high electric bills

Old 12-07-02, 06:03 AM
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Unhappy high electric bills

I have a question for my brother's electric bill,first off 2 adults and 1 child every other week. The normal appliances, gas stove,gas water tank,1 water bed,central air,(electric dryer,washer/they wash/dry twice a week). They watch and dont leave lights on when not necessary but there electric bill is (budget) $125. Mine is around $65 (2 adults,2 kids,1 water bed,wash/dry every other day,kids always leave lights on, I'm in garage working(compressor,lights,radio,wood tools). Both in same city,100amp service. So here is my question can ther be a problem with his panal box. his house was a burnout about 10yrs ago so everything is about 10yrs old. And how would I check to see if there is a problem, what tools would I need/readings should I get with the normal breakers?
Old 12-07-02, 07:08 AM
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It would be pretty difficult to verify the utility companies readings. But you can try. First you can have them check their own meter.
Next, if you purchase a clamp-on type amp meter and measure the current (amps) on each of the two hot wires comming into his panel. Do this at several times during the day and night. Take the average of all the readings to arrive at the average value for and individual hot. So maybe 30-50 amps. Take that number and multiply it by 240 (voltage of your service). Then multiply that number by 24 (hours) then the number of days in the billing cycle. Then you will have the kwh that the utility company puts on your bill.
Good luck.
Old 12-07-02, 10:05 AM
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Check for a "hot" compressor on any refrigerators or freezers.-----Read the meter at 10 P.M., 8 A.M., and 10 P.M. Obviously mimium power is consumed during the 10 P.M-8 A.M. period. Divide the 10P.M.-10P.M. reading by 24 to calculate the equivilent "constant" power consumption. A reading of 24 KWHR for the 10P.M.-10P.M. period is equivilent to a "constant" load of 1 Kilowatt (KW) = 1000 watts.
Old 12-07-02, 10:13 AM
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How to save money on electric bill?

How can i save money on my electric bill?...
The most electricity in your home is used by Electric Heat, Air conditioners, Electric Hot Water and your Electric Dryer. You could help by getting an automatic thermostat. Those long showers are nice but there costing you extra money. Do you really need to run that dryer that often? One other thing that could cause a problem would be a bad breaker or loose connections at the breaker.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, heating and cooling are the largest contributors to most household energy bills and are the best places you can look to save money. After making sure your home is well insulated, make sure your heating and cooling systems are running efficiently and central systems are checked annually.
To keep equipment running efficiently, keep heating and cooling air ducts clean and outdoor equipment free from dirt and other debris.
A balanced load in your electrical panel. Also the homeowners habits of electrical use. What is on? At what times? Can save money on your electric bill.

How to figure Kilowatt Hours!
Watts = Volts x Amps and the kilo in kilowatts stands for 1,000. Take the voltage, times the amperage, and divide the result by 1,000. This will give you the kilowatt usage per hour of any electric motor or other electric device.

How to read the utility electric meter!
Most electric meters are clockface, which means they use clockfaces instead of actual numbers. There are usually five clocks. Reading the clock faces from left to right, note the number the hand is pointing to. If the hand is between two numbers, note the lower number. If the number on each meter left to right was 1 2 3 4 5. Than your meter read is 12,345 KWh. And the next month it was 1 2 4 4 5, you would have used 100 KWh.

These are some approximate wattage values for appliances.
Appliance and wattage
Lighting - Emergency= 500 Watts
Lighting - Basic= 1200 Watts
Lighting - Full= 4000 Watts
Furnace - Gas= 750 Watts
Electric Heat= 5000 Watts
Heat Pump= 5000 Watts
Electric Water Heater= 5000 Watts
Security System= 20 Watts
Portable Radio= 15 Watts
Cordless Telephone= 15 Watts
Refrigrator - 20 Cu Ft= 800 Watts
Freezer - 20 Cu Ft= 550 Watts
Sump Pump= 900 Watts
Well Pump HP= 1000 Watts
Well Pump 1HP= 2000 Watts
Garage Door Opener HP= 400 Watts
Microwave Oven 800W= 1200 Watts
Microwave Oven 1000W= 1500 Watts
Coffee Maker= 900 Watts
Dishwasher= 1400 Watts
Toaster= 900 Watts
Computer= 250 Watts
Electric Range-1Burner= 1400 Watts
Electric Range Oven= 7500 Watts
TV - 13" Color= 70 Watts
TV - 32" Color= 170 Watts
VCR= 60 Watts
Stereo System= 140 Watts
Clothes Iron= 1100 Watts
Electric Clothes Dryer= 6000 Watts
Gas Clothes Dryer= 720 Watts
Washing Machine= 1000 Watts
Hair Dryer= 1600 Watts
Air Conditioning 1 Ton= 2000 Watts
Air Conditioning 2 Ton= 3000 Watts
Air Conditioning 3 Ton= 4500 Watts
Window A/C= 2000 Watts
Ceiling Fan= 100 Watts
Vacuum Cleaner= 780 Watts
Central Vacuum= 1750 Watts

FAQ #14. Free Electrical Answers
Bobs Home Page. Retrieved 07 December 2002. http://members.tripod.com/~masterslic/FAQ-2/14.html
Old 12-07-02, 10:27 AM
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High electric bills

Electricity usage can not be calcuated based on the number of people in the home. There are too many variables to explain the difference in power usage between homes. Many of these involve how the house is constructed and insulated and weatherstripped to prevent heat loss in winter and cooling in summer, as well as where you keep the thermostat set. How efficient and how frequently electrical appliances are used is also an important variable. Older appliances and heating/cooling units do not operate as energy efficient as newer models.


Electricity is an important part of our lives. The computer you're using right now would be worthless without it. In fact, electricity is so easy to take for granted that we sometimes overlook the fact that we're still in the driver's seat when it comes to controlling the amount we use.

Here are some of the most proven ways to control your energy use.

Thermostat setting 68 and 78 are numbers to remember
In the summer, keep your thermostat set at 78 degrees F. In the winter, the recommended setting is 68 degrees F. For each degree below the recommended setting in the summer or above the recommended setting in the winter energy consumption increases by about 6 to 8 percent. Consider a programmable thermostat that raises or lowers the temperature by about 5 degrees when your home is unoccupied.

Keep air conditioning filters clean
Check your filters every month. A filter clogged with dust and lint won't operate as efficiently plus, you're more likely to have service problems with the unit.

Schedule a tour of your ductwork
If you've never inspected your ductwork, make plans to tour the attic preferably before the weather gets too hot or cold. Look for leaks where the air duct attaches to the air conditioning unit and where ducts are joined together. You can seal duct joints with special duct tape. Supply ducts should be insulated and vapor sealed when located in a space that is unconditioned.

And while you're in the attic . . .
Proper attic ventilation will help remove unwanted heat in the summer and unwanted moisture all year long. Make sure you have eave vents used in conjunction with ridge, gable or roof vents.

Take time to caulk and roll (with a roll of weatherstripping, of course)
One of the least expensive and most effective things you can do to prevent energy waste is to seal cracks around doors and windows. Make sure there is full weatherstripping around doors, windows and the attic stairway opening. Use caulk to seal small cracks around windows.

Plant a tree or two or three
Homes with numerous windows should use blinds, solar screens, shades, draperies or awnings to block direct sunlight. If you have many windows on the west side of your house, consider planting trees or shrubs to block the sun's rays. Remember, all heat buildup in your home has to be removed by the air conditioners.

Shopping for a new air conditioner? Check its rating
Manufacturers are required to publish efficiencies based on the SEER Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. We recommend a minimum SEER of 12.0 for central air conditioners and heat pumps.

Insulation is the key
On a chilly night, a blanket helps keep you warm by trapping a layer of heated air next to you. Insulation works the same way, only in the summer, it works in reverse by keeping heat outside the home. If your home is not insulated or doesn't have the proper level of insulation for your climate you can reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home by adding insulation. Insulation is available in blankets, batts or pouring or blowing wool. Obviously, the best time to insulate a home is when it is being constructed or remodeled.

Fire away at energy loss
A fireplace is an attractive addition to any home, but it can be a real energy waster if you forget to close the damper when it isn't being used. A glass door for your fireplace will also help prevent energy loss.

Stay out of hot water with these tips
From 14 to 20 percent of the total energy used in a home is used in heating water. To make sure that energy isn't being wasted, make sure your faucets aren't leaking. Also, showers generally use less hot water than baths. Your main unit should be set at 120 to 125 degrees F. If you have a separate water heater for the bathroom, keep it set at 110 to 120 degrees to save energy. If your water heater is located in an unconditioned area, install an insulation blanket around it. These blankets can cut energy for heating water by up to 10 percent.

Lower Your Bills. Texas-New Mexico Power Company. Retrieved 07 December 2002. http://www.tnpe.com/energyindex.asp

There is a lot of good information at this website for reducing your electric bill, including energy audits that you can do. Copy and paste the web address, omitting http: and . We do not currently have the ability to post active links for you to click to websites.
Old 12-08-02, 05:58 AM
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Thanx for all the replies, but maybe I didn't really get out his problem, before the house fire there was 2 adults & 2 kids all the same appliances. After the contractor rebuilt the home(i/s of house was a burnout) his electric bill jumped from $60/$80 to $125/$145, with 2 adults & 1 child every other week, same appliances & watching what they use more. Could there be a problem with the breaker box or breakers that would have a constant draw no matter if the appliance was running or not, like in a car you have a short but it does not blow a fuse it just drains you battery dead. Since he has been put on a fixed income money is now a concern for him and he wishes he would have just hired an electrician to come and lokk/fix the problem. And again thanx for all your help this web site is great idea!
Old 12-08-02, 07:05 AM
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Is there a computer in the house? Many people leave the computer on 24/7 so they have instant access to the 'Net. But they overlook the fact that computers are the equivalent of two, three or more 100-watt lightbulbs. If the adults have one and there's one in the kid's room, you're talking $40 or $50 a month!
Old 12-08-02, 07:10 AM
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One more: I lived in a duplex once where the landlord (who lived on the other side) had wired all of the common-area lighting and his laundry room (washer, dryer, iron and lighting) to the tenant's panel box. I discovered this when I switched off the main on my side one day and heard his washing machine stop. The hallway, basement and exterior lights also went dark.
Old 12-08-02, 08:44 AM
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Perhaps he was on a grandfathered rate plan with the power company, and after the fire and reestablishing service, the power company put him on a new rate plan.

Compare KWH, not dollars.
Old 12-08-02, 09:21 AM
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Lightbulb Gas appliances

Gas appliances can save a LOT of $$$ of electric bills, my last two bills were $38 and $33 with 2 adults living in the home.
House is 80 years old with 3" of insulation in the attic and NONE in the walls or crawl space.
Wood frame house about 900 sq ft.
I switched all of my appliances to gas including dryer, stove and water heater.
We even run an electric space heater in one of the bedrooms sometimes.
KWH consumed last month 327KWH.
Also I use compact floursent bulbs in most of the light fixtures.
In the summer highest bill was $80.00.
We don't "try" to save power, just use common sense when operating appliances and lights
Old 12-09-02, 09:43 AM
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What kind of heating sytem does the house have? Is it a heat pump? Electric? Gas? It's very difficult to rund a $125 a month electric bill on such a small house. My 1400 sq ft house with 5 people living in it and 2 computers running 24/7 never goes above $70 a month (everything is gas). Something in that house is running non-stop (perhaps an attic fan, or something fairly large), or there are a lot of 500w hallogen lights there. An easy way to check would be to turn off all of the lights and appliances in the house, and look at the meter. If should be barely turning (most appliances still draw current even when off). If it's still turning pretty quickly, then turn off the breakers one by one unitil it stops. When it does you know the culprit is on that circuit.

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