DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Electrical and Wiring (
-   -   Troubleshooting for High KWH Usage (

ducki3x 03-30-2013 02:47 PM

Troubleshooting for High KWH Usage
In the fall, I had a power bill that showed KWH usage about 50-60% less than normal (with no change in our usage patterns), so I called the power company and they said it was probably a meter mis-read and to expect the next bill to be higher to balance it out. The next bill was higher (about 50% more KWH than expected), so I thought that would be the end of it. However, the bill after that was also at that level.

I called and asked the power company to check the meter, which they said was working properly. I checked the major appliances with a Kill-a-Watt to see if they were consuming energy outside the expected ranges; they weren't. I also shut off all the breakers to see if the meter still ran with no power being consumed by the house; it didn't.

I just got my latest power bill, and KWH usage is still way up, with no real change in our household usage patterns (and, with winter rates in effect, these are pretty expensive bills). Any suggestions as to troubleshooting I can do to to try to see what's drawing extra power? Thoughts as to whether it would be worth paying an electrician to diagnose the problem? Thanks very much!

Blue Jay 03-30-2013 07:33 PM

Try reading you meter every day in the same time frame. See if you have a pattern on higher usage by day or weather conditions and what your family activities are.

bud16415 04-01-2013 11:05 AM

Well from what you said the meter is good as confirmed by the utility company and with the main open (or all breakers off) there is no activity on the meter. It has to be one of two things. First your usage went up and you say it hasn’t. So that leaves some defective power draw and you said you checked the major suspects already with some kind of amp meter.

Shut off all the breakers again and turn them on one at a time with everything convenient shut off and watch the meter. If when you flip one on you are using more power now you have broken the problem down into a smaller subset. Take a look at what is on that breaker and start unplugging everything one at a time until you find the problem power user.

bud16415 04-01-2013 11:13 AM

I just Googled your Kill-a-Watt meter and it looks like it’s a 120v device. You didn’t mention if you have 220v devices like hot water etc. Those have to be measured somehow also. Hot water tanks will do exactly what you mentioned when they build up sediment preventing the heat from getting into the water.

JoeD 04-01-2013 01:27 PM

Do you have any underground cable like to a light post or detached garage? If one of them is damaged it could be leaking current to the ground and you would never know it.

nealtw 04-01-2013 04:48 PM

Thermastat on the electric hot water tank,stuck on. Look for evidenceof the pressure valve letting pressure off.
Our outfit is changing all meters to the new smart meters and everyone is complaining about increases like yours.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:15 AM.