PSE&G usage doubled the last two months
I came across this forum in a Google search for an explanation of how my PSE&G electric
bill has sky rocketed. I'll start with September of 2011 vs 2012 thru January of 2012 vs 2013.
The household changes for 2012 are, my in-laws stayed with us from September 26th through
January 7th 2013 & my son was born October 25th of 2012. The storm known as Sandy struck
October 29th knocking out power until November 7th. The only changes to consumption aside
from two extra bodies are the 2x wipe warmers, 1x bottle warmer, 1x baby swing and 1x baby
monitor. The two wipe warmers are rated at 12v @850mAh, the swing is 12v @9 watts and the
bottle warmer is 12v @ 350watts.
The wipe warmers are on 24/7 while the bottle warmer is used as needed, roughly every 3 hours
for 6 minutes. The swing is on an avg of 15 hours a day, it has music he likes to sleep to.
I have read that a short in the ground cable or other PSE&G cable could be causing this increase
but could I prove it? and wouldn't that short have to be on my side of the meter? The meter is
attached to the house so this seems unlikely. I do have a second fridge that for about 7 months
has been leaking water inside the unit rather than out to the pan. The temperature settings for
this refrigerator are kept on the middle setting. It is a second fridge so it is in the garage, an area
normally cold in the winter, if that could be impacting it's run time.
What baffles me is that December, when the in-laws were here, is lower than January and my wife's mom
cooked all the time and of course, more demand on the water heater. Now that they have left, we
have not had time to cook so it has been take out from Boston Market or Cheesecake Factory every
night in January yet the bill climbed. How can this be? How bad would the garaged refrigerator have
to be running to suck up over 767kW? Mind you, I lowered the damn thermostat!
When I call PSE&G, what should I tell/ask them to probe for areas that could implicate their equipment
as the fault, if it truly is their equipment. If it isn't, my next guess would be the heat pump but that
was installed in 2010 by the Home Depot and is a SEER 14 unit that has been running fine. What could
I ask/tell the contractor that installed it to determine if the auxiliary heat strips are faulty? or coming
on more frequently than really needed.
Any help will be greatly appreciated as a $585 electric bill in December and a $718 bill in January has
me very alarmed for the February bill. This is a 25 year old 1400sq foot townhouse with only 2 walls that
face the outside, it's not a 3000sq foot 80 year old house with drafty windows!
This is an average of PSE&G rates; $0.116845 per kWh.
Total kWh used: 1025
Avg outside temp: 72
Total kWh used: 768
Avg outside temp: 71
Thermostat setting: 76
Total kWh used: 920
Avg outside temp: 66
Total kWh used: 908
Avg outside temp: 61
Thermostat setting: 74
Total kWh used: 1362
Avg outside temp: 53
Total kWh used: 1623
Avg outside temp: 46
Thermostat setting: 74
Total kWh used: 1957
Avg outside temp: 46
Total kWh used: 3360
Avg outside temp: 43
Thermostat setting: 75
(lowered to 71 when I saw this bill)
Total kWh used: 1914
Avg outside temp: 34
Total kWh used: 4127
Avg outside temp: 35
Thermostat setting: 71
If you have a furnace and Heat pump, that the Furnace is electric, the Heat strips can be stuck on all the time, also some people that have heated ceiling exhaust fans, can find them left on. Also, if you are in a area that remote meter readings are used, may want to contact PSE&G to have them verify the meter, due to some of the meter units have been found to be faulty.
Now if you want, you can do like I did, and install a Ted5000 in your main panel, to monitor electric use, to compare to your utility.
Due to Home Depot used a sub to install the Heat pump, I would say that is probably the issue, and to find another company, not call Home Depot to have who knows who come out. Most subs that work for Home Depot & Lowe's do not have the experience that you will find with either a independent contractor that has been in the hvac company, or a local company that has been around, but not one that has the biggest ad in the Yellow Pages, or splashy graphics on their trucks.
One way to find out also if the heat strips are on, get a Clamp-on meter and use it to check Amp draw for both the Heat Pump & furnace.
First, thank you for your reply and input.
Our entire development is electric, no gas and we don't have a furnace. Just the heat pump.
I would love to clamp a meter to the heat strip to see if it is on all the time but I wouldn't
know where to begin to do such a thing. Most of the wiring for it is concealed in the garage
ceiling. The LCD thermostat is capable of indicating if the aux heat is on but either the Trane
unit isn't set up to feed that information to the White Rogers thermostat or it isn't wired
properly, again I have no way to verify or know if either are true.
The contractor Home Depot sent was actually a private contractor servicing our area that
I was considering even prior to reaching out to HD. They were professional, competent and
"talked a good talk". The unit was installed in 2010 and each winter since has been normal
in terms of the electric bill.
It seems something has happened in December causing a major increase in usage yet for
the increase from November to December, 1737kWh, I have no idea what. Then the increase
from December to January, another 767kWh.
I just purchased the TED 5000C and am reviewing it's installation guide. There seems to be a discrepancy in the PDF and their online video guide.
The written PDF states to cap off and not connect the red MTU wire while the video shows where it should be connected. Is yours connected?
Measuring the air discharged from the vents I am getting 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Ambient temperature today is 28 degrees.
The Heat pump is the outside unit, the furnace/air handler is the inside unit. A Gas & Electric hvac is called a Hybrid system. You have Electric only, but have to have both units to make it work. The Electric heat strips are inside the furnace/air handler, and if not wired correctly, or the thermostat is not setup properly, they will either stay on, or come on too soon while the Heat pump is working.
If you are only going to use one clamp, you cap off the Red wire, or if you are only going to measure 120vac. Install the clamps for the TED with one on one 120vac line going to the one side of the main breaker, the other clamp on the other 120vac line going to the other side of the main breaker.
Then you connect the Neutral to a empty screw on the Neutral/ground bus bar, the Black to one 15amp or 20amp breaker, the Red to another 15amp or 20amp breaker. Keep in mind, you cannot "double tap" certain breakers, unless they allow. I hooked my MTU to the same breakers that are used for our Whole house surge protector.
Make sure you write down the info on the label of the MTU, because you will need that info, when you set up the Gateway to communicate with it. Also remember you are working with live voltages inside the panel, so if not comfortable, hire an electrician to do the MTU side with the clamps, and also remember the Red dot on the clamps goes towards the breaker, otherwise they will be out of phase, and you will get errant readings in the Gateway webserver & think that it is faulty.
Unless you know what the thermostat was set at, or people kept changing the temp, not leaving alone, it can be another culprit of high energy use.
I keep our thermostat at 68, unless extremely cold, then may bump up to 69 for a period during Winter, during daytime hours, but from 9:30 pm until 6:00 am, we keep at 65, rest of the day at 68. Summer set at 72 when away, 70 when home and at night for A/C.
I just did a crude test.
I went outside to look at the meter and it was spinning like it was out to win a race.
I unplugged the garage refrigerator. No discernible change.
I unplugged the kitchen refrigerator. No discernible change.
I checked the heat, nothing was blowing so to me, I took that as the system was off
but for the fun of it, I turned the unit off at the White Rogers thermostat. The meter
lost the race. It slowed down to a nice tortuous pace. I plugged each refridgerator back
in and the increase was very minor.
What does this tell you?
Where in New Jersey do you love? When was the house built? You can request to have the meter changed and tested.
Turn the thermostat on, then go to the main panel and turn off the breaker or pull the disconnect out at the heat pump outside, go look at the breaker. Still running fast, then it is the heat strips in the furnace inside. Either mis-wired at the furnace, or the thermostat is incorrectly wired or setup.
We discussed this same thing on here about a year or two, and usually it is the furnace mis-wired why the heat strips are stuck on when they shouldn't, or the thermostat is incorrectly programmed for the aux set point. There are better units out there, that use a outside sensor with the thermostat, so that you can get a better programming of when the aux kicks in, and the thermostat can make the unit even more efficient.
Yes, the air handler is in the garage. I always thought furnace to be associated with a boiler based system.
I have not removed the panel cover to expose the wiring but I'd like to have the TED connected to everything, including
the 240 lines. I'm going to reach out to an electrician to get a quote to install it. So I can decide if it is something I'd
even like to contemplate. I'm not concerned about shock as I would have the breaker off, I'm concerned about damaging
the TED once I flip the breaker back on. My concern is which breaker to connect the red and black to. I will also call the
companies 800 number and get some help from them.
One is 20 amp that runs the AC portion...
The other is a 40 or 60 Amp for the back up heat.
Turn the big one off until the 3 or 4 days a year come up
that YOU say are too cold.
the heat strips are most likely stuck on, based on your crude test
If you have space for a couple of breakers, if you do not have a Square D QO panel, yours may not allow two wires connected to the same screw on the breaker. Flipping back on the main breaker can cause a surge, so it is always suggest to flip all circuits off first, before flipping back on the main breaker.
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