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Need advice from Electrician

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Posted by: from Toronto
3/19/2016 at 6:06:22 PM

Electricity usage is four times higher than usual. Toronto Hydro can't find what is wrong. I am waiting for Measurement Canada to check the meter. Yesterday, I turned all the breakers off and turned them back on one by one, without any device. I think the wiring connected to two breakers makes the meter run faster than the others.

One breaker is for water heater, laundry washing machine, some wall outlets and lights, the other breaker is for refrigerator, microwave stove, some wall outlets and lights. Right now all the appliance and lights work well and no tripped breaker.

Question: any possibility of leakage without notice, faulty wiring?

REPLIES (11)
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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/19/2016 at 8:58:45 PM

Leakage not possible without breakers tripping. The larger 2 pole breakers are normally for heavy 220 volt items. 1 pole breakers may be for outlets (which draw 0 without something plugged in) and some lights on others. All the items that are plugged in draw something. Baseboard heaters? Space heaters? Electric water heater? etc etc. If your rates are metered by hourly time zones, there are expensive times of day usage and cheaper. check hydro to know what times. Electric stove, dryer, AC, heating, etc are high usage items. Some up to 8000 watts are possible. Jacuzzi, hot tubs very expensive to run.

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Jim in Toronto
Date/Time3/19/2016 at 11:58:17 PM

Thanks Robert for your reply,

The two breakers I mentioned are one pole breaker.

There are no high usage items as you described. Water heater, furnace and stove uses gas, no extra baseboard heater or whatever.

I pay flat rate for my electricity.

Normal usage is about 600-700kwh for a billing period, I pay about $200 for a bill. The bill I received at the end of Dec. 2015, showed I used over 3000kwh for two months, I had to pay over $600 for that bill.

Something is wrong, I don't know what it is, still wondering.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/20/2016 at 8:44:50 AM

is it a single home, duplex etc? I have seen renovations done where people have crossed firewalls into others homes and wiring and actually stealing power from their neighbours, some knowingly, others by accident. It is possible to install a monitoring system (done by a LEC - licensed electrical contractor) to see what and when things are drawing. It attaches to the mains incoming from the meter, or a very different, high tech system which can monitor each individual leg or breaker.


Need advice from Electrician
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Jim in Toronto
Date/Time3/20/2016 at 12:39:03 PM

Thanks again Robert,

It's a town/row house, I think I can be sure now it's the breaker for water heater, washing machine and the garage draws lots of electricity.

Doubts: Could it be any wire damage somewhere? or bad connection? Can't see any evidence neighbour stealing from me.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/20/2016 at 12:52:26 PM

Those 3 items will never draw the power you are claiming. Unless they run 24 hours a day. Any what "garage" consumes? Unless you are growing herbs in there and have heat lamps. You can try turning all items of during the day for a month, except the fridge, freezer, furnace and experiment a bit. Change all your bulbs to LED, plasma TV's draw as much as some appliances. Old fridges, freezers run 24/7 which are high consumers. Maybe outdoor cords running somethings. You should walk around the entire house and itemize what you have that uses electricity, you'll be surprised to know what you have.

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Jim in Toronto
Date/Time3/20/2016 at 7:02:21 PM

The circuit for washing machine, water heater and garage still draws 10amps without any load, any idea? Welcome any input!

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/20/2016 at 7:11:40 PM

Clearly, that is not all that is connected to them, so keep checking. Turn every breaker off except those and test all other outlets and lights, you'll be surprised what you find.

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Jim in Toronto
Date/Time3/20/2016 at 7:21:24 PM

Thanks Robert, I have to find a time to do that.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/20/2016 at 7:50:38 PM

You could always pay one of us to spend some time on it, would be cheaper than your monthly losses, that is for sure ;)

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Date/Time3/22/2016 at 12:37:12 PM

You can put a ammeter on the wire coming off the breaker to check the current draw, with nothing plugged in or running the draw should be 0 amps.

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Jim in Toronto
Date/Time3/22/2016 at 9:10:53 PM

Thanks Robert and Doug,

I do have one of you looking after this, and this is what we found out the other day.

Still trying to figure out why.

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