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Old 09-20-2011, 02:32 PM   #1
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


I live in a single wide mobile home and so does my goddaughter just a few blocks away. They are of a similar size and age, but her electric bills have been running higher than mine, sometimes much higher. For instance, her last bill was $164 while mine was $63. That particular month (August) was 3 degrees cooler than the year before and it was not really hot at all here in Wisconsin this year that the air conditioning would be running.

Her higher bills have puzzled me all of this year, especially when she was gone for 12 days in May and her bill was actually a couple of dollars higher than mine. I had been in her house while she was gone to make sure nothing was running.

A year ago about in October her stepfather, who is not an electrician but knows some about it, came to her house and added an outlet in each of her two bedrooms and also in her living room. But each outlet of the pair had a separate electrical line running to it so each pair had an A and a B. That meant that 6 new lines were added altogether.

What made me wonder about if the adding of the 6 new lines had anything to do with her increased bills was when I saw the bar graph from the power company for her usage last year. Her bill was $62 in October before the new lines were added, but $180 the next month. Mine was $70 and $71 for the same months.

So my question is whether those new lines are drawing power even when nothing is plugged into them?

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Old 09-20-2011, 02:44 PM   #2
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


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So my question is whether those new lines are drawing power even when nothing is plugged into them?
If they are correctly wired and nothing is plugged into the receptacles then there is no power being used by those receptacles.

Haven't we been through this once?

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Old 09-20-2011, 02:48 PM   #3
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


What are the new lines for if they aren't being used?

Cell phone chargers, DVD's, HDTV's, Desk Top Computers, the list goes on and on. They all consume power when plugged in whether they are being used or not. This is to say nothing about fridges and freezers, and clocks, and etc.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:46 PM   #4
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


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If they are correctly wired and nothing is plugged into the receptacles then there is no power being used by those receptacles.

Haven't we been through this once?
Yes we have, but I don't know if they were correctly wired. I'm trying to find an explanation for the large electric bill difference between our houses and seeing a huge spike after the wiring is suspicious.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:52 PM   #5
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


Either there is a greater consumption of energy in the house or out of the house (electricity theft is not unheard of - it's not even that uncommon) or the utility made a mistake.

Comparing your consumption to your goddaughters is silly unless you compare everything plugged into the electrical system. Chances are a younger person has more electrical equipment (no offense intended, but it's true). What is the age/efficiency of her appliances? Even though it was cooler than last year was she actually running her AC less?


Too many variables - talk to the POCO about doing an energy audit.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:54 PM   #6
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


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What are the new lines for if they aren't being used?

Cell phone chargers, DVD's, HDTV's, Desk Top Computers, the list goes on and on. They all consume power when plugged in whether they are being used or not. This is to say nothing about fridges and freezers, and clocks, and etc.
The reason the outlets were added, a separate line for each of the 2 outlets on the outlet plate, was for space heaters to have their own line without tripping a circuit breaker.

There have been things plugged into the outlets in the summer such as a window air conditioner (everything on one side of the trailer was on one circuit and that circuit put the outlet where the air conditioner was to be plugged in along with the microwave in the kitchen--which is why the new lines were added), and I am sure now there is a small fridge plugged into one of them.

As I mentioned, a year ago there was a spike from $62 in October before the lines were put in to $180 the next month when my bills for the same 2 months were around $70. I cannot explain that.

There has to be a reason for this and I'm just trying to determine what it might be. Her stepfather knows what he is doing, but that could also be classified that he knows just enough to get himself into trouble. I do not know how correctly this wiring was done.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:00 PM   #7
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


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Either there is a greater consumption of energy in the house or out of the house (electricity theft is not unheard of - it's not even that uncommon) or the utility made a mistake.

Comparing your consumption to your goddaughters is silly unless you compare everything plugged into the electrical system. Chances are a younger person has more electrical equipment (no offense intended, but it's true). What is the age/efficiency of her appliances? Even though it was cooler than last year was she actually running her AC less?


Too many variables - talk to the POCO about doing an energy audit.
Comparing our 2 houses is not silly. The point is that I use far more electrical appliances (50" plasma tv, overhead projector, computer running all day) than she does. Also I am running a fridge that is 42 years old compared to hers which is about 5 years old.

Nothing explains how her bill was larger than mine last May when she was out of town for 12 days of the month and nothing was running other than the fridge and the water heater. Her power bill the previous month when the temps here were in the upper 90s was only $132.

So our houses and electrical use is comparable and nobody in the area has had power bills as high as hers, even people who have central air and live in much larger homes.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:12 PM   #8
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


Could be an appliance " leaking current to ground". Water heaters and pump motors are typical culprits.

Appliances with heater coils are another.

Bad/sticking well pressure switch.

I usually start there.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:23 PM   #9
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


Outlets do not draw power unless there is a ground fault created during installation, which is unlikely but not impossible. Also very easy to check by putting an ammeter on the hot line to the outlet when nothing is plugged in, and seeing if there is any current. It is also easy to check the potential current draw of all appliances in the house, you go around the house and note the nameplate amperage and voltage of each plugged in appliance.

Unless the individual who wired the house is grossly careless or knows effectively nothing about wiring, it is unlikely they wired an outlet with a ground fault capable of drawing $120 per month of electricity, but as I stated above, this is easy to check. If you don't have an ammeter, you can check the draw of each circuit by turning off all breakers but one, and noting if the meter increases. The meter should be stationary if there is nothing plugged in, clearly if the meter is advancing, there is power consumption, and the technique I just described can be used to isolate the circuit, and eventually the offending device.

The last possibility is that there is a fault between the meter or the main panel and ground, and you are paying for power loss to the ground that is too small to trip the breaker. This would show up if you turned off the main breaker to the house, and the meter continued to spin.'

So every possibility can be checked with relatively unsophisticated tools.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:23 PM   #10
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


Unused receptacles, just like lights that are not turned on, do not consume power. You are going to have to get serious about doing some testing and troubleshooting. If I recall, in the last thread you didn't want to turn everything off for a few hours at a time to see if there is any activity on the meter. Well, you are going to have to start somewhere if you want to understand this issue.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:29 PM   #11
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


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There has to be a reason for this and I'm just trying to determine what it might be.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:53 PM   #12
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


Make sure you put caps on all unused outlets. Sometimes they can leak electricity into the air. These currents vary depending on humidity levels and atmospheric pressure as well as other factors.




(Just kidding... no, empty outlets do not draw power)
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:02 PM   #13
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


Well....if your goddaughter is anything like my kids......they don't know how to turn off lights.....

Have you looked at the electrical meter? Watch how fast it's turning? Then go through the house and see what is on? Let me guess....all the lights are incandescents? Is the seal on the fridge in good shape? Are you sure the anti-condensation heater in the fridge door seal is not staying on all the time? Water heater not turned up too high?
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:04 PM   #14
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


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Originally Posted by elocs View Post
Comparing our 2 houses is not silly. The point is that I use far more electrical appliances (50" plasma tv, overhead projector, computer running all day) than she does. Also I am running a fridge that is 42 years old compared to hers which is about 5 years old.

Nothing explains how her bill was larger than mine last May when she was out of town for 12 days of the month and nothing was running other than the fridge and the water heater. Her power bill the previous month when the temps here were in the upper 90s was only $132.

So our houses and electrical use is comparable and nobody in the area has had power bills as high as hers, even people who have central air and live in much larger homes.
I wasn't kidding when I said someone might be stealing her electricity.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:12 PM   #15
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Can just adding new electric wiring for new outlets increase power usage?


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I wasn't kidding when I said someone might be stealing her electricity.
Good point.....are you sure someone hasn't snuck a line to her load center?

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