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Unusually high gas usage


dhm's Avatar
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02-04-06, 07:59 PM   #1  
dhm
Unusually high gas usage

What would cause unusally high gas usage, and how do we check for it? According to our gas bill, we usually use less than 10 ccf per month in the summer, and about 25 ccf in the winter. This month we were billed for 180 ccf. My inital thought was that the meter was misread, but we checked the meter and it appears that we've used another 70 ccf in the past 10 days since the meter was read.

Our ony gas appliances are the stove, oven, fireplace, hot water heater, and furnace.

We've used 3 times as much as our neighbors, and they have a larger house and more people, and they are home all day. We only have 3 people in our family (one is a boy who almost never showers, so he doesn't really count) and we are gone most of the day. I rarely use the oven, and we take quick showers. I always use cold water for the laundry.

The weather has been unusually mild - lows in the 50's, highs in the 70's.

Recently, one of the burners on the stove stopped "clicking" when I try to light it, so I have to use a hand held lighter to turn it on. Is that an indication of some problem? I tried checking for a leak by holding the lighter close to the stove without turning the gas on, but it did not ignite.

We've only lived in this house about 6 months, and I've noticed that the flame on the stove has always flared up higher than most stoves when it does igniite, but then it goes back to normal. That happens on all the burners - not just the one that recently stopped igniting. And I don't think that would cause the sudden increase gas usage since it's always been like that.

I don't think it's a hot water leak because we only used 3000 gallons on water last month.

I can't smell any gas leaking anywhere, but the gas company is scheduled to come out next week to check for a leak. If they don't find anything, what should we do next?

Also, is it possible for a defective meter to over-measure as opposed to under-measuring? I used to work in the billing office for a water utility, it's my understanding that defective meters tend to under-measure rather than over-measure. Is that true, or just propaganda?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

 
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mattison's Avatar
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02-05-06, 05:08 AM   #2  
I would start by saying this. Please don't leak test with a lighter.

To start if the utility guy don't find anything turn off each appliances gas valve, and go to the meter and see if there's any movement.

 
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02-08-06, 03:14 PM   #3  
Same problem here in Cleveland

I've been in my house for 4 years...

This year I put in a ceiling and insulation in my garage. (garage heater for last 4 years..)
Closed off a great room that acts like a greenhouse, and turned down the thermostat to 58.
I installed a wood burning fireplace insert.

This took my Dec gas bill from an estimated 32 MCF to 8.9 MCF.
I read the meter myself as the Dec. bill was estimated. So at this point I thought that my changes had had a big effect on my gas usage...

Now I read the meter 45 days later and it says I've used 200 MCF in the last 45 days!!! That's more that my total annual usage (before changes 167 MCF).

I read the meter this morning at 7:30am and then again at 4:30pm....
used 1.8 MCF by my readings, in 7 hours! And the furnace was in setback mode the whole time.

My gas users are:
garage heater
dryer (no pilot light)
furnace
gas log set in great room
hot water heater

Suspecting a leak, I watched the meter and it was taking 30 seconds for the indicator on the half foot to move between two marks.

Which should be .05 cf in 30 seconds or 1 cf/min. This works out to a total of 4.3 MCF per month

I did the math wrong the first time I checked this, and thought I had a leak, so I turned off the line to the gas fireplace, killing that pilot light, and it then took 60 seconds for the same indicator to move between two marks.

I'm surprised that turning off only 1 of 4 pilot lights would make a 50% reduction in gas usage (with nothing running...) But still this doesn't account for where or how I used 2 MCF in 7 hours....The numbers above 4.3MCF/mo accounts for the 4 pilot lights in use...

I've not smelled any gas anywhere inside or outside the house. I started by spraying a number of connection with soapy water and didn't get anywhere.. and the usage for when nothing is running seems to be reasonable...

I'm on a well, so I don't have a water meter to check....

Not sure where else to look....

I checked with a friend and he said that when gas meters go bad, they usually lag behind and read low....


Any suggestions greatly appreciated...

Tom

 
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02-16-06, 02:52 PM   #4  
My dad just moved into his newly built house just before winter and was using alot more gas than he thought he should be. Turned out the gas furnace was set improperly and was burning more gas than it was designed for. They adjusted it down and now he barely uses any gas.

 
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