Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>High Kilowatt-Hr useage year-round
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john451911
High Kilowatt-Hr useage year-round

My sons new house uses three times the kilowatt hrs as my old
house of the same size on a year-round basis.
How do I isolate the current drain in his house??
How do I get the power meter calibrated??

NEC
Re: High Kilowatt-Hr useage year-round

First, I don’t know of any independent testing companies, in my area at least, that will test utility meters. With that said you would need to get the utility company involved to either test or replace.

A DIY way to get at least a rough check of the meter is to run a known load for a given amount of time and see what the meter reads. Given a kwh is 1000 watts for one hour you could take a small electric space heater set at 1000 watts and run it for one hour making sure every other electrical load is turned off and check the meter usage.

Beyond that I would do an energy audit of the home and start doing the math. An internet search can give you some tools to help you with this.

Your biggest loads are; Electric clothes dryers, refrigerators and freezers, Electric space and water heaters, Ranges and AC condensers. Small items can add up as well like hairdryers and hair irons depending on how much they are used.

I would not necessarily call it wasteful but today’s lifestyle tends to burn much more energy than in the past just in laundry and showers. Air conditioning as well.

goldhiller
Re: High Kilowatt-Hr useage year-round

Are there any underground feeders to outbuildings, etc.?

Underground service into the house?

You could try unplugging literally everything in the house. You must get everything unplugged and turned off (all lights, water heaters, furnace, computer stuff,TVs, etc.....with no exceptions. Then go look to see if the meter is running. If it still is, then you have a leak somewhere. Turn off every single branch breaker in the box, but leave the main on, of course. Go look at the meter again. It should be dead in the water now. (If it isn't, suspect the leads from the underground service into the house.) Next, turn the breakers on, one by one. When the meter starts turning again, that's your likely culprit branch (provided there is nothing plugged in/turned on.....on that circuit).

Vern Smith
Re: High Kilowatt-Hr useage year-round

You can tell what your "demand" is by timing the revolutions of the meter disk. Demand is the power (KW) you are currently using. Use this same amount for an hour and it's kilowatt-hours.

That said, watch for the black mark on the edge of the disk. Time it for 10 rotations (in seconds). Then, since the Kh of the meter (watthours/revolution) is usually 7.2, you can use the formula:

KW = 3600 x Kh x # of revs divided by time (in seconds) x 1000

Example... you count ten revolutions in 60 seconds KW = 3600 x 7.2 x 10 divided by 60 x 1000

So....KW = 259200 / 60000 = 4.32 KW

Or you can buy $5,000 data recorder an draw a pretty little graph. Either way, you need to find the loads that are drawing power when you don't think they should be. Surprising how little things like lights left on, foot heaters on when nobody is in the room, etc. can really add up.

I know...too much information, but that's because my nickname is Metergeek!

As far as having the utility test your meter....the way we do it is we'll test it, but if it isn't more than 2% inaccurate, you pay for the time. Nearly all inaccurate meters are too slow, so that's not likely to be the problem.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: High Kilowatt-Hr useage year-round

My sons electric bill is about 3 times as much as mine also. I have one TV on about 3 hrs a day, the have 3 TV's on 24 hours a day, my computer is on when I'm using it, theirs is in 24 hours a day, we turn off lights in rooms we are not in, they have just about every light in the house on. We open our windows during cool evenings they keep their house closed and run air. We also have a well and electric WH and they are on city water and have a gas WH which should make our electric bill higher but it isn't. It is most likely just a life style difference.
Jack

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