how to determine what is using all your electricity?

Old 01-08-18, 02:21 PM
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how to determine what is using all your electricity?

I just got an alert, that I set up previously, from my electric company informing me I'm using above a threshold of kwh's which is 40, which is a number I set for summer, basically trying to keep it around a conservative 35 kwh's a day, which is nothing that I by myself could use in my house, and as the history shows I've been using about 12kwh on average, so something strange has been going on since the last couple of days and I've no idea. I've only been using a space heater because my HVAC system has the cheap wasteful version of a heater as I'm in SWFL so we don't do much heating, nonetheless, these systems are too expensive to use as heaters so I don't use it. So how could I be using 40 kwh a day?

What's step one in narrowing this down? Do I need to test every appliance in the house? A few lights, space heater, fridge, water heater. that's it
Old 01-08-18, 02:31 PM
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A space heater will suck up power like you won't believe So will an electric water heater.
The next highest use is probably an old refrigerator or freezer.
Old 01-08-18, 02:33 PM
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thanks. hope do you determine how energy something is really using? I got this spike only a few days ago and I've been using the heater for maybe a month now
Old 01-08-18, 02:36 PM
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A 1500W space heater running for 16 hours a day will use 24 kWh a day. Has your space heater usage changed at all during the past few days?

I'm guessing you'd notice a faucet leaking hot water or something of that nature, but if you've got a really big house with bathrooms you never use, it's a possibility I suppose. I'm also assuming you'd notice if your hot water was much hotter than usual. Any water on the floor in the vicinity of the water heater?

See if there's any warm water in the toilet tanks. It sounds crazy, but people have intentionally plumbed hot water to toilets. Then all it would take is for your flapper valve to start leaking.

Do you have a sump pump? Are you on a well or septic system?

The quickest way to figure out the culprit if it's something stuck on (without waiting a day for the power company to update) would be to go outside and clock your electric meter. The exact method to do this depends what kind of meter you have. Or if you have a smart meter it might just tell you instantaneous usage without having to use a stopwatch. Then you can start turning off breakers in your panel until you find the cause.

To answer your question about determining how much power an individual device uses, you can buy an inexpensive Kill-A-Watt meter which will monitor one device with a plug. But that won't help you with things like the dryer nor water heater.

If you have young people staying in the house maybe ask them if they have started a grow operation in the attic.
Old 01-08-18, 03:34 PM
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Since Florida has recently had a massive cold snap with freezing temps way down to Lake O. I suspect your recent spike in electric usage is do to heating. You may have been using the space heater previously but the weather hasn't been anywhere near as cold as it's been recently.
Old 01-08-18, 04:36 PM
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You can buy meters to measure wattage but as the guys state it;s pretty basic stuff to figure out what chews up the wattage.

Our elec provider here in MI had an app to hook up to our smart meters, after a couple of months I quit looking as it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know/suspect.

Get rid of space heaters, duplicate/old appliances, do laundry at night, turn down the heat and up the A/C, close shades .

I know I need to get rid of the spa, it sucks a lot of juice when the nights get bellow zero, but I sure do love it!
Old 01-08-18, 05:24 PM
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hope do you determine how energy something is really using?
Almost everything electric will have a nameplate listing either the watts or the amps of what it uses. Since you pay by kilowatt hour it is easiest to convert everything to watts. Multiply the amps by the volts (Normally 120v) to get watts.

One kilowatt hour (Kwh) is 1000 watts running for one hour. As Core posted, a space heater many cases is 1500 watts, or 1.5 kilowatts. That space heater running for one hour is 1.5 Kwh. By simple math you can see how fast a space heater will add up.

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