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Which tool do you use to measure how much electricity appliance/circuit uses


doublezero's Avatar
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02-09-18, 04:26 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Which tool do you use to measure how much electricity appliance/circuit uses

For example, your electric bill shoots up suddenly and you don't know why. What tool do you use to find the power hog in your apartment? Is it a multimeter? An ammeter? Something else?

 
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02-09-18, 04:36 PM   #2 (permalink)  
It would be a Clamp-on Ampmeter. However you would have to clamp it around only the hot wire to measure how many amps the item in question is using. If it is just a plug in device you want to find how much power it is using then get a Kill-A-Watt.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/P3-KILL-A-W...YAAOSw5dNWpjhA

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02-09-18, 05:38 PM   #3 (permalink)  
You can purchase a clamp meter similar to this one which also comes with a line splitter. You plug the line splitter into the outlet and then plug the appliance into the splitter. The clamp meter then clamps between the two lines and will tell you the draw.

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02-09-18, 05:53 PM   #4 (permalink)  
I hear that complaint often.

Firstly..... you need to check actual kilowatt hour consumption as listed on the electric bill. If it went up sharply just this month then it could have been mis-read or estimated bill.

The items that consume large amounts of electricity are hard to check.
Make a list of large electricity using devices in your house..... such as....
Heat pump w/electric backup heat OR an electric furnace.
Electric range.
Electric dryer.
Electric water heater.
Well pump.

This time of year..... a poorly performing heat pump will rely on backup electric heat. This will cause your bill to skyrocket.

I just re-read and see you are in an apartment. Is the electric panel inside your unit ?
If not.... something may be connected to it that shouldn't be.


~ Pete ~

 
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02-09-18, 06:30 PM   #5 (permalink)  
Posted By: PJmax I hear that complaint often.

Firstly..... you need to check actual kilowatt hour consumption as listed on the electric bill. If it went up sharply just this month then it could have been mis-read or estimated bill.

The items that consume large amounts of electricity are hard to check.
Make a list of large electricity using devices in your house..... such as....
Heat pump w/electric backup heat OR an electric furnace.
Electric range.
Electric dryer.
Electric water heater.
Well pump.

This time of year..... a poorly performing heat pump will rely on backup electric heat. This will cause your bill to skyrocket.

I just re-read and see you are in an apartment. Is the electric panel inside your unit ?
If not.... something may be connected to it that shouldn't be.
It's my building. I have access to all the panels. The only change I made was to connect an electric water heater several months ago. That was in the summer. The bill hardly changed at all until the last 2 months when it shot up. The increase was so significant that the electric company sent somebody out to read the meter to make sure it was accurate. It is accurate. So I need to find out if the water heater is causing the increase, or else I have no idea what it could be. The tenants are complaining about their bill, which they showed me. It shows normal levels of kwh usage until the last 2 months. I have to leave it on or they'll have no hot water. I can't turn it off and wait a month to determine if that's what's causing the problem, because they're using it.

I did not make any other changes to anything electrical since then. If it is the water heater, why did it shoot up suddenly in the last 2 months? It's not baseboard heat that they would obviously be using more of in the winter. They don't have baseboard heat. They have radiators. The whole building has one furnace for heat which I pay for, it would not be appearing on their bill.

But they do have this separate electric water heater. It should be around the same all the time, right? I do not see any leaks on the water heater or under it. I need to confirm if it's the power hog or not. There's no outlet for it so I'm not even sure how I would use the 3-piece product shown in mpally's image.

 
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02-09-18, 06:37 PM   #6 (permalink)  
So the water heater is on the tenants panel ?
I'm guessing you replaced the electric water heater for an existing one ?

I see you're in Canada. As the incoming cold water temperature goes down..... the water heating increases and the bill will go up.

How much $$ are we talking here ?
How many people using the water heater ?


~ Pete ~

 
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02-09-18, 07:49 PM   #7 (permalink)  
It's connected to their panel. 2 people in that apt.

Their bill went from around $30-$50 to between $120-$130, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it's abnormal. There's a chart on the back of the bill that shows monthly usage.

So it's normal for them to use more power in the winter? I never noticed that when I had electric water heat.

Should I insulate it? Put foam on the pipes? Or is there nothing you can do.

 
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02-09-18, 09:04 PM   #8 (permalink)  
You missed one question.... this new water heater on their panel replaces an existing one ? If no.... what heated the water before ?

The heater should have a tag on it stating average annual cost to run. You can divide that by 12 to get a monthly average. I'd consider $50 a month an average amount to run it.


~ Pete ~

 
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02-09-18, 10:20 PM   #9 (permalink)  
What temperature is the water heater set on? Is it turned all the way up which results in more heating of the water and therefore more energy usage?

 
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02-09-18, 10:24 PM   #10 (permalink)  
Posted By: doublezero But they do have this separate electric water heater. It should be around the same all the time, right? I do not see any leaks on the water heater or under it. I need to confirm if it's the power hog or not. There's no outlet for it so I'm not even sure how I would use the 3-piece product shown in mpally's image.
What is the purpose of the separate water heater? Water heaters will cost more in the winter since it will be required to run more due to colder temperatures. Can you unplug the separate water heater to see if that is causing the increase?

 
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02-09-18, 10:40 PM   #11 (permalink)  
The below link is a guide from the local power company in my area, it might help.
https://www.sdge.com/sites/default/f...ngenergy_0.pdf

I live in California and would not even think about an electric water heater due to the high cost of electric after you exceed certain tiers.
It's something you might want to check into, are there certain tiers in your area and then the prices hit the roof.

Electric here might be 13 cents or it might be 43 cents or higher depending on usage.


Brian
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02-10-18, 05:30 AM   #12 (permalink)  
Since the bill seemed to jump when cold weather arrived have you considered a cracked hot water pipe somewhere? In my area we had some colder than usual weather and a leaking hot water pipe could be an issue especially if any pipes run under a slab.

Was the source of hot water previously from the boiler, primary heating system and you added the water heater to shift the hot water bill over to them instead of you?


Bud

 
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