Electrical Usage

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We recently moved in to a "new" house (18 years old). The electrical usage cost has been more than double our usage in the previous house. Especially taking in to consideration all of the factors (insulation, square footage, etc.)
The electrical company says our usage is in line with the previous owners usage. Which basically means nothing. I believe there might be an electrical problem causing the meter to read that we are using more electricity than is actual or should be. I don't think there is a problem with the meter. I think there is a problem that causes the meter to run faster than it should given the energy usage.
How can I determine what's going on so that it can be corrected? I've been monitoring the meter and have seen large fluctuations in the daily Kwh usage per day for no good reason.
Thanks very much for all your suggestions.
Lisa
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Lisa wrote:

Does thishouse have same applinaces, heaters, kights, etc. as your last house? Tony
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What heat and apliances do you have. Same, how old, sump pump, lights, etc. You should get a Kill A Watt meter at radio shack . It records time , amps and watts used by appliances so you can do an audit. Also get a clamp on amp meter that reads to .01 amp to check for shorts , at the meter to ground. The meter you may have to order at a electric supply store. Greenlee has one for apx 30$
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Radio Shack has discontinued handling the Kill A Watt (I bought the last one my local store had), but maybe it can still be found through the manufacturer's web site http://www.p3international.com /
--
David Efflandt - All spam ignored http://www.de-srv.com /

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I don't know what you mean when you say you think the meter is OK but there's a problem that makes it run faster. Ask the electric company for a new meter?

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On 1 Dec 2003 19:40:43 -0800, eckman snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Lisa) wrote:

company to check the meter. They replaced the meter and cost went down a lot, like about half.
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Did they refund the overcharges from your previous bills? Sounds like they owe you a bundle. You may have to go to the state utilities commission. (You could offer to help the old owners get a refund, too, since they are the ones who probably lost money over a long period of time.)
Bill
(Lisa) wrote:

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Lisa,

The largest energy users in a house are generally the heating/AC, and the hot water heater. Other appliances such as the stove and dryer consume a lot of power as well, but they are generally only used for short periods. If you are on a well, or have another situation that requires a pump, that can use a fair amount of electricity as well. Lights, stereo's, TV's, etc. generally do not draw much electricity in comparison to the larger loads.
Why is your current usage higher? Could be different appliances. Maybe your old house was heated by gas or oil, and your new house has electric heat? Maybe you had a gas water heater in your old house, and your new house has an electric heater? Hard to say, there are lots of possibilities.
The easiest way to determine what is drawing the most power is to turn off all your breakers at the service panel. Unless something else is connected to your incoming power line, this should stop your electric meter from turning (no power is being used). If the meter keeps turning after you turn off all the breakers, and you can't determine another power draw (shed or garage with separate service panel), you should call the power company and have them investigate it.
Otherwise, turn on each breaker one by one and see how it affects the power usage. Your meter should turn slowly with just the lights and whatnot, and turn faster when the big appliances are powered up (heat, water heater). Keep in mind that your heat and/or water heater may not come on immediately when you turn on the breaker. Other intermittent loads like a sump pump or whole house fan might not show up immediately either.
You basically need to determine what loads you have on your system, and decide how you can reduce your power usage. Insulate better, reduce the thermostat, replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescents, shut off lights not in use, etc.
Good luck,
Anthony
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I'm guessing that you have an electric hot water heater vs a gas one in your old house, or something. You aren't giving us enough details.
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Check your refrigerators / freezers and dehumidifiers. I replaced my 36" wide GE side-by-side (12 yrs old) with a new one and my electric bill almost halved.
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Statically the odds of the meter being bad are very high. I have seen 3 bad meters in 35 years of doing electrical work. Call the utility and ask for a one year profile for the meter. I did that and I was shocked, the previous owner had $450 electric bills. I run some where around $175. Pay attention to everything, make notes. How often does the refrigerator turn on, run, stay off. If it is cycling a lot more than 6 times an hour, honey dew time. Pull it out and clean it. Just do not put it on its side without waiting 2 hours for the oil and freon to get in the right places again. Radio shack sells a meter called Kill a watt. <75 bucks I think. You can plug it in to 120 v equipment and measure the amount of electricity used. The suggestion of looking at the meter spinning and turning off the circuits one by one is a good idea.
A long time a go in a rural area in Arizona. A friend of mine bought a piece of property that had a 600 amp service. The main house was something like 10000 square feet. His first month cooling bill was $700. He freaked. I did some checking and found 4 switches but only 3 panels. I turned off the one we could not figure out where it went. 20 minutes later a neighbor showed up and wanted to know if we had lost power. Next months bill was about $400. I removed the wires and labeled them.
Have fun and do not compare old to new
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Was that neighbors whole house powered by the panel in your friends house
SQLit wrote:

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get a Kill-a-Watt meter and monitor your own use . and look at your ground for waiste and a bad ground on anything
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What would a bad ground do? Will it leak voltage to ground? Does that create enough loss to matter?

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A bad apliance , wiring etc can leak enough current to kill , and cost 20 a month in electricity easily. My neigbor had it happen. A plumber was working on the main , removed the ground wire and got a bab jolt A clamp on amp meter will tell.
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I was looking into my panel and I see the ground wire hooked up to the white wire is this correct or should they be separate?

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In your service panel, it is normal for the white and ground for each load to connect to a common busbar. Many electricians put them under the same screw for neatness.

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TimS wrote:

I didn't think you could do that. If the screw somehow comes loose (don't ask me how it could come loose), you have a bad connection for both neutral *and* the equipment ground. And aren't those bus connectors only rated for one wire per screw, no matter the size?
Best regards, Bob
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Said many do, not that it is right. Panel must say 2 OK.

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Yes, the land was supposed to be a resort, only one service needed. When the resort failed the out buildings were never taken off the service. Had been that way for over 15 years and the old owner never figured it out. When your house is over 15k sq ft who cares, not to mention the 3 barns that are each over 5k.

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