High Electric Usage - Help!

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  #1  
Old 10-06-14, 11:05 AM
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Question High Electric Usage - Help!

Hi all! Hopefully this is the right place to post this. I am a brand new (first time) homeowner and looking for some help.

I just moved into a house from an apartment, and the electric usage in the house has been ridiculously high, which I do not understand. In my previous apartment, for one month, my usage was about 370 kWh per month. In the house for the first month it has been about 750 kWh. So, I started monitoring the electric use more closely, as I have the exact same stuff running here vs my old place, I'm not sure what is causing the huge difference. I measured the usage overnight and it's using about 10 kWh each night, while asleep, with everything turned off!

Items of note: the heating and hot water is oil and the heat hasn't been turned on at all. There is a pool, but it is closed/winterized.

Any ideas?! Any help is greatly appreciated!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-06-14, 11:19 AM
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Turn off breakers a few at a time and observe the large horizontal spinning wheel on the electric meter for slowdown.

Some electric meters have a small changing dot pattern on a front screen instead of a large wheel. Observe how fast the changes happen The pattern changes might look like:

---
0--
00-
000
-00
--0
---
0--
repeat

Feel around the outside of the refrigerator for warm spots, particularly on the freezer section. All frost free refrigerators have a heating element for internal defrosting and this could get stuck on, also forcing the cooling machinery to run longer.
 
  #3  
Old 10-06-14, 11:24 AM
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The electric meter is analog (not digital) so it's spinning quite slow. But I guess I could try that and then just check every hour or so to see movement.
 
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Old 10-06-14, 11:43 AM
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Let's presume the period between reading was 10 hours , 1st reading at 10 P.M. and the 2nd at 8 A.M. 10 Hrs. x 1KW = 10 KWHR's, and 1 KW = 1000 Watts.

Current ( in Amps) = 1000 / 120 volts = 8.3333 Amps which is a "constant" value from 10 P.M. to 8 A. M. This value exceeds the amp-draw of a refrigerator which should not "run" continually. The current of each circuit could be measured with an "Amprobe" , and possibly the 8-amp load is on one breaker.
 
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Old 10-06-14, 12:23 PM
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How old is your refrigerator? If it's more than a few years old it's an energy hog. Do you have a separate freezer? Do you have an electric dryer? How many lights burn at a time during dark hours and are they incandescent or halogen or are they self ballasted CFLs and LEDs? How many TVs are plugged in 24/7? Do you have any cable boxes or dish receiver boxes? Those set-top boxes are all energy hogs. Do you leave any fans running 24/7? How many cell phone chargers are left plugged in 24/7? There are many little energy wasters that most of us have and use regularly.
 
  #6  
Old 10-06-14, 12:41 PM
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- The refrigerator is very new (maybe 2 years old), so I'm assuming it's energy efficient.
- No separate freezer
- Yes, electric dryer. But not used at during this period. Brand new, so hasn't been used yet.
- 0 lights on at night
- 2 TVs plugged in and turned off at night
- 1 cable box
- No fans on
- 1 cell phone charger plugged in

These stats are all exactly the same as at my old home, yet the energy usage has over doubled. If anything, the new place has newer energy efficient appliances so I would have expected a lower bill. I would have thought it was maybe these things, but especially not after seeing the usage of 1 kWh per hour at night with literally everything turned off. It seems like something is using up energy without me knowing it, I just don't know what or how to figure it out.
 
  #7  
Old 10-06-14, 12:48 PM
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Verify the meter readings. The POCO can make a mistake.
 
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Old 10-06-14, 12:52 PM
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I did verify the meter readings. That's why I've been consistently monitoring it now and see that it went up 10 kWh just overnight with nothing on. Or are you saying something might be wrong with the meter itself (which I think is very rare)?
 
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Old 10-06-14, 02:17 PM
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[Very condensed version.] I once had my electric jump 50%. Electric company swore the meter was accurate. Forty years later they put in a smart meter and my electric bill dropped back to about what it had been forty years ago. However I'm not sure you are taking in to consideration the change in square feet.

You might want to check out KillaWatt energy monitor.
 
  #10  
Old 10-06-14, 03:59 PM
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Turn off the breakers for the pool, a/c, and anything you don't use/need at night. Maybe you can track it down to a specific circuit.

Some a/c units have a crankcase heater.

Keep checking.
 
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Old 10-06-14, 04:26 PM
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You have all the same stuff, but does the house? Is your water heater electric? Do you have any in-floor electric heat or baseboard heaters? Do you have a heat pump or plenum heaters?
 
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Old 10-06-14, 05:26 PM
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the heating and hot water is oil and the heat hasn't been turned on at all.
If your hot water comes from your boiler then technically your boiler is running.
 
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Old 10-06-14, 07:08 PM
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Your utility meter may not be accurate. One way you can monitor your useage separately from the utility meter is with your own monitor. Here is one that I use. It's easy to install and program, but you'll need to remove the cover from your main service panel.

Current Cost - Reducing your energy bills so you can live a greener life!
 
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Old 10-07-14, 06:16 AM
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I think what you're experiencing is the increased cost of owning a house vs renting an apartment. You will see that many other expenses will rise also. Keep in mind that you are no longer heating/cooling or powering an apartment but instead a whole house.
 
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Old 10-07-14, 06:42 AM
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Not sure how big your house is, but 750 KWH is not a lot. I have an average house, 3BR 2 Ba we run an average of 1200KWH per month. Our electricity is probably less expensive than yours, as our monthly bill is about $130. We are on TVA. We are total electric. It is what you determine to be acceptable with your lifestyle without going overboard in either direction.
 
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Old 10-07-14, 06:58 AM
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I used 1,674KWH last month (air conditioner) and bill was $561.73.
Can anyone believe that? This is robbery but there's not much I can do. Every time you turn around they're talking about raising rates.
 
  #17  
Old 10-07-14, 07:05 AM
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Hi Becca, the breaker panel is the place to start as suggested. I double checked the thread and didn't see where you have tried this approach. Waiting.

Are you on city water or a well?
Are there any heat tapes hiding and left plugged in, including those intended to melt ice off the edge of the roof?
Do you have a basement or crawlspace?
Radon fan or programmed exhaust fan?
Forced hot air system with the fan on continuous?
Be sure the pool pump breaker is turned off.

Although homes do tend to use more electric than a smaller apartment, I agree with you, it should be possible to locate and understand every watt.

Bud
 
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Old 10-07-14, 08:16 AM
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I have an average house, 3BR 2 Ba we run an average of 1200KWH per month. Our electricity is probably less expensive than yours, as our monthly bill is about $130. We are on TVA. We are total electric.
Chandler, your average monthly useage sounds pretty good for all electric. I have reviewed the whole thread again and the OP has just moved into this house, but I don't see where the OP mentioned air conditioning. I wonder how old the A-C unit is and it's condition. The A-C unit running most of the night could easily run up the electric useage and will definitely use a lot more power than an A-C unit for an apartment.
 
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Old 10-07-14, 08:43 AM
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In the house for the first month it has been about 750 kWh.
The current reading may be correct. But do you know if the initial reading was correct? Maybe the final reading before you had service was incorrect or the meter was hijacked after that reading and the electric company was unaware of it. How long was the house being shown. Did it have electric when you first viewed It. I'd wait for at least a second or third bill to see where the price stabilizes at. Or have you done that.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-07-14 at 08:58 AM.
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