Electro- sabotage?


Old 12-30-19, 02:08 AM
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Electro- sabotage?

Long and crazy story behind this question, and I canít imagine that anyone is trying to hear the details, so Iíll cut to the chase; is it possible to strategically sabotage the wiring in the wall so that energy is ďleakedĒ and results in a ridiculously high power bill? A renter I had in one of my properties stopped paying rent and made me evict, Since then the electric bill has been through the roof, and I was wondering if this was a possibility, as he was in the field of electronics and might have known how to achieve revenge for the eviction in this way.
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Old 12-30-19, 02:15 AM
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I doubt electricity is leaked but there could be something installed to cause a drain. I'd suggest cutting off all the breakers and then turn them back on one at a time while paying attention to the meter. You should be able to narrow down which circuit is causing the spike. Those that know more than me will be along later.
Old 12-30-19, 05:19 AM
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Is it an attached structure (twin/duplex/rowhouse)?
Sounds like somebody ELSE is tapping power from the house.
Check the main breaker for "creative" wiring"

Once managed a property for a landlord, building was a duplex (upstairs/downstairs) where the breaker boxes were located inside a shed-roof utility area near the stairs to the upper floor. Utility area interior was divided into 2 small exterior storage closets for lawnmower / rake / snow shovels by drywall, upper trusses were open.

Unfortunately, upstairs and downstairs were 2 brothers, dumb & dumberer.
Both would suckup to the owner, writing a 2 page letter about what-had-happened-this month. And always pay late, then later, then even later...

Anyway, downstairs finally got so far behind in ALL bills that they failed to pay their electric bill, power co. shut off their power. Downstairs grabbed a pair of 40 amp oven breakers and a cable hotwired the panels so that Downstairs (dumberer) was drawing power from Upstairs (dumb).

That cost a-bit-to-fix.
Power Co. wouldn't turn power back on without an electrician certification.
Electrician couldn't easily diagnose without power on.

Anyway, the consolation "retribution/karma", as it were, is that the brownout fried the circuits in the expensive 72" HD tvs that Dumb & Dumberer had purchased (instead of paying their back rent and utility bills).
Old 12-30-19, 06:35 AM
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I would be thinking hot water leak, if electric.
CasualJoe voted this post useful.
Old 12-30-19, 09:50 AM
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There are theoretical/technical ways to do it, but it's much more likely that they turned up the electric heat to 85 and opened the windows. Or left the hot water running all day/week.
The thing with electricity is if it's used, it needs to go somewhere. There's no way to just "waste" it. There are devices called dummy loads used for certain types of testing - but that just ends up converting the electricity into heat. A space heater does the same thing.

Regardless, be happy that they aren't trashing the place. I would definitely review with a lawyer whether the excess can be taken out of a security deposit or other kind of payment associated with the eviction.
Old 12-30-19, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt
whether the excess can be taken out of a security deposit
That is something to watch out for.
There are some East-Coast municipalities who will not reconnect power/water unless the past-due-bill is brought current.
Worse, Philadelphia WILL reconnect the utilities, but place a lien on the landlord's property for the past tenant's unpaid bills (Sutton's Rule)

Originally Posted by Zorfdt
more likely that they turned up the electric heat to 85 and opened the windows
For a few years in the 90's had a side job with loss-mitigation- for mortgage companies Basically baby-sitting foreclosure properties, monthly or bi-monthly knock-on-the-door & walk around to make sure they were not vandalized or were winterized before the pipes broke if they were left vacant.
A few times (especially once foreclosure was imminent) I'd go out in winter and although it was 15 Fahrenheit outside, the owner would be in shorts and a wife-beater t-shirt, with the heat blasting, because they were going to declare bankruptcy to stay off the foreclosure. In summer it was filling THEIR pool, filling their NEIGHBORS swimming pools, because they weren't going to be paying the water bill either...
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