Meter problem?

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  #1  
Old 01-24-06, 08:01 AM
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Meter problem?

I received my electric bill this month and it had more than doubled and I know we didnt use more electricty. I called the electric co. and they said to read the meter to them and they told me there had to be a problem since it showed over 5000kwh in just 6 days. They said they would send someone out to check the meter but if it was on my end it would be up to me to find out why. My question is how do I check this out to find were the power drain is? Thankyou in advance.
 
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Old 01-24-06, 08:51 AM
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When you have a plumbing leak, it shows up as a wet spot in the lawn or in the walls and ceiling. If you had a large electrical "leak" i.e. short, it could show up as hot spots, tripped breakers, or fire!

Is it possible you have something running full time that shouldn't...elec. water heater, elec. furnace, radiant heat, whatever. Any of these should be producing noticeable symptoms.

An electrician can quickly determing if you have a lot of current being drawn, and which circuit is involved.
 
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Old 01-25-06, 05:30 PM
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My first guesses are a faulty electric water heater or a dying fridge. If you have any underground wiring to outbuildings/well pump/etc you could have a failed conductor underground that is shorting out.

I would start by flipping off all the breakers and one-by-one turn them back on. While doing this, you can observe the meter to see if any one circuit causes a big jump in usage. If you find one, investigate it and determine the cause.

Check your unattened appliances run cycles to make sure they aren't running constantly. Is a water leak causing the well pump to run or the water heater to run? Do you have a heat pump which has failed and the backup resistant heat is running? Etc.

Although at 1,000 kWh/day an electrician's fee is going to be cheap compared to those power bills!
 
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Old 01-25-06, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 594tough
Is it possible you have something running full time that shouldn't...elec. water heater, elec. furnace, radiant heat, whatever. Any of these should be producing noticeable symptoms.
Typically this would be a thermostat that doesn't cut off, a hot water heater or pump with a leak, etc. I've seen AC units running simultaneously with the heat strips!

In your case, 1000 kwh a day would be exceptional even for a bad appliance. Meters are rarely fast except after being subjected to severe magnetic fields, like lightning shots. High bills are often mis-reads of the meter, particularly if you have a clock type register. Look back at your old bills and check for this.

Also, certain meters had register problems (Sangamo J2S's for example) that had plastic registers that fell apart in the sun. Slap the meter, and the dials would turn.

If you have an underground service, you could have a high impedance fault to ground that is looking like a load. Your POCO should be willing to come check the meter. In Texas, you're entitled to a free test every 5 years.

Let us know what happens.
 
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Old 01-25-06, 10:41 PM
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still waiting on the electric company to come out, however, I did start turning off breakers and watching the meter I found one problem we have two oil filled electric heaters that we have used for the past 3years and never had a problem until now I unplugged them and the meter slowed way down they were eating the power. These are the type of heaters that you can buy for around $40-$50 at hardware or retail store. I also noticed the outlet were they were pluged into were black like it had burned so I also replaced the outlets. thanks
 
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Old 01-25-06, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by rick112563
I also noticed the outlet were they were pluged into were black like it had burned so I also replaced the outlets.
What kind of OCPD is supposed to be protecting that circuit?


I think you need to inspect the wire and OCPD as well.
Something went wrong here.


Did you have two 1500W heaters plugged into one outlet??


You are lucky your house didn't catch fire!
 
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Old 01-26-06, 12:31 AM
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I had a really high gas bill one month and couldn't figure it out until my neighbor said he smelled gas by my gas meter. I started checking it out and found a broken pipe. I think one of the neighbor kids walking on the wall next to my house fell off onto the pipe and cracked it. I'm lucky the whole house didn't blow up.

Steve
 
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Old 01-26-06, 08:42 AM
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I also noticed the outlet were they were pluged into were black like it had burned so I also replaced the outlets. thanks
Very common situation. Portable space heaters are not designed for long term use. The plugs, which are usually sized to just handle the load, are subjected to constant heating and cooling as the heater cycles. They often become worn and form a bad connection inside the receptacle which is what happened in your case. You can replace the worn out heaters, but realize that the new ones will wear quickly with continued use as well. You did very well getting 3 years out of the ones you have. This also highlights the reason why these devices should not be left running unattended. When they wear out, they often go down in a "blaze of glory" .

Any electric heater will cause the meter to spin when it's delivering heat. In your case, perhaps the heaters were not cycling off like they should have, and a faulty connection can significantly increase consumption as well, but I'm not completely convinced you've found all of your problem.

Doug M.
 
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