water heater and spike in electric bill?

What would cause an older 240 waterheater to increase my power bill. I also have electric furnace that regularly gets a new filter each 6 weeks. AC/heater unit (outside) was serviced in late Dec, had both sequencers replaced. Same goes for electric dryer around October. It might not be the waterheater at all, its just the only thing that hasnt needed any immediate attention. I can bet its never been flushed, elements replaced, or anyother maintenance done to it.
I'm in a 25 year old singlewide mobile home in Northcentral Florida.
Any suggestions?
-Jeremy
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Tom.
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First check your bill and see if both the previous reading and the current reading are ACTUAL as opposed to ESTIMATED. I have seen some pretty odd "estimates" on my bill.
Next, check the "current" reading (not "electrical current", but current in the sense of "now") on your bill against your actual meter. I've had the electric company misread a digit several times. If your meter has rotary dials be sure to read them carefully. On many of them 1/2 the dials are counterclockwise and the other half clockwise.
Also be careful when a "needle" is just about right on a number. When this happens you have to check the next dial to be sure of what the reading is. If the next dial is still on 9, then the questionable dial hasn't reached the number it appears to be "on". Depending on which dial is misread, that could cause a large change in your bill.
A couple of decades ago I lived alone in a small apartment and wasn't home much. I received a bill saying I had used 1069 KWH that month. I checked my previous bills and none were for more than 75 KWH. I called Con Edison and explained to the woman that the meter reader had obviously misread the "thousands" digit on the meter.
She asked me if I had an air conditioner. Nope. A fan? "Do you really think a fan would use 1000 KWH?" I replied. "Well you know that electric bills are higher in the summer..."
She grudgingly gave me the credit but not without giving me a stern warning that if the next reading showed I had actually used that power they would still bill me for it. I didn't worry.
Greg Guarino
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As others have said, if it is not a rate increase, then I would look at the water heater.
My daughter had a ruptured element in one that added $175 to her bill one month. It did not trip the breaker. It just fed 30 amps to ground for a period of time.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

???? How is that possible? Where did the heat go? What limited it to 30 amps?

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Joseph Meehan

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to
Frankly I don't know. The breaker never tripped. I assume no heat was produced by the ruptured element. The internal wire in the element was completely burnt through. It was an upper element so duty cycle was a lot less than for the lower element.
Colbyt
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I had this problem a year ago, and that's how I found the problem: My water was suddenly ferociously hot when I'd shower. The short feeds through what would be the neutral side (bypassing the thermostat).
I'd get just a little bit of discharge when I opened the T&P valve manually, so I guess it was just on the verge of overpressure or overheat.
You could hear the localized boiling just by standing next to the water heater.
What limited it to

I was wondering the same thing. It's not a dead short, but very very low resistance.

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Robert Barr wrote:

Thanks. I was thinking that about the only way it could be absorbing all that power would be if some of it was duping out the T&P as very hot water or steam. I would think most people would notice it.

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One: Did you power company raise their rates? A lot of companies did around the first of the year. (Our local co-op raised our rates 30%!!!) Look at your last bill and see if the rates went up or if your usage went up. If the usage went up then you can:
Two: Have the power company come in and do an "energy audit". Most companies do not charge for this service and it is a good way to find out what is using all of the electricity in your home.
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If you have an amp clamp or can borrow one you can measure your current usage. Just pop the panel, if you are comfortable with that, and clamp onto the appropriate breakers. There are also devices you can plug into that will tell you the KWH you are using....just google around...there are many....Good Luck, Ross
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It would not be the water heater itself. They all work at 100% efficiency all the time. However it may be the hot water heater indirectly. A water leak in a hot water line can use a lot of hot water. In addition as the water coming into the house during the later winter and early spring is much colder than fall and early winter, that also increases hot water cost.
As noted, make sure it is actually electric usage not a rate difference that is the problem. Also possible would be a make up for estimated bills.
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Check the dryer. Even though it is new, perhaps an obstruction got into the path of the vent. Restricted air flow will cause a fast spike in the electric bill, as will a refrigerator having problems with the defrost cycle.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Leave it to Edwin to come up with something we all overlooked. Good possibilities.
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Tell me more of refrigerator problems with the defrost cycle. How could I investigate. How would I know.
My fear of the water heater is...its never been flushed and the elements, though may or may not be bad are possibly permanately fused to the tank and will not unscrew for removal to be inspected. I dont have a clamp on meter to measure amp draw. Anyother way to go about it w/ my multimeter?
How would I know if a sequencer in the furnace has gone bad or is bad? -Jeremy
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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'What would cause an older 240 waterheater to increase my power bill. I also have electric furnace that regularly gets a new filter each 6 weeks. AC/heater unit (outside) was serviced in late Dec, had both sequencers replaced.'
ME: You could have a burned out element in either your water heater and/or furnace since time of maintenance call, which would make them run longer. Or, one of the new sequencers installed may not be turning on one or more elements. Or, you could be cooking more . Most likely however, there has been at least one electric rate increase since last winter for your locale.
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