Continuity between SOME hots


Old 04-28-16, 08:34 PM
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Continuity between SOME hots

Hired a couple 20 yr veterans of the trade and they are scratching their heads on this.
Even contacted a few 30 year plus electricians and no ideas.

Moved 5 yrs ago. Same appliances as before. Electric bill 2 to 3 times what it was. House no bigger and yet now using all CFL bulbs. Newer appliances. Even electronic bill notifies us we are using twice as much as comparable neighbors.

All outlets check out with tester. Electricians put in new ground rod and all... was investigating an oddity with cable TV line getting unexpected voltage within house (cable disconnected at outside ) so after no success, I started some unorthodox testing:

I turned off main AND all breakers, as well.
I checked for continuity between all the hots.
Found I have 5 circuits where they all have continuity between each other. (WITH breakers in OFF position )

Even more odd- 2 of them are on one leg, 3 on the other. To me this says that I have contact between both legs and that is a problem, NO?

Additionally, 3 of these are 110 circuits but the other 2 are one side of two different 220 breakers- and those are on different legs.

Should this be considered a problem OR is my logic faulty? If this condition makes no sense, could it be the cause of my unexplained high electricity bills?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
I hired professionals and still can't get the answers.

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Old 04-28-16, 08:48 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

What kind of electric meter do you have...... one with 5-6 little dials, digital, smart ?
Have you notified the power company of this issue ?

Without addressing the measuring of resistance between circuits.... have your "professionals" used any type of amperage meters to check circuit draw ?

If you had direct shorts between circuits.... you'd have tripped breakers.

Do you have an electric hot water heater ?
Old 04-28-16, 08:52 PM
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Found I have 5 circuits where they all have continuity between each other. (WITH breakers in OFF position )
Did you also have all devices unplugged/disconnected? Testing inductive load (motor, transformer and other coils) with DC voltage will show up as short circuit or very low resistance.
High current resistive load devices like water heater will also have very low resistance.
This may be why you have continuity between 2 different legs.

Do you get 120V on all 5 circuits when you turn on one of the breaker?
If so, something may have wired hot wires from different circuits together in a junction box.

Get a clamp meter and look for any current draw with all appliance/device disconnected.
Old 04-28-16, 08:55 PM
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Checking continuity between circuits can only be done if you are positive that all loads are disconnected (everything unplugged, all appliances off, all lights off, furnace off, GDO unplugged, Doorbell disconnected etc, etc.) Even things like lighted switches, power strips with surge protectors, and the like can give you misleading resistance measurements. Don't forget outdoor lighting, outbuildings, etc.

If you want to track down suspected excess electrical usage, you'd be better off investing in a clamp on ammeter and checking the current draw on each circuit. This will give you a reliable indication of current flow, whereas measuring continuity can give you misleading info as explained above.

Did the electric meter stop spinning completely when you had all the power off? You can even use the proving dial on the meter to estimate current draw by turning on circuits one at a time and observing the dial. If it spins on any given circuit it means something on that circuit is drawing power.
Old 04-30-16, 08:38 AM
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Sorry been busy will inform you all a little later and thanks for the info have a good morning :-)

Last edited by Kube1989; 04-30-16 at 08:39 AM. Reason: Miswording
Old 05-02-16, 01:27 AM
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You are probably measuring loads that can't be easily disconnected, either through the neutral or 240 volt devices. Examples of such equipment include:

Water heater (if electric).
Baseboard heaters
Radiant floor heaters
Stove controller and clock
Furnace low voltage transformer
Doorbell transformer
Lawn sprinkler system
Thermostatic roof vent fan
House intercom
Antenna booster
Pipe anti-freeze heaters
Gutter melters
Stock watering trough heater
Garage heater
Outside A/C unit pan heater
Yard light
Motion detector lights

Measure those circuits to the neutral instead of to other hot lines. I bet you get similar readings. That means that you still have loads attached. to some circuits.

Get a clamp-on ammeter and test each circuit one at a time. Add up the current.

My electric bill went up when the furnace repairman installed a bigger system fan because the old one was not doing the job. But turning on the fan switch for summer incre4ased the boll by $100. So I devised a circuit to automatically cycle the fan on and off without the furnace running.

Check to see if someone is stealing power from you.

Is there a circuit going to an outbuilding. Check to make sure the cable is not drawing excess current due to damaged insulation underground.

Is your service underground? If so, is the meter on the power pole. There could be leakage in the feeder to your breaker panel.

Look for equipment you don't know you have,

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