Really high electrical usage


  #1  
Old 06-24-24, 06:57 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
Really high electrical usage

Sorry, wasn't sure where to post this, but I just had my highest ever usage at 2,066 kWh for June (1,342 average, 1,328 last year). I'm in the northeast, and yes it's been hot the past week or so, but this 2,066 surpasses my highest ever July or August (never broke 2,000 before, but have come close the past 2 Julys). I'm also realizing that in May I used 1257 vs. 987 average for May (980 the year before).

Other than running the central air a lot the past few days, I can't think of anything else different. No new appliances the past few months. No other major changes I can think of (kids are now off from school so there's a bit more tv/computer but that's relatively nominal). I don't recall May being extra warm vs. prior years...

I do have a large basement/crawl space dehumidifier, but that hasn't changed the past few years.

I know there's no of course real/easy answer to this, but anything you can think of that I should check/monitor that could cause such large increases?

Could my central a/c (which is old, but gets tuned up every year and they never tell me there's an issue) be using more energy as it's getting older?

Also, been in the house over 10 years now, so I have a lot of history to compare it to.

Thank you.
 

Last edited by newbie0101; 06-24-24 at 07:15 AM. Reason: adding context
  #2  
Old 06-24-24, 07:04 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,624
Upvotes: 0
Received 296 Upvotes on 271 Posts
Do you have an all electric water heater?

A leak in the hot water plumbing will cause a large increase in energy costs (gas or electric as applicable) because all that hot water got wasted continuously 24/7. Can be hard to detect in a home built on a slab with embedded or underground plumbing.

Is the dehumidifier spilling condensate in the crawl space or wherever and that condensate naturally evaporates. Then the dehumidifier runs longer to redehumdify that air again and again.

Do you notice whether the air conditioner and/or dehumidifier are kicked on more hours than usual?
 
sdodder voted this post useful.
  #3  
Old 06-24-24, 07:21 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
Hot water heater is connected to the boiler, so no, I guess it's not electric. And if it was leaking we'd definitely know as it's in our utility room which we go into often for various reasons.

Dehu is connected to a pump which sends the water outside, and I don't see any leaks and the water is exiting the tube outside on a normal basis as far as I can tell.

Other than the past few days when it's been very hot humid, I don't think it's run a noticeable amount more than in the past. Plus, we've had heat waves in the past where it's run more than usual, but I've never seen such a large jump in kwh.

Thank you.

 
  #4  
Old 06-24-24, 08:14 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,360
Received 2,322 Upvotes on 2,065 Posts
You mentioned that you've had months close to 2'000KWh before. So, to have a bill at 2'066 isn't that far of a stretch. Maybe a 3 or 4% difference. Easily within the range of weather variation. The May difference is also within the range of weather variation since spring and fall can be highly variable.

I managed a number of rental properties. Every summer and winter we would receive a number of calls from tenants complaining that something was wrong because their bill was higher than usual. Those are peak times so your energy usage will be at it's highest.

You didn't say where you are located so I just picked Boston and they like most of the country continue to break heat records with each year being worse than before. You can see how the temperatures have been rising dramatically in the past several years.
 
CasualJoe voted this post useful.
  #5  
Old 06-24-24, 09:23 AM
W
Member
Join Date: Jun 2023
Posts: 108
Upvotes: 0
Received 26 Upvotes on 21 Posts
I'm in the northeast also and this June has been one for the record books. We always get hot weather, but this stretch is unusual. So that may be adding to your usage and since your system is getting old, it might not be running as efficiently as it could. When's the last time you had the system checked? Are the coils clean, is the charge where it should be? And did one of the kids leave a window open that you aren't aware of
 
  #6  
Old 06-24-24, 09:37 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,979
Received 4,152 Upvotes on 3,729 Posts
A dehumidifier is a window A/C on wheels. So it's a power hog too.
 
  #7  
Old 06-24-24, 10:33 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
In terms of prior near 2000 kwh bills, those were both in July, and the May/June of those years were about 1000 and 1300. So for this year to be 1257 in May (a bit high but understandable) but 2066 in June (56% above last year and 54% above average) seems to be more than just weather.

Prior June high was 1499 several years ago, 1300s past 2 years.

I'm in Southern CT.

Good point on a/c system. Was supposed to be tuned up in May, but guy never showed so I'm waiting for a different company in a couple of weeks (completely forgot about that as I always have it done in May). Fingers crossed they find a minor issue that's causing a big usage drag...!

 
  #8  
Old 06-24-24, 10:38 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,979
Received 4,152 Upvotes on 3,729 Posts
Did you double check the meter reading.
Many times estimated bills are sent without telling the customer.
Sometimes the meter can be misread.

My area is just now getting smart meters.
We are constantly getting estimated bills on the "high" side to be safe.
 
  #9  
Old 06-24-24, 10:59 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
The bill says it was an actual read, doesn't mention estimated, but I'll take a look at the meter later anyway to see if it matches the bill. Thanks.
 
  #10  
Old 06-24-24, 12:12 PM
W
Member
Join Date: Jun 2023
Posts: 108
Upvotes: 0
Received 26 Upvotes on 21 Posts
Don't forget your filter. A clogged filter can dramatically affect the AC operation.
 
  #11  
Old 06-24-24, 12:28 PM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
Thanks and yep, I change that on the 1st of each month.
 
  #12  
Old 06-24-24, 03:22 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Jun 2024
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Has the power company changed the meter lately?
even a poor running central air system won’t spike the bill that much especially in the NE.
id also go along with the others and say maybe the dehumidifier doesn’t shut off, maybe a de humidistat problem?
 
  #13  
Old 06-25-24, 06:28 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
No change to the meter, and I don't think it's the dehu, as there's been no change vs. prior years, it's working fine (venting where it needs to vent, pumping out water...). basement humidify is fine. unit goes on/off/on as it should.

This is really puzzling...
 
  #14  
Old 06-25-24, 09:17 AM
W
Member
Join Date: Jun 2023
Posts: 108
Upvotes: 0
Received 26 Upvotes on 21 Posts
In my area they only read the meter every other month, so one month is based on an actual reading and the next month is an estimate. Estimates are usually based on historic usage. If a month is hotter than normal and we're running the AC a lot, then the estimated bill might be lower than it should be. They catch up the next month with the actual reading. Look back over a few months and see what that tells you.
 
  #15  
Old 06-25-24, 01:11 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,979
Received 4,152 Upvotes on 3,729 Posts
That is exactly what had been done here by my poco.
They are now just installing smart meters which are computer read remotely.
 
  #16  
Old 06-25-24, 03:11 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,484
Received 915 Upvotes on 773 Posts
Do you have an electric water heater? A water leak on the hot side can cause a water heater to run more than normal.
 
  #17  
Old 06-30-24, 04:51 PM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
Who do I call to try and help me figure out what's going on? Electrician? Energy audit type people?

Just got my bill to date from electric company:
Cost-to-Date: $140.43

Number of days into your billing cycle: 6

Projected bill this month: $748.98
The following notification is based on actual meter usage as of June 26, 2024.

This would be the equivalent of approx 2,800 kwh!!! Something is clearly wrong and for the life of me I can't figure it out. Doesn't seem to be the a/c, dehu, water heater (no leaks + it runs off the furnace. i.e. : "Water Heater Type : The hot water heater is a holding tank integral with the boiler system.")...

I am truly stumped.
 
  #18  
Old 06-30-24, 05:08 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 184
Upvotes: 0
Received 50 Upvotes on 41 Posts
What kind of meter is it? Old fashioned analog or smart meter? Can you get fine grain (e.g. every 15 minutes) usage data from your power company?

Before doing anything, I would make sure that the meter reads zero power consumption with *everything* off.
 
  #19  
Old 06-30-24, 06:18 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,484
Received 915 Upvotes on 773 Posts
I would call an electrician and have them inspect your meter, panel and check each branch circuit current draw. It would be helpful to find a contractor with a thermal camera that can locate any loose connections, especially in the meter. Loose connections act like a load and can increase your monthly bill.
 
  #20  
Old 07-01-24, 05:10 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 28,360
Received 2,322 Upvotes on 2,065 Posts
If you are on municipal water make sure nothing in the house is using water (no toilets filling, no softener regenerating...). Go read your water meter. Then read it again in an hour. If it has changed you may have a water leak. If it's in the hot water system that can use a lot of energy.
 
Zorfdt voted this post useful.
  #21  
Old 07-08-24, 10:56 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
Responding to the last few posts:

It's an old fashioned analog meter. I'll reach out to power company to see if they can give me any more in-depth details

I'll call my electrician to come take a look and see if he can figure anything out

I don't think it's water related as my bill hasn't been much more than normal (other than additional use for watering some new trees).

Hot water tank runs off oil burner and it doesn't seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary.

Thanks again
 
  #22  
Old 07-09-24, 07:02 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 9,887
Received 189 Upvotes on 169 Posts
You never mentioned how big the house is or size of a-c unit, as in tons, or the age of the a-c unit. Your bill does seem excessively high, but may not be for a very large old uninsulated home.
 
  #23  
Old 07-09-24, 08:43 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
2,500 sf colonial style house. a/c is getting old, not sure the size of it. house is well insulated (had energy audit when we moved it, fixed a few things, including blown in insulation in attic).

in any case, unless the a/c unit suddenly causing a massive increase in usage, it's never been this bad in the past.
 
  #24  
Old 07-09-24, 08:55 AM
N
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 662
Received 4 Upvotes on 4 Posts
I grabbed some daily usage info from utility website. As you can see, in March for example (kids still in school, no a/c use), we used about 25-30/kwh per day, then it jumps to 35-40 or so on weekends when kids are home watching tv, gaming, etc.

In April, you can see where we went on vacation starting 4/7 (is that such a normal drop that time of year by not being home?). I assume I had changed the thermostat to keep the temp much lower than when we're home, and then no tv use, laundry...

In May/June of 2023, you can see we never hit 60 kwh/day, but then in June 2024 you can see several 80-100 kwh days.

You can also see where went away last week, as the usage dropped from over 80 to under 40, then popped back again when we got home. I changed thermostat from 70 day/68 night to 76 all day. So it looks like that change of 6-8 degrees dropped usage by more than half (plus of course no tv, laundry, etc...).

Does this seem to indicate that my a/c is not working as efficiently as it used to?

Jan 2023 to Jan 2024 kwh increased 11%
Feb increased 28% (but 2023 was much lower than average)
March was literally flat
April up 3%

Essentially, from January to April usage was flat to up slightly year over year.

But then May was up 27% and June was up 54% and July is on pace to be up well over 54%.

Got to be the a/c, right?


 
  #25  
Old 07-09-24, 09:04 AM
W
Member
Join Date: Jun 2023
Posts: 108
Upvotes: 0
Received 26 Upvotes on 21 Posts
If it was me, I would try an isolate which circuit seems to be pulling the most electricity. You should be able to shut off circuits one by one and watch the meter to see if you get a major drop with a specific circuit, If you get a major drop in one circuit, turn it back one and start turning off or disconnecting anything on that circuit to see if you can isolate the draw. Go through each circuit since the problem might be on more then one circuit.
 
  #26  
Old 07-09-24, 01:12 PM
E
Member
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 648
Received 5 Upvotes on 5 Posts
I use about 3500kwh/month in the summer and about 1000kwh month when i'm not running the A/C. Air conditioners use more electricity thananything else in most people's homes unless they have an electric car
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: