# Why does electric use increase in winter

This really depends on how it’s measured. While a fractional-HP motor can easily hit these numbers for a few milliseconds at start-up, the time constants are usually so brief they’re missed by the typical RMS ammeter. If you’re seeing 51 amps on an Amprobe style ammeter, that’s really something for a little well pump motor, I would think. I’m used to seeing numbers close to that on 3 HP motors with fairly high starting torque loads, as the ammeter is averaging over a longer time constant the the endurance of the big inrush numbers.

Either way, a few milliseconds of inrush current is not the reason for the high utility bill, but that few hours of cycling on/off is too suspicious.
i'm talking about the circuit breaker which is most likely a 2 pole 20. if it were running 51 amps constant it would blow the breaker. unless the breaker got wet and might not want to blow. anyway if you have a well pump and it's drawing 51 amps the motor is junk

51 constant amps

51 constant amps

That would be a serious issue, 51 amps at 230 volts is 10 HP class stuff. Most well pumps (1/2 hp to 1.0 hp) would be 5 - 8 amps FLA at 230 volts.

But that’s not how I read this, I think he meant inrush:

The well pump is spiking to 51 amps every time it comes on.
I’d think that if it held 51 amps for any period, it would trip the breaker (usually 15 or 20 amp) after 20–30 seconds, or burn thru the run windings on the motor.

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That would be a serious issue, 51 amps at 230 volts is 10 HP class stuff. Most well pumps (1/2 hp to 1.0 hp) would be 5 - 8 amps FLA at 230 volts.

But that’s not how I read this, I think he meant inrush:

I’d think that if it held 51 amps for any period, it would trip the breaker (usually 15 or 20 amp) after 20–30 seconds, or burn thru the run windings on the motor.

The windings would burn out. The breaker would trip. The wire would start a fire. The possibilities are endless. I'm sure the 51 amps is a startup surge although I am surprised the meter detected it.

Are you running a dehumidifier?

coutufr
this is enough to drive you nuts. and the bad thing is it's not easy to figure. i like the old meters the power company used to use with the dials. nobody knows what else the electronic board inside the digital meters do beside help a guy driving by get the customers usage

this is enough to drive you nuts. and the bad thing is it's not easy to figure. i like the old meters the power company used to use with the dials. nobody knows what else the electronic board inside the digital meters do beside help a guy driving by get the customers usage

Install your own power meter that is 99% accurate and be done with it. I have this one installed that measures phase angle and is extremely accurate. I have solar panels and monitor my usage/consumption and this unit is dead on with my meter.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GR2XJMQ/?tag=hearthamazon-20

• Displays in kilowatts based on true power consumption reaching 99% accuracy
• It follows the utility voltage and measures phase angle to compensate for power factor in real time.
• Improved incremental stepping on the voltage, costs, carbon emissions and alarm
• Suitable for Solar Installations.

if your elements have a lot of buildup on them they will get to hot and fracture which will blow the breaker. if your tank ran a 2 hour time it would probably blow up if the relief valve did not already blow off. 30 gal about 15 minute recovery 50 about 20 minute and if you have the rear 120 gal it would be about 45 minutes.

A thought... plumbing leak after the water heater. This would cause the excessive well pump cycling as well as long cycles on the water heater.

woodgeek and fbelec
brian that is a lot cheaper than i expected to see. question. if that meter said that there was a difference between your meter and the utility what would be the out come with the power company? have you had this happen?

brian that is a lot cheaper than i expected to see. question. if that meter said that there was a difference between your meter and the utility what would be the out come with the power company? have you had this happen?

Not sure as I have solar panels and installed the meter just to monitor my consumption. It matched right up to my NET electric meter. The sensor comes with a battery powered monitor that displays your instant electric usage.

Not sure as I have solar panels and installed the meter just to monitor my consumption. It matched right up to my NET electric meter. The sensor comes with a battery powered monitor that displays your instant electric usage.

Maybe it’s just reading from the NET meter. [emoji12]

A little OT but related, a coworker just bought a house ( about 15 years old), all electric, electric baseboard heat.
Just got his bill for a month, are you sitting down, about \$1700. He is now looking to put in a gas furnace.

Just paid last month's electric bill: \$100 and change . . . and that's with two college-aged students now living with us.

I was a bit surprised, especially since a lot of folks have said their electric bills saw a huge jump this last month.

Wow guys. Thanks for the long read! Who needs mystery novels.

I am voting for the water heater (cycling every two hours is crazy) or (maybe) the well pump.

If the OP still has the recording meter in place, switch off the HWH at the breaker box when you go to bed. Do the 5 kW spikes go away? Is the hot water at the tap cold in the AM?

Thermosiphons and cold basements can hide a lot of energy draws. I had one on an oil hydronic system that burned through 1.2 gallons of oil per day, 365 days a year, about 35 kWh/day equivalent heat. Sure kept one bathroom really cozy year round though.

Gotta chase this down before the snow thaws!

PS: Hold on to your head @Ashful, I got my PECO bill and my December usage was 3551 kWh, or 30% higher than yours! Those Bolts don't run on unicorn farts. Do I get a prize?

sloeffle and Ashful
Hold on to your head @Ashful, I got my PECO bill and my December usage was 3551 kWh, or 30% higher than yours! Those Bolts don't run on unicorn farts. Do I get a prize?
... and here @jebatty almost had me convinced they do!

I have a good friend at work who hopped on the Volt, as soon as they became available, several years ago. When that lease was up, he switched to he Bolt. I've ridden in both, and they're both nice commuter cars. Much nicer than the anemic horsepower-starved 4-cylinders most of that crowd would be driving, otherwise. I can understand their appeal.

woodgeek
And then there's this happening here in Maine . . .

http://wgme.com/news/i-team/i-team-cmp-looking-at-billing-system-as-possible-cause-for-high-bills

Back when we lived in Maine , our winter bills would always be high, then we got a credit in the spring.
They claimed their meter readers were too busy working with repair crews, so they couldn't get readings.
I always wondered why they didn't just estimate the same amount of electricity as the fall months when we already had our pellet boiler running and had a higher electric bill

I’m with you on this question. I keep checking back for a final answer; no luck yet.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yes, would be nice to hear back from the OP.

Had been a while since I'd checked in on this. The water pumping looks very suspect to me. If that much water isn't actually being used, it shouldn't be pumping it.

And 51 amps? Isn't that out there even for a startup surge/load?