Kilo What????

Freda J.: I have been facing some outrageous power bills for the last few months. The power company insists that their equipment is working properly, and if I feel there is a problem, it must be on my end. Since I know I have not used enough power for my bill to be that high, they suggest that I may have an appliance that is malfunctioning and pulling too much power, and I need to have an energy audit on my home. How can I find out what the problem is myself?
Clyde A. Lettsome, PhD, PE, MEM Answer: There could be five possible reasons for your power bill is higher than you expect it to be:

  1. malfunctioning power meter,
  2. malfunctioning appliance,
  3. faulty wiring in the home,
  4. a neighbor may have tapped into your power,
  5. the power company may have mixed up your neighbors power meter with yours.

Let us isolate the possible problem.

  1. Turn the main breaker (usually outside the home) off. See if the number of KWH is increasing on your meter (outside of home). If it is, call your power company. Either number 1, 4, or 5 is your problem. If not turn the main breaker on and go to step 2.
  2. In the internal breaker box, turn off all the breakers. Again, check your meter to see if the number of KWH value is increasing. If it is, you may have a wiring issue. Contact an electrician. If not, move to step number 3.
  3. Turn on the breakers for major appliances (refrigerator, stove, water heater) one at a time. Confirm that they are using the estimated amount of power based on the appliance’s user manual. Replace or fix that appliance.

Good Luck!

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