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Our house seems to be pulling too much current. For example,

Customer Question
we go through light bulbs...
Our house seems to be pulling too much current. For example, we go through light bulbs at about 4 times the "normal". Also, we have had to have the components of our microwave replaced, because it gets too much poswer. Our electric bill is extremely high. At least 3 times as much as other houses in our neighborhood. Is this even possible? Could it have anything to do with the fuse box? We have also noticed that there is no rhyme or reason to the order of the fuses in the box. ie.....Bedroom and hallway are controled by one switch, but the light in the bedroom closet remains on.

I hope this makes sense.
Thanks-Debra
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Electrical
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Answered in 1 minute by:
6/28/2010
Electrician: Mike, Master Electrician replied 8 years ago
Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2,743
Experience: Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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Hi Debra, can you tell me about how old your home is?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
40+ years. I am fairly certain it was built in 1970
Electrician: Mike, Master Electrician replied 8 years ago
Thank you. Do you know old your heating/air system is? Do you have mostly electric appliances, or gas?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I am not sure how old the HVAC system is. Water heater, furnace and stove are gas. Electric dryer.
Electrician: Mike, Master Electrician replied 8 years ago
Ok... and on what basis do you feel that your bill is too high? Has it recently spiked? Or has it always been much higher than everyone elses in the neighborhood? For how long has your monthly bills been so much higher?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

It has always been higher than the average for the neighborhood. ALOT higher. We moved in about 5 years ago. Most of the neighbors (that I have spoken with) average about 30 to 50 in the winter and around 80 to 100 in summer. Ours has been as high as 400.00 in the summer. Averages 150.00 in the Winter.

Honestly, did not think we would live here this long, but looks like we are here to stay for awhile, so I am hoping to find a reason and a remedy if there is one. :-)

Customer reply replied 8 years ago

I should also mention, when we tried to use the CFL bulbs. They flickered like strobe lights.

Electrician: Mike, Master Electrician replied 8 years ago
Thanks for the additional information. The problem here is that there is such a broad range of issues that can affect your electric bill that it's very difficult to make any assertions without doing a visual inspection of your property so that the equipment and wiring can be thoroughly evaluated. If we had a baseline for your electricity bill, we might have a better idea as to what the problem may be. But since the bill has always been high, as long as you have lived there at least, we don't know that when the spike occurred or if a spike occurred at all. This could have been a gradual increase in demand, which is common in older homes, as the home has aged. Often times, the windows and doors lose their seals and the house becomes drafty, which causes the HVAC to run more and more. Filters go unchanged, and the system doesn't receive the maintenance that is needed, and that only adds to the inefficiency of the system. I mention HVAC because it accounts for the most energy usage out of all the equipment in your home. So this is a natural starting part.



Check your meter to make sure the reading matches your bill. If your meter matches your bill, meaning you weren't overcharged, your next step is to verify that your meter isn't running gratuitously. Shut off all the breakers and see if the meter is still spinning. If it is then your meter is broken. It's highly unusual, but it's possible.



Then there is the possibility that you have some loose service feeders. This could contribute but certainly shouldn't be the sole cause of such a high bill. The best advice I can offer is to have a reputable electrician come out and take a look at your wiring and equipment. A good, reputable electrical contractor will charge between $75 and $125 an hour. They'll be able to give you much more insight as to where you probably could be coming from. There may be (and likely is) a few different issues that are adding up to one big problem. Going through bulbs like you are usually indicates you are getting abnormal spikes and surges. It's normal to have some spikes and surges, but if you bulbs are burning out very quickly in more than one part of the house, you are probably getting abnormal spikes. Yet another reason to have an electrician check this out. The flickering bulb you mentioned possibly indicates a loose neutral, yet another/different problem that could be contributing. I wish I could offer more specific details for finding/eliminating you problem, but it seems that you really may have several different issues that may need to be addressed. With your home being 40 years old, I strongly recommend you have an electrician come out and check things out. It shouldn't take more than an hour or two to do a good thorough evaluation. And two hours labor for an electrical contractor is much, much cheaper than a $400 electric bill month after month.







Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Yep, I agree. If we can correct this issue, then the savings will pay for the electricial in no time. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and expertise! Have a great day.
Electrician: Mike, Master Electrician replied 8 years ago
Thank YOU! ...and you have a great day as well!
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