Possible energy drain?

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  #1  
Old 09-06-06, 10:41 AM
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Possible energy drain?

Over the past 3 months, I've had 2 unusually high electric bills, with 3 to 4 times my normal kilowatt-hour usage. It's not due to meter misreads, and the provider has tested the meter and determined proper function.

Is there any chance that I'm experiencing some type of power drain at random intervals? My consumption (without any changes in my energy usage habits) has gone from 750 KWH up to 2500 the next month, then back down to 850, then back up to 2200.

My major appliances are limited to washer/dryer, outdoor hot tub, dishwasher, air conditioner (all relatively new). I've begun monitoring the meter daily to see if I can detect any spikes.

Anybody ever experienced this?

thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-06-06, 11:46 AM
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What part of the country do you live in, have you been running your AC a lot? Do you have a heat pump with electric 'emergency' heat? I seem to remember another poster on here awhile back whose heat pump electric heat units were malfunctioning and kicking in.

Another, more remote possibility is someone stealing power from you. Do you live in a duplex or townhouse? Anything suspicious looking downstream of your meter?

That much power is going to be coming from a high current appliance, AC, stove, electric water heater, etc.
 
  #3  
Old 09-06-06, 12:09 PM
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I'm in Dallas, so yes - it's been consistently hot. But I've run my AC the same throughout all these months. And I've pretty much ruled out theft, as it's a single-dwelling home with locked gates in a nice neighborhood, and I'm almost always there. Natural gas water heater, by the way. Baffling.

I appreciate your input.
 
  #4  
Old 09-06-06, 01:27 PM
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You could be having a power drain. Hot water heaters, underground wires, and boxes that are outside, or anywhere that they can fill with water are the places to look for one.

You said at random intervals, but the intervals could be directly associated with how much it rains.

To trouble shoot this will not be easy. You will need an amprobe clamp around meter. Unplug all the appliances turn off all the lights, turn the water heater off at the element, etc then begin amprobing your circuits to see if any are drawing current.

A quick inspection of all the boxes that you have outside may find the obvious culperate. A box full of water will leak enough current to make your meter spin, or for that matter kill you, but will not leak enough to trip the breaker.
 
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Old 09-06-06, 02:08 PM
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Unless it was an ice box during the winter/spring, I don't see how you can be running the A/C the same amount during the summer months.
 
  #6  
Old 09-06-06, 02:18 PM
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I think you will find that the reason your bill is so high is because it has been sooooo hot outside. I live in California and have been running the A/C consistently and we won't even talk about how high my electric bill is. And I, like you, have been running it the same as last year.
However, I have noticed that the unit runs all day long to keep up with the heat load. I did call a tech out and have them check it over and they found everything to be working right.
They said it's just really hot.

While we always say that we are using the same amount of electric or running the same things as we did the month before or the previous year, we don't really know that until we actually start tracking the use of the electricity with some sort of recording device like a recording amprobe.

I think you will find that once it cools off, your bills will go down.
Just my two cents worth.
 
  #7  
Old 09-06-06, 03:12 PM
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Heat explains a high bill, not a bouncing bill. This summer has not been hot then cold then hot hot etc. It has been hot and stayed hot.
 
  #8  
Old 09-06-06, 03:19 PM
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Thanks for the info, jwhite. Sounds like a job for an electrician.

And yes - it's more than just the heat. We've hovered around both sides of 100 for the high temp all summer long (May, June, July, Aug), but my usage has gone up and down dramatically.
 
  #9  
Old 09-06-06, 04:56 PM
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How did I miss that? Sorry, I misread that it was bouncing.

They read the meter every month, right?
 
  #10  
Old 09-06-06, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MAC702
How did I miss that? Sorry, I misread that it was bouncing.

They read the meter every month, right?
Presumably you've already eliminated this possible cause:
Before we got cellnet meters here, they only read my meter every other month, and estimated in the intervening months. They were way off on my estimates for a while so my consumption would only appear to bounce all over.

Another idea for future reference:
I used to have a Honeywell 7-day programmable thermostat that kept track of total runtime of heat and cooling units. Now I have a zoned system so this wouldn't work for me anymore, but check to see if your 'stat has this available.
 
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