High electric bills

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Some background: I rent a 50yr old small house that has natural gas for heat and water, electric everything else. We have had high electric bills for a few years now (avg 60kwh/day usage) which we attributed to a bunch of old appliances.
We recently replaced the fridge and freezer with new high energy ones, had a broken stove for two months, and do, as a high average, 8 loads of laundry a month with older appliances. However, we still see a 50 kwh/day average, which is high according to neighbours and the electric company. We have had the meter checked and replaced, with no help in solving this problem. I've had an electrician come in and he can't find anything out of the ordinary.
The electric company claims that having old windows and doors can cause this problem. However, since we are heated by natural gas, I don't understand this logic (Can someone explain please?)
I have run out of ideas, can anyone help point me in another direction with suggestions as to what to look for next? Thanks.
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Your furnace uses electricity too.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Maybe get a clamp ammeter and start measuring current draw on the various circuits?
Chris
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

That's pretty high. Old appliances definitely are less energy-efficient than ones of more recent manufacture, and that wasn't helping you.
Renting, hmmmm? Do you by any chance live in a duplex? If so, it's possible that part of your neighbor's half might be powered from *your* panel.

Electric dryers use a lot of electricity... but 2 loads a week isn't very much usage.

The electrician is a boob. He should have at least been able to tell you exactly what appliance was responsible for the high usage. Hope you didn't pay him too much.

Sure -- furnace uses electricity to run the blower, even though gas is providing the heat. The more heat you use, the more the blower the runs.

Shut off all your branch circuit breakers, but leave the main breaker on. Go outside and look at your electric meter. It had better be stopped. If it's still spinning, even slowly, call an electrician -- NOT the same one as last time -- and have him find out why.
Turn the first breaker back on, and go back outside and look at the meter. Observe how fast it's spinning. Now go back inside and turn that breaker off again.
Repeat for each individual branch circuit breaker.
(If you have fuses instead of circuit breakers, replace "remove the fuse" for "shut off the breaker" in the above.)
Whichever one causes the meter to spin the fastest when turned on is the breaker (or fuse) for the circuit with the heaviest load on it; next fastest, next highest load, and so on. The two or three most heavily loaded circuits are the ones causing your bill to be so high, and whatever is on those circuits is the culprit(s).
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Good plan about going to the panel box and checking each circuit but..... since you are renting and you didn't say if it is a multi unit dwelling. If it is a multi unit there is a good possibility you are paying for electricity in the common areas or another apartment. First basic check would be to see if there is a meter for each apartment and one for the common areas. Then turn off that main breaker when your fellow tenants are home and see if anyone loses power. You might want to make sure your neighbors don't have any mission or life critical things running on electricity before trying this experiment though!
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High according to my calculations too. That translates to over $300 where I live. I have two fridges, freezer, wine cooler, two computers, HDTV, a kitchen light that is on 365/24, normal home lighitng and even in winter, my last bill was $144 at our new rate of 18

The heater is using electricity also, but it should not add up to what you are using. Eight loads a month in the dryer is not a big deal either, about what we do too for just two of us. Be su re hte dryer vint is working properly as that is an energy hog.

There is a "Kill-a-watt" meter that you can plug in and then plug your appliances into. It gives a reading of energy use. It may pay you to track down some individual users. Another trick is to turn everything off and unplug some appliances and see if the meter is still turning. It has happened that the house next door had a line tapped in, the apartment above, etc. Strange, but it has happened.

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Following up on my own post, I'm home now and looked at the actual bill. My typical average use is 21 kWh. Even last August with three air conditioners running, the average was only 44 kWh. You have a serious user.
Do you have city or well water? If you are on a well, perhaps the pump is running non-stop for some reason. Please report back with whatever you find. My guess is you will find some serious problem that is very out of the ordinary.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Even if the furnace fan was running 24 X 7, that might add ~500 KWhr for the entire month. That still leaves a whopping 1000 KWhr !
The electric meter rotor must be spinning at a good clip to record so much consumption. Go stand by the meter and have someone flip breakers off till it suddenly slows noticeably. Play detective from there.
Jim
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50-60 a day, I have a computer or tv on all the time in a house and never use more than 200kwh in a month. Get a Kill-A-Watt meter to check apliances. Get a digital read out clamp on, one that goes to.01 , a Greenlee for 35$ not at Box stores, Now check everything apliances on and off, you might have a short also. If so get help and be carefull of the ground. You need to do your own audit. Do you use CFLs
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Years ago my FIL complained to me, after he had complained numerous times to the utility company, about his high electric bills thinking that I could find the problem. After looking at his electrical setup I couldn't find any major problems with either his usage habits or any problem with his appliances. There was no drop in his billing after he replace the refrigerator, washing machine or trying to conserve energy the best he could. The poor guy was just was so fearful about flipping any of his appliances on anticipating to be clobbered by the next billing cycle. As expected, the high charges continued for a few more months until I realized he was charged from the wrong meter. It turn out for many years PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) was billing him from the wrong meter for usage from a much larger apartment even though the correct apartment number was clearly painted on the correct main meter panel. You see the larger apartment got such a small utility charge for electricity that they didn't care about conservation which made it even worse for my FIL.
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Good point. I had this happen to me at a condo with nat gas. They had the meters crossed and I had been getting billed for my neighbors unit and vis versa. I only found out because apparently they didn't pay their bill and the gas company shut off the meter, which of course turned off my gas instead. I wound up getting a credit of several hundred bucks from the gas company, because my usage had been somewhat less.
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# Fred # wrote:

current reading with his most recent bill and get a good idea whether he's being charged for the right one.
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# Fred # wrote:

current reading with his most recent bill and get a good idea whether he's being charged for the right one.
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The actual meter number is probably on the bill to. If it is you can check to see if it is really your meter.
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My wife put me through graduate school in the 80s working as an apartment manager. The property had electric sub-meters, one per apartment. My wife issued electric bills each month to be paid with the rent, and the property owner paid the whole bill.
The sub-meters never added up to the value on the master meter. The property owner got tired of paying the difference, so he had an electrician check the system. It turned out that residents had been doing midnight electrical modifications, wiring themselves into neighbors meters, or partially bypassing the meters. The cost of repairing this mess was going to be many thousands of dollars (in 80s dollars), so the owner decided to ignore the meters and charge based on apartment square footage. This is a common method in the business.
Most of the residents didn't care, but a few thought the world was ending -- the ones who had been receiving outrageously low bills. I never did get one lady to understand that she couldn't even run her refrigerator for a month for the $9.00 she was used to paying, let alone her electric heat.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Man, I think I'd move into a cave if my electric consumption was like that! My house is about the same age and has a gas furnace but my water heater is electric and my last bill was only about 32KWH per day. I run more laundry loads then you do and run several computers 24X7 and am not overly careful about switching lights and the television off when I should. My appliances are a mix of old and new also. You really need to do some power measurements to find out where your power is going and then concentrate your conservation efforts on the heaviest consumers.
Your power consumption will definitely be affected by the length of time your gas furnace runs. The blower in most of them are pretty power hungry, especially in the big old single-speed variety.
Have you checked in your community about having an energy audit done? Sometimes they can be had for free or at reduced prices depending on household income.
Good luck with it.
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John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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On 26 Jan 2007 10:31:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I'm parinoid about electric use, so I switched over to compact florescent bulbs. Now if I had your problem, I might want to narrow down the high useage. I would start with verififying no one was stealing my electricity. ;) After that, evaluate my usage habits. Have you thought about an energy audit? Many utilities will help you get one, and it might be free.
tom @ www.MedJobSite.com
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On 26 Jan 2007 10:31:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yes this sounds high. My usage is around 600kwhr per month, higher in July-August due to the A/C costs. Look at a list of appliances that use a lot of energy. Refrigerators, freezers, space heaters, microwave, big-screen TVs, hair dryers, dehumidifiers, hot tub, toasters are all high energy users. Leaving lights (especially incandescent) on for long periods can add up too. Some furnaces use blower fans which can be set to operate 24/7. The more people living there the higher the costs too.
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I have a friend that has a similar problem and I found a "leak test" or "Hight Resistance Short circut test" in one of my electrical books you may try; According to the book older wiring thats coating is damaged can leak current like a dripping faucet. Turn on all wall switches to activate the hot circut wires, then stop power consumption by removing light bulbs and fluorecent tubes, and disconnecting all lamps and appliances (and everything else electric). Then examine the electric meter, if it is turning (look closely and watch for atleast a full min) this means a high-resistance short circut is causing an electrical leak somewhere in the wiring. If this produces results I would contact the land lord and what ever local renters agency that can get you results if he does not fix it.
On Jan 26, 10:31 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Italian Mason wrote:

That's a new one on me. In the case of the OP, the unaccounted-for use is enough that he almost ought to be able see the problem point glowing (or smoking) if what you say is true. He's dissipating a _lot_ of energy someplace.
In other words, I don't think your suggested explanation is likely in this case.
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