Monday, January 05, 2009

Help! Electric usage skyrocketing for no (known) reason!

Okay, I am majorly concerned, and no longer just from the environmentalist perspective. I've been consistently under 100 kWh per month for nine months, last January offered a brief spike to 112 kWh and then back down. And before those is getting back into the months when I was using my dryer and all those other things. Highest ever was the first month I moved in, 157 kWh. So now we have some background. Mid-October to Mid-November showed a doubling from previous months up to 137 kWh. This threw me for a loop and had me quite concerned since I could not think of any change in habits that would produce such numbers. Then, Mid-November to Mid-December resulted in 301 kWh. The doubled number was more than doubled. Exponential growth. Totally unexplained. Big Problem!

I immediately contacted the electric company, and while they see good reason for my concern, they don't think anything is wrong on their end. They are taking actual readings and think the meter is working fine. The representative suggested it may be due to a dehumidifier or space heater (neither of which I have) or faulty equipment (which has me worried). I contacted the management of my apartment complex to come check out the fridge, heating system and anything else they can think of (this makes me appreciate being a renter). I still think I would know if my fridge was running overtime, and I know the heat doesn't turn on very often. My brain cannot comprehend these numbers. I seriously hope that someone offers me an answer soon! (Can you, dear reader?)

On a happier note I shrink wrapped my windows (supposed to work as insulation like double paned glass would). I'm not yet sure how much it's helping (hard to tell when the temperatures fluctuate so much) but I was impressed that when I had a few friends over the other night the temperature rose to 76 without us cooking anything. The heat is set at 65 (pet survival temp).

I'm also looking forward to taking yoga classes. After some searching I decided to go to a small local studio so that I'm not driving far, my money is going to a local organization and they're small enough to actually do things like respond to my email with a personalized recommendation within 24 hours! Plus, they have a recycling program, how cool is that?

I'm trying to focus on these things. But I'm worried that whatever crazy thing is using 200 kWh of electricity in a month is going to catch on fire! Anyone had anything like this happen? Ideas/solutions?


  1. I belong to a UU church and we recently experienced a couple of months of unexplained kilowatt increases.
    One woman suggested using a meter that our local Public Utility Commission offers that will measure usage from different appliances to determine what is an energy hog.

  2. Our electric bill went up one month when I turned the fan on the central air/heat system to "on" instead of "auto." I did it to circulate air one afternoon but forgot to turn it back to "auto" for a week or so. Awful!

    We also had a very high window that was cracked an inch when we first moved in. Didn't realize it for months. Such a waste.

    The other things that cross my mind: Have any apartments adjacent to/above/below you been vacated recently? Perhaps your heat really is cutting on more if you're not insulated by neighbors as in the past? What about the water heater? Is it electric? Maybe you should insulate it?

    Have you heard of the Kill-A-Watt? There are a couple of other devices that also measure the usage of an electric appliance but I can't remember what the names.

    Good luck with the mystery and enjoy the yoga!


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