Big jump in electric bill

Here's the situation. I live in a house that normally has about a $180-200 a month electric bill during the summer heat. In September, when we shut off the air, it dropped to about $130. October's bill came and it was $242! Called the elctric company and they verified that yes, we had used that many kwh. After discussing it the only thing the wife and me could figure out is I was on the road alot during September so the wife had less laundry and dishes to do. She also ate out more (electric range).
Here's my question. Can the increase in hot water cause a jump this drastic? Also, our ice-maker in the fridge is making a funny sound (a whirring motor sound) alot. Could a malfunctioning ice-maker cause the jump?
If it's the hot water heater we are willing to get a new gas one (our house is fitted for both gas and electric). Gas is cheaper than electric in our area right now. But we don't want to get a new heater if it's something else causing the jump.
Any opinions are welcome.
Art "This is the earliest I've ever been late by." - Yogi Berra
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Seems like a lot for an icemaker motor as they are very small. OTOH, I think they do have some sort of heater to release the ice and if it was stuck on, the heater not only adds to the use, but so does the fridge running more often.
Any water leaks?
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Does your meter agree with the reading, ive had mine wrongly read to 200$. A new frige may only take 3-5$ a month old ones can cost 15+ a month . Get a Kill-a-Watt meter and check your usage of everything. Look into a gas water heater. My yearly electric is what you pay in a month, there are many ways to save.
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Art wrote:

It could be something besides your hot water heater, but I suspect it!
The hot water heater thermostat(s) could be sticking on! Normally the high temperature limit would trip and you would have to reset it.
However, if you have low wattage heater elements, as I had, it will keep heating which would run your bill sky high! My tank was limed-up and the T-stats would not cycle off even on their lowest settings!
Try setting the T-stats lower, if that won't work.
- udarrell - Darrell
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Art wrote:

There are a number of possible problems. I agree that the ice maker heaters could have caused an increase. They would not only consume energy, but cause the fridge to run more often. Water heater is less likely IMO.
I would also suggest another possibility. First you want to make sure what time period the billing really covers. Reading to reading. You also need to find out if they really read the meter each month, many estimate between reads. Also a miss read one period will cause an offsetting correction the next reading period. You next reading may be lower than expected or the preceding period may have been lower than it should have been and that was made up on the next reading.
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Joseph Meehan

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Art,
While I don't know how much you pay per kw hr. more than $100 increase suggests a huge amount of electricity. Go to your electric meter, look at the spinning disc, now pull the breaker for the water heater, go back and look at the spinning disc, repeat this for all of the breakers in your box, and keep notes. Repeat this in about an hour. Now see which circuits caused the most "spinning". This should focus you on possible sources of the problem. Another possibility is an error in meter reading sometime in the last few months.
Good luck, Dave M.
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David Martel ( snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net) said...

Either that or there could have been a jump in the rates, or both.
What was your kWh per day during the high bill and what was it for the lower one? Our utility prints this on the bill, along with the daily rate used the last seven billing periods (we're billed every two months).
Once you have confirmed that the consumption is up, and by what amount, then you can begin to track down what is causing it.
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An electric water heater is typically 30% of the electric bill!
Since both electric and natural gas rates are going up, up, up, I would suggest getting a solar water heating system.
Solar water heating systems... http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Solar+%22water+heating%22+systems+cart&btnG=Google+Search
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It's also possible that they estimated the bill one month, and did an actual read the other. I had that happen.
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Christopher A. Young
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"Art" wrote

Any electrical outlets on the outside of the house or garage? Any campers or motorhomes parked nearby with long extension cords?
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Do you have you own well ?
All the toilet tanks valves working properly?
I had a submersible well pump where the impellers chewed themselves up. The pump sent huge amounts of time and electric trying it's best to recharge the water storage tank. Steve
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