Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Other Talk
Reload this Page >

Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Other Talk "Otterville" plus Religion and Politics

Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Old 09-04-10, 11:04 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Duran's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 8,173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

My mother has had sky-high electricity bills for her condo the last few months (and maybe further back; I don't know) - around 70 kWh/day. Granted, it's been extremely hot this summer, but that's almost double what I use in a much larger townhome with an electric oven/range.

I'm going over there today to check, and plan on the following:

1. Review past bills to see if it's a recent issue or always been a problem.
2. Look at neighbor's bills if any are kind enough to let me.
3. Turn off power to condo and see if that stops the meter to see if the problem is inside or outside.

What else should I be checking? I can measure the usage of individual appliances, but if an appliance (other than the heat pump A/C) is using that much power, I'd think there would be other symptoms. Any other suggestions? I just want to check as much as possible before calling in an electrician.
Old 09-04-10, 12:22 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Mrs. Danger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: With Nick Danger
Posts: 18,217
Likes: 0
Received 78 Likes on 52 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Does she use battery operated, or plug in toys?

*runs for cover*
Old 09-04-10, 12:46 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Sean O'Hara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vichy America
Posts: 13,533
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger View Post
Does she use battery operated, or plug in toys?

*runs for cover*
Be realistic. Vibrators don't use that much power.

It has to be grow lights.
Old 09-04-10, 01:07 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Duran's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 8,173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger View Post
Does she use battery operated, or plug in toys?

*runs for cover*
While I don't really care if she does or doesn't, she'd quite likely need immediate medical attention if she used 70kWh worth per day.

No grow lights - I asked.
Old 09-04-10, 01:39 PM
  #5  
mbs
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
mbs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,519
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

How old is the condo? If it's older (or a converted unit from a house), maybe the wiring is screwed up and outlets in her neighbor's apartments are wired to your mom's meter. Unplug everything in her place and look at the meter. If it's still spinning (or counting if digital), she should have the wiring looked at.

Anyway, get a watt hour meter (like the Kill-A-Watt) and check everything she uses to see how much power it's drawing.
Old 09-04-10, 02:05 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Troy Stiffler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Under an I-10 Overpass
Posts: 22,361
Received 19 Likes on 18 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

There's next-to-nothing that I could be done as a preliminary test, other than what you mentioned.

I'd suggest: There's an issue with the a/c and it's running longer than normal. But a compressor will usually burn up after awhile (maybe a month or two), if it runs almost-continiously.
Old 09-04-10, 08:47 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Duran's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 8,173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

That's my guess as well. I wasn't able to find anything else that could be responsible, and the problem seems to only occur in summer and has for years. Neighbor's usage on same floor is much lower, and they have their thermostat set lower as well.

Condo is less than 5 years old.
Old 09-04-10, 09:19 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: La Crosse, WI
Posts: 15,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by Duran View Post

No grow lights - I asked.
I used to think your mom was cool.
Old 09-04-10, 09:23 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,193
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

is your mom home all day long? are the lights on all the time?

go to home depot and get some CFL's
Old 09-04-10, 09:36 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Nick Danger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 23,825
Received 106 Likes on 78 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Check out the historic bills to see if the electricity use has changed, like ramped up or jumped up. See if it was still sky-high before she turned on the air conditioner. Check if the refrigerator has a bad door gasket. Does she have an electric water heater?

Like the others said, turn off everything and check the meter. You can get a Kill-a-watt for about $10.

Meanwhile, our July usage for the house was 18 KWh per day.
Old 09-04-10, 09:55 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Legend
 
EdTheRipper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 14,649
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

My electric bill has been a lot higher than normal this summer as well. We're not running any air conditioners or anything that should be causing it to spike up like that. I called the electric company to ask if there was a possibility that my wiring could be screwy since I'm in an older house. I was thinking perhaps my neighbors had something running that was leeching off of my wiring. The csr shot that right down and told me that since it had been such a hot summer, the appliances (ie fridge and deep freezer) would be using more electricity to keep cold temps. So, there you have it... right from National Grid.
Old 09-05-10, 08:14 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Duran's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 8,173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
Check out the historic bills to see if the electricity use has changed, like ramped up or jumped up. See if it was still sky-high before she turned on the air conditioner. Check if the refrigerator has a bad door gasket. Does she have an electric water heater?

Like the others said, turn off everything and check the meter. You can get a Kill-a-watt for about $10.

Meanwhile, our July usage for the house was 18 KWh per day.
Electricity use hasn't changed - it's been higher this year due tot he heat, but prior years were also high in the summer, but not the winter. She has gas heat, including the water heater and oven/range.

I did check the fridge, and it seems fine. It, like the condo, is less than 5 years old. Turning everything off stopped power consumption, so it's definitely something in the condo.


Thanks, all, for the help.
Old 09-05-10, 10:05 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Legend
 
calhoun07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 14,401
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara View Post
Be realistic. Vibrators don't use that much power.

It has to be grow lights.
It's obvious she has a custom made cooler in the back that she does her serial killing in. Get Dexter on the job...he will take care of her.
Old 09-05-10, 10:59 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Home again, Big D
Posts: 29,899
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Our electricity is double and sometime triple in the summer due to the heat. That and we have a gas heater for the winter that seems more efficient and we use the heat a lot less than we use the A/C. Course I live in a 70's house with single pane windows and poor insulation....
Old 09-05-10, 11:56 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 4,293
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

So add some insulation. It's easy to do and will pay for itself in a couple of years.
Old 09-05-10, 12:19 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Duran's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 8,173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

The difference is between around 14 kWh in the winter and 65 this summer. That's not normal for a 2 bedroom condo, even if it is hot.
Old 09-05-10, 03:53 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: MI
Posts: 25,070
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
The difference is between around 14 kWh in the winter and 65 this summer. That's not normal for a 2 bedroom condo, even if it is hot.
So the difference is 51 kWh per day? Assuming it is on ALL the time, that's 2.1 kW continuous., or more if intermittant. That is plausible for a good size a/c unit if it runs too much of the time (around 25000 BTU'h or more)

Look at the name plate on the a/c unit for cooling capacity and electrical requirement, but you probably need a service check on it.
Old 09-05-10, 06:19 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 4,323
Received 90 Likes on 62 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

That usage is just obscene for a 2 br condo. Is it 120 outside or something? Does it not cool off at night? I live in a 2 br condo in SoCal and my entire usage for the month of August was only 31 Kwhr.

I think the only sensible explanation is that someone is leeching / stealing her power. Stake out & kill the bastard.
Old 09-05-10, 08:22 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Duran's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 8,173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
So the difference is 51 kWh per day? Assuming it is on ALL the time, that's 2.1 kW continuous., or more if intermittant. That is plausible for a good size a/c unit if it runs too much of the time (around 25000 BTU'h or more)

Look at the name plate on the a/c unit for cooling capacity and electrical requirement, but you probably need a service check on it.
Yeah, we're scheduling a HVAC guy to take a look. I figured the electrician would just say that it's probably the AC.
Old 09-05-10, 09:54 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Legend
 
calhoun07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 14,401
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

I am just curious...how long has she lived there? How does this compare to her past bills there if she has been there for a few years?

My AC unit for my apartment is on the roof so it bakes in the sun all day. I am sure it gets up to 120 up there on the hottest of days. The electric bill for the past two months here has been the largest I've ever paid in my life. But the main cause of this is the AC unit is in the sun all day long.
Old 09-05-10, 10:15 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Duran's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 8,173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

She's been there since the place was built, but never thought to question the bill. She mentioned it to me a couple months ago because her A/C hadn't been able to keep up with the 100 degree heat we had. I checked summers and winters to 2008, and it seems to be a consistent problem every summer, but this year was hot enough to make her think about it.

She's actually not even on the sunny side of the condo complex.
Old 09-06-10, 08:45 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,193
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

did she buy the AC? most time developers will buy the cheapest and most energy inefficient appliances
Old 09-06-10, 09:20 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 20,727
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 2 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
did she buy the AC? most time developers will buy the cheapest and most energy inefficient appliances
Yep. Either that or someone's stealing power or the meter's wrong.

Look at the front panel of the AC and see what its SEER rating is. If condo's less than 5 years built, AC seer should be at least 12-13+ SEER. If less than that, probably time to upgrade - at least 15 seer. HVAC guy probably will also check how many tons the size of AC is, could be wrong size, too.
Old 09-06-10, 11:20 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Heat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16,699
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

A few random thoughts:

Does she change the filters on her furnace?

Does the condenser unit of her AC look clean? A neighbor had an AC unit that ran constantly, the coils were filled with dirt.

When it is warm enough that the neighbor's AC unit is running, turn everything off and make sure that her electrical dial isn't spinning.

Check the insulation, as well as the temperature in the attic during a sunny day. Ideally the temp in the attic would be the same temperature as the outside air throughout the year, if it is way too hot she needs better attic ventilation.

Next time you are with your mom, pull out a joint and light it. Ask her to take a hit and tell you what she thinks of the quality. If she does and gives you a plausible answer to the quality question, she probably has grow lights.

How much are her electric bills, and approximately how many square feet is her condo?
Old 09-07-10, 06:21 AM
  #25  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 5,996
Received 11 Likes on 9 Posts
Re: Absurd electricity usage problem (condo)

Originally Posted by Heat View Post
Next time you are with your mom, pull out a joint and light it. Ask her to take a hit and tell you what she thinks of the quality. If she does and gives you a plausible answer to the quality question, she probably has grow lights.
I don't know why everyone assumes she's growing pot. It's possible she's merely cooking massive amounts of crack in the microwave. That'll cause a huge spike in electricity bills. Look around for large quantities of baking soda and multiple microwaves. Oh, and cocaine.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.