Gas usage increase? ? ?

We live in a six-unit apartment building, and all units are served by a single water heater.
Last month we had a sudden increase -- about 25 percent -- in gas usage. Emphasize, USAGE, not price -- which also increased.
The water heater is around 10 years old. Do such heaters lose efficiency with age?
There is no other gas appliance on this meter.
Any guidance or suggestions welcome.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Incomming water gets colder, mine drops from 70 in Oct to 39 yesterday, your basement is also colder. Gas tank loose efficiency every year, scale acumulates and the burner may need cleaning. I found one foot of scale on a 15 yr old unit we removed . Are hot water pipes insulated, use foam pipe wrap with glued seams and get it serviced.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Certainly they become less efficient as scale builds up inside but not suddenly. I would look for a leak somewhere in the hot water line. Perhaps one of the apartments has a dripping faucet or a hot water line may have broken if it runs under the concrete slab where it wouldn't be immediately noticeable. Have all apartments turn all water off and then check the water meter. If it is still turning, turn off the water to the water heater and see if the meter still turns. I had a hot water line break under the foundation once and in addition to a big jump in electricity usage (electric water heater), I also had about a 30,000 gal. jump in water usage for that month. Of course, there's always the possibility that one of the tenants has started offering hot showers to the homeless. Or even, maybe your utility company simply estimated last months bill instead of actually reading the meter.
Tom G.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks to you and others who responded so quickly..
I'll follow this guidance.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If the apartments also get gas for other appliances from a different meter (or separate meters) I would check that one of your helpful neighbors hasn't tapped the community hot water gas line into the one that serves their apartment.
Happened to me 20 years ago although I was able to get the guy charged with theft, the gas company wouldn't take off the extra $120 in gas usage off of my bill.
Jon

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 21 Dec 2005 13:14:12 GMT, "Bettina"

Ummm maybe one or a few people in you building like longer hotter showers in the winter? Check the water useage. It that went up too then there is your answer. Maybe someone is pissed at the landlord and figured they'd let the hot water faucet run for a month? Bubba
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Any chance one of the tenants is running a Marijuana grow op? Per

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.