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Old 07-24-2011, 03:18 AM   #1
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


This month I suddenly got hit with a gas _usage_ spike, about 3x of normal. The bill shows I used 110 CCF. The reading was about 10 days ago, and since then I've used only about 3-4 CCF if I am reading it correctly... so the spike is no longer there. About 4 CCF for 10 days puts me in line with the usual usage for summer.

We have gas water heater, gas stove, gas furnace (not used in summer, obviously) and gas clothes dryer -- oven is electric. We had relatives stay over for only 3 days last month, and the only unusual thing may have been that someone has been pressure washing the driveway, which probably used a lot of cold water. Average temp over the period (day and night) has been around 85F, with days in upper 90s.

I do not understand what could've caused the spike.. even if the meter malfunctioned, it's magically back to normal. I looked at my 12 month usage history, and they seem to add up.

I did due dilligence and checked the obvious areas that may have gas leaks, and nothing.. also the gas meter is barely budging.

I get to go through the fun of calling Centerpoint on Monday and have them come over just to tell me that the "meter is working fine", but can someone suggest what else I can check?

Any suggestions?

Last edited by injvstice; 07-24-2011 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:57 AM   #2
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


Is it possible, the previous couple meter readings were estimates.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:08 AM   #3
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


and/or did they raise their rates...... again?

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Old 07-24-2011, 07:42 AM   #4
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Is it possible, the previous couple meter readings were estimates.
This was my first thought as well.

The other thing is, you had guests for several days. A couple things come to mind. Extra hot water use due to showers/baths, laundry, dishwasher, etc. Additional use for cooking fuel. Additional use of clothes dryer. A dirty lint trap will result in a longer dry time and higher gas usage.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:46 AM   #5
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


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and/or did they raise their rates...... again?

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I've actually seen a couple of rate decreases over the last few years.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:56 AM   #6
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


most gas water heaters are between 35-40,000 btu input which is 1/2 the size of a small furnace. with the water heater, dryer extra usage you could run up a larger bill. teenagers can easily drain a 40 gallon water heater with a long shower and they wash clothes after wearing them once. hopefully you have low flow shower heads.
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Last edited by yuri; 07-24-2011 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:48 AM   #7
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


A leak somewhere in the hot water piping to waste hot water and make the water heater use more gas?

Washing machine accidentally set to hot when you usually set it to warm or cold?

Turn off all faucets and then see if the water meter is still spinning.
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:55 PM   #8
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


Hi guys, thanks for the suggestions. It is good information to know.

I am beginning to think there is actually a simpler explanation, they misread the meter. Since this was the first time I read the meter, it was not hard for me to make the same mistake.

See, the second dial is on the 4. According to stuff I read on the Internet, you then need to look at the third dial to see if it has passed zero or not, and also notice third dial is read in the opposite direction. In my case the third dial has not passed zero yet. So I am thinking the 110 ccf is actually 10 ccf since the second hand should be read as a 3 not a 4.

I need to call them and have them reread the meter. What I have is:

First dial between 2 and 3
Second dial on 4
Third dial between 7 and 8
Fourth dial between 6and 7

They read this as 2476 but I think it is actually 2376 since third dial has not passed 0 yet. This matches my expected summer usage.
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:50 PM   #9
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


exactly. as the 4th dial gets closer to 9 the 3rd dial hits 9 and will push the 2nd past and onto 4. 1 pushes the other then the other and so on.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:00 PM   #10
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


If it was 2476, the second dial should be in between the 4 and 5.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:10 PM   #11
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


Holy Heck !!!!! The highest usage I've EVER had was Feb. 2010. That was the coldest Feb on record here !!!!! I have a gas water heater, gas dryer and a gas furnace, plus I keep my stat on 70 all day long, my house was built in 1950.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:14 AM   #12
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


Could you possibly have a leak in your gas line somewhere?
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:39 PM   #13
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


Well, I called centerpoint, they took my reading, and adjusted the bill. They seem to be too lazy to come out and do another reading. So problem solved... For now.

P.s. I am fairly sure I am not leaking 100 ccf of gas (that would be what, 10,000 cubic feet?).
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:45 PM   #14
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Gas bill spike -- in summer


Guarantee if you suspect a leak they'll have someone out to read the meter that day!
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