A friend of mine had a power bill of $100 / 2months ago and has been
increasing to now $250.
The power company came out and said everything is fine, and that they
should have someone check all the appliances.
Later they mentioned to me they had a lot of bulbs going out on a
regular basis. Many years ago a friend told me a power transformer
would/could be the cause of that. (the power company checked and
replaced the transformer and that solve their light bulb problem)
Could that be the case here as well, or should they check elsewhere.
BTW...this is a double-wide mobile home
thanks for your help!
How do the power rates compare from last year the same period?
How does the kW usage compare from last year the same period?
STOP: You need to know the above before you know if you even have a
What's changed around the home since last season? From two months ago?
Electric heaters added, stopped using a kero heater, lower temp from
vents (one of multiple furnace elements gone), lower airflow (hole in
What kind of heat?
If electric, the first appliance to check might be the furnace although
my guess is two months ago furnace wasn't running much and now it is.
Other appliance can be checked with a Kill-o-Watt meter. Those can be
bought and sometimes borrowed. Ask the power company if they know of any
You're right, to compare kilowatt usage. Sometimes power
companies estimate every other reading. And sometimes one
comes out low, other comes out high.
Other idea you didn't mention. Sometimes the wire between
the meter and the trailer leaks power. Turn off all the
breakers. Then, go out, look at the power meter. The meter
should be at dead stop. The older ones had a dial that goes
around. If the dial is moving, you may need a new lead-in
Was there a rate increase? Electric heating being used now?
Learn how to read an electric meter. Turn things off and see what it records
for an hour or day. Turn things on and see the difference.
Check for water leaks (like under house). If there is a well, it will run
more. A hot water leak will make the hot water heater run more. New TV's use
more electricity than old TV's.
The more "watts" something is, the more electricity it will use when on. A
100 watt light bulb uses 100 watts. A microwave can use 1000 watts. An
electric heater can use 1500 watts!
How to read an electric meter...
All electric meters I've ever seen can be read. Ask your electric company
what those numbers mean. In some cases they cycle through date, time, and
several time periods of usage. But if you learn how to read this, it is easy
Also you can get the make/model of the meter and search the internet for
documentation/instructions on it. This would be written somewhere. The
electric company need to know how these operate, so there would be
instructions somewhere by the manufacturer.
Weak attempt at humor there--- the numbers are labeled KWH.
I do miss the wheel that spins. There is a single arrow that blinks
on mine-- I should turn on the hot tub and see if it speeds up the
It is a Schlumberger Centron unit - transmits a signal to somewhere.
I'd love to find a hack so I could read it from inside the house &
create my own usage graph.
Maybe someday I'll get around to it.
Did you peak at this?
My new meter is almost the same, but it doesn't have the RF signal to
read. It also flashes some other numbers that the guy above doesn't
I think the one number may be the KW/H I am using at that second. There
is a second number that flashed also. I'm now wondering if I caught it
when a little heater was cycling on and off and that was the reason for
the second number. It may have still been the KW/H ? I had just
checked it a little while ago and the three dashes stayed on 1 dash for
a few minutes. I had about 6 13 watt CFLs on and I don't know if
anything else like the refrigerator, water heater,... was on. I suppose
Some time back our electric company changed from a 'spinning disc'
meter (that had been there for some 40 years?) to a digital one.
Then again more recently they changed it again to another digital one
to be read wirelessly from their vehicle out in the road.
The hand held meter reader's unit appears to be very similar to those
hand held devices used in s.markets etc. for registering stock levels?
Spoke with 'meter reader' one day who said that he was finding it was
still not possible to read our meter from a distance and that he has
to approach to within 15 to 20 feet of our house, to get a reading?
Have no idea why; possible causes might include that we have a wifi
network to use use our laptops within the house, our house like most
in this area has metal conduit for the aerial service mast and into
the main fuse panel in basement. We have a layer of aluminum foil in
the outer walls ......................... The meter is where it has
always been, approx 80 feet from the road!
PS. The power company has been encouraging people to read and phone in
their own meter readings!!!!! It's the antithesis of why (like 50+
years ago) when meters were installed inside a home; it required
someone to be home to allow the meter reader in the house to read it!
Maybe one could buy a computer program to read meter ourselves
(electronically into our PC?) rather than going outside to jot down
the digital display number. Then again the power company could perhaps
read the meter at night etc. over the phone line and or internet?????
Last time I checked, many years ago, the main source of mercury was its
sulfide ore, cinnabar. I imagine cinnabar and other mercury ores are safe
unless one eats them, or heats them to high temperatures that cause the
mercury compounds to break down and release mercury vapor.
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
I had a similar problem about 10 years ago. Bulbs were not lasting long. I
used a digital voltmeter and found the power voltage to be just where it
should be. Then I check the following morning and found it to be 140 volts.
Seems like the electric company kicks up the voltage early in the morning as
industry comes on line and adjusts it along the way. They were putting it
up too high to fast. After I called, it never happened again, but a
transformer at the substation was also replaced. Can't say it affected my
Do not accept the power company's say so. You have the right to have the
meter checked. It was a big deal here a few years back and C L & P was
screwing customers. Do some research on the Hartford Courant and look for
George Gombossy''s consumer columns about it. He did quite a good job of
helping the customers.
Meantime, check things like the dryer vent for clogging, the oven left on
low and other dumb things that can also happen.
Things that can cause extended run cycles for normal appliances like are
prime suspects. Things like dusty refrigerator coils, clogged furnace
An increase of $150/mo, assuming no change in electric rates, works out
to around a 1.38kW load assuming it is on 24x7 which is quite
significant. That is also around the size of typical electric space
heaters, so that is something to consider.
I had a similar thing occur about ten years ago. It turned out to be my
septic pump which was running continuously because of a defective
pressure switch. The pump is located at the bottom of an underground
tank which is about fifty feet from the house so I couldn't hear it.
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