DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sister told me that her bill been going high from 300 to 400. She recently told me that she had a HVAC installed and figure that was the issue. She had it turned off. Notice the bill did not change. Then she said the unplug anything connected to the outlet. I told her to contact a electrician. Is there anything she can do to troubleshoot before calling a electrician to pin point the problem ?
 

·
JUSTA MEMBER
Joined
·
16,420 Posts
There are too many unanswered questions that need answered before anyone can advise accurately.

What is her climate.

Heat source.

Total electric home.

insulation .

other occupants, leaving lights on, entertainment system.

Anything else that uses electricity.


and the list goes on.


ED
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
Does she have a well pump for water? A well problem can cause the pump to run continuously, which will drive up the electric bill. Or perhaps a heat tape on the roof for snow/ice removal?

One thing you can do is watch the electric meter and note how fast it is recording kWh. The old type of meter with the spinning metal disc made this easy. But probably not many of them around these days. Turn off breakers one by one and note when the speed goes down. Then you'll know the circuit that is consuming the power.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not sure. All she told me was that she didn't have the kind of bill before installing the HVAC. She told me if I still talk to my friend that worked at HVAC. I told her No. And told her if you did all those things ( i meant on the first post) then something is drawing energy. My guess if she happen to have the HVAC that it could be draw a lot of electricity from the breaker where the HVAC connected to was my conclusion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Does she have a well pump for water? A well problem can cause the pump to run continuously, which will drive up the electric bill. Or perhaps a heat tape on the roof for snow/ice removal?

One thing you can do is watch the electric meter and note how fast it is recording kWh. The old type of meter with the spinning metal disc made this easy. But probably not many of them around these days. Turn off breakers one by one and note when the speed goes down. Then you'll know the circuit that is consuming the power.



Not that I know of she just has a water heater. I guess she could do that. Turn one breaker at a time and watch the meter. Would that mean the breaker bad ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
But you said she recently had an hvac installed. So the heat pump is new and was recently put in?



The water heater was put in 2 years before she moved in. As for the HVAC she just said she recently install. How long i would say few months ago like 4 or 5 months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,422 Posts
Do you mean she had a heat pump water heater installed?
I was referring to the hvac system.
Is it gas? Oil? Electric? Heat pump?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Do you mean she had a heat pump water heater installed?
I was referring to the hvac system.
Is it gas? Oil? Electric? Heat pump?

Yes
Oh I thought you were talking about water heater
As far as gas or electric that i would not know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,422 Posts
To get a good idea of what’s going on we would need to know specifics about the house.
Other then that it’s just a wild guess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
To get a good idea of what’s going on we would need to know specifics about the house.
Other then that it’s just a wild guess.



I think RAL238 has a good logic. Go straight to the point turn off each break and water the meter. That all she can do. She not electrician. If it is the HVAC she could have the guy replace the breaker. I'm sure she doesn't want to spend all night or week going here and there. If if she does find it she can point that out to him and let him do rest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Don't forget to check the bill itself. Are they doing actuals or estimates? Did the rate change? Did she get signed up for any new distributors, etc.

You're going after kWh in these posts, but you may not have changed those.


Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,360 Posts
A very common cause of an electric bill that jumps up and stays up from that time forward is a leak in the hot water plumbing together with an all electric water heater.

Check for water and wetness, not the electric meter here. Because the water heater cycles on and off somewhat randomly, it will be hard to correlate electric meter readings with the water heater breaker turned off overnight versus turned on, although the difference will show if there is a big leak.

Alternatively check the water meter for usage when you have all the faucets turned off. with the water heater shutoff valve above the heater open versus closed.

Some modern digital water meters and electric meters have a tiny dot pattern in the readout to indicate small water or power consuption. One pattern might go something like this:
---
--o
-o-
-oo
o--
o-o
oo-
ooo
---
(repeat)
The more power is drawn, the faster the dot pattern sequences and repeats.
 

·
Usually Confused
Joined
·
7,269 Posts
A lot of unknowns that the OP doesn't know the answer to. I assume whatever HAVC she had installed replaced something.
The issue of any change to billing type is interesting. A few years ago a friend changed nothing except to go on equalized billing, and his bills went up - a lot. He is on electric baseboard heating but has two wood stoves to minimize consumption. After much back-and-forth, electrical inspections, politicians involved, etc. it turned out that a high month resets the monthly equal billing, and he was away for a month in mid-winter so obviously, all electric. The weird part that remains unanswered is you would think he would get a credit adjustment and the end of the cycle, but he did not. He gave up chasing the ghost but went back to actual KwH monthly billing and his bills went back down and have stayed there.
 

·
wNCmountainCabin
Joined
·
205 Posts
...as a former small town mayor, for a town with it's own electric distribution and billing to our customer/residents, I can tell you that the question of 'why is my bill so HIGH this month!' comes up quite often, especially if you have an insurance office downtown where folks don't mind stopping by and 'complaining' to the mayor! (one reason why I eventually saw the writing on the wall and decided that being the 'mayor' was a better position for someone else)...

Once, I had a lady stop by and swear that her electric bill was 'artificially' high, and we at 'city hall' had a special 'button' to press to make her pay more!
When I politely questioned her assumption, she made comments that her 'neighbor' didn't have near the high bill as she did, and nobody should be paying 'these high prices' just for electricity. I asked her what might be causing her spike in usage. She had no clue, but to maintain her swearing that it 'had to be' city hall doing it to her.
Later that day, as I drove by her home on the way to my home, I noticed her front door open. I stopped and knocked on her door to have a further conversation, and while she never responded, I noticed that her A/C unit was running full blast near the end of the house. It was also a humid 95 degrees.

You get the picture. And, no, her neighbor didn't her door open and her A/C unit wasn't even running. You can't 'compare' your bill to your neighbors.

Another customer called and complained. She said that she shouldn't have to pay such a high rate when she hardly uses electricity at all! Hmmmm. I asked her what size her home was. She wasn't sure, but she said "it's not that big, smaller than most...". I asked her how her Propane heating was doing during these cold winter months. She responded that she didn't have any propane, everything was electric.
I may now see the problem.


Everything is relative, but everything electrical cannot be compared to your neighbor, or sometimes even to your OWN previous bill, as weather, temperatures, humidity, usage, your own preferences for inside temperatures, and whether you are 'all electric' will certainly come into play, even from month to month. Electricity is not a 'static' power source, as the owner actually has everything to do with the bill, NOT the electrical supplier(the utility), as their rate is generally the same, and consistent. If a 'spike' in a monthly bill is questioned, it's most commonly a 'spike' in usage during that previous billing cycle, and probably not anything to do with what's happening 'today'. Having an HVAC unit installed is most likely part of the reason.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
If you are turning off the ac and it is used as a heat pump then the furnace electric strip heaters kick in to heat the space. The bill will climb dramatically since a heat pump is more efficient than just the strip heaters.

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
626 Posts
Did the new HVAC system replace a single/dual speed fan motor with a variable speed motor?

Some variable speed motors which maintain better comfort in the home actually consume 3 to 4 times the power consumption and could easily cause the usage spike she sees.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top