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Old 04-02-2008, 07:42 PM   #1
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Abnormally high KWH usage


The last 4 months my KWH usage has doubled over the same time period last year (in fact over the same time period the last 5 years). I have an all electric dwelling with a heat pump. I have just had the heat pump and water heater checked for high current draw but they check out fine. I typically draw 2800 KWH per month on average and the last 4 months have been over 5500 KWHs. Do I need an electrician to come and put sensors on each circuit in my breaker panel to monitor all usage over time? Nothing new (appliances, etc) has been added so I am stumped why the KWH usage has doubled these last 4 months - our winter has been very mild, plus past records do not support this high usage. The dwelling is 2500 sq feet, I keep the temperature set at 66 during the day and 64 at night, and my last electric bill was $890, $720 before that, and $780 the month before that - I'm going broke just paying the electric bill!! How can I figure out the culprit circuit causing this high KWH draw? All suggestions will be most appreciated. Thanks


Last edited by pvd; 04-02-2008 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:49 PM   #2
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Abnormally high KWH usage


I think your only course of action is to call the power company and have them check the meter.

A "leak" of some sort is possible but not likely. I suppose that your WH thermostat could be stuck on but you said you had it checked out. Did they cycle it on/off while reading amperage?

No heat strips in association with your heat pump?

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Old 04-02-2008, 08:56 PM   #3
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Abnormally high KWH usage


PVD

Yeah that seems high to me. I live in NEBRASKA real bad winter.. really cold. Have a heat pump. 4000 sf house. Gas water heater. My highest electric bill this witner has been $115.
Gas water and sewage ONE bill high was $174.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:58 PM   #4
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Abnormally high KWH usage


Someone has to be the profit margin for the utility .....
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:12 PM   #5
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Abnormally high KWH usage


In all seriousness - I'd look out for any unexplained extension cords running to your neighbor's new hot tub.

Back when I was practicing law (I finally came to my senses) I saw one case of electricity theft - some dude was using his neighbor's juice for his grow operation. Of course, if you have no neighbors or if you would have noticed if they ran an extension cord to your house, I'd talk to the power co.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:41 AM   #6
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Abnormally high KWH usage


My neighbors are a pretty good distance away, but I did walk around and check for "foreign" cables but all checked out fine. Something is drawing lots of electricity and I haven't figured out what. I wish there was a device, or multiple single devices, that can be clipped onto each circuit in the breaker box that monitors usage over time and provides a summary at the end. Once the culprit circuit is isolated I can then further examine what items are on that particular circuit and troubleshoot from there. Anyone familiar with that type of device?
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:04 AM   #7
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Abnormally high KWH usage


Start by calling the power company. Explain the situation as you did here and I am sure they will assist you.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:15 AM   #8
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Abnormally high KWH usage


If your bill has gone up, and it isn't because of the utility has jacked the rates, then your meter should be spinning faster. Go out and count the number of revolutions it makes in say 30 seconds. Then turn circuits off one by one until you see which one is drawing the most. This will clue you in to where the drain is. Then turn everything back on except that one, and note the meter, just to make sure.

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Old 04-03-2008, 02:18 PM   #9
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Abnormally high KWH usage


My electric meter is one of the digital ones where you can't see the meter spinning since there is no meter that spins. It flashes about 10 different numbers - - I believe they call it a time-of-use meter. I tried calling the electric company - PEPCO - and they are pretty useless. They verified the meter is accurate and that's the extent of their responsibility, so it is up to me to find out what is going on. I talked with an electrician and he told me that the high KWH is caused by either the heat pump or the water heater as those are the only two really big draw type items. I just had those two items checked out and they are fine. Finding a solution is harder than I thought it would be for so common a question.
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:59 PM   #10
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Abnormally high KWH usage


Do you have any underground wiring such as a light on post> If the wire is defective it could be leaking current to ground.
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:45 PM   #11
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Abnormally high KWH usage


There is a meter called 'Kill A Watt' that plugs in between an outlet and a plug. It shows the parameters of your power consumption (V,A,W).
However I think it works for 120 Volts only. There may be a similar gismo that takes 240V input.
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Old 04-03-2008, 05:58 PM   #12
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Abnormally high KWH usage


That appears to be a handy device for measuring usage . . thank you for the tip. I wonder if there is something similar for those hard-wired large voltage items like the heat pump, water heater, etc . . maybe something that clips onto the individual circuits within the breaker panel that monitors usage over time . . .
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:18 PM   #13
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Abnormally high KWH usage


It's fairly easy actually. Just shut off everything and go to the meter and watch to see if it continues to grow. It should only take around 15 minuts at the rate you're using them up.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:20 PM   #14
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Abnormally high KWH usage


Quote:
Originally Posted by pvd View Post
That appears to be a handy device for measuring usage . . thank you for the tip. I wonder if there is something similar for those hard-wired large voltage items like the heat pump, water heater, etc . . maybe something that clips onto the individual circuits within the breaker panel that monitors usage over time . . .

Well, I suppose you could buy a KWH meter like what a power company uses. (a non-digital one) You would have to wire up a meter socket and such, but it might be an option.
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Old 04-03-2008, 06:28 PM   #15
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Abnormally high KWH usage


looks like there is a 220v monitor as well . . . pretty pricey at $269.00

Brultech EML 2020 Portable Power Meter

http://www.mymeterstore.com/p4124/eml_2020.php

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