull the heating element out and check it out first. Any other advice?

Are these restring kits any good? Is there somewhere to get NOS GE parts?

I grew up doin HVAC installs with my pops, just never did any electric systems.


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Old 01-27-2010, 08:04 PM   #2
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elec. bill spiked, bad element on furnace?


How large is large ?
Where are they located ?
Town or well water ?
Any pumps in the house...sump pump...other ?

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Old 01-27-2010, 08:13 PM   #3
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elec. bill spiked, bad element on furnace?


One element/sequencer may be stuck on. 5kw running all the time will spike the bill. GE is OLD and obsolete and it may be time for a new furnace that you can get parts for. When the elements are that old the porcelain isolaters are VERY fragile and break easily. I never restring elements as they have to be the EXACT length of spring, stretched perfectly etc etc and rarely last very long. OLD electric furnaces are a fire hazard and I have seen a LOT of melted wiring and roasted electric units that caught the wiring on fire.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:26 PM   #4
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elec. bill spiked, bad element on furnace?


- Never overlook an extension cord running to the dead-beat neighbor's house. I have worked on a case of electrical theft.

- Teenager with a grow operation in the attic. Seen one of those too.

Of course, it might be the obvious and most reasonable solution: the furnace.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:21 PM   #5
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elec. bill spiked, bad element on furnace?


city water/sewer, normal sump pump (footer drain i guess).

kWh has been 3X the last two months. $400 and $500. ugh.

I've heard a lot of sequencers "sticking". do they physically stick? Should I be able to electrically cycle them to ensure they work?

Any more ideas for troubleshooting? I'll check the thing with an ammeter, if a sequencer is stuck would it be drawing 24/7, even when heat is off? I should see a nice current draw all the time in that case.

What do these things draw normally? I mean is it just wattage/voltage?

so a 220v 5kW element should draw 22amps?
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:09 PM   #6
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elec. bill spiked, bad element on furnace?


Could be the new water heater. Was it installed just before she got the big electric bill.
If an element is stuck on. it will draw between 18 and 22 amps.
Could be a blow element shorting to the case.
Could be they have a heat pump. And the heat pump is not working.

Check amp draw, and ohm out all strip heaters.

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