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Old 03-09-2009, 09:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Send a formal letter of complaint to your landlord via Certified, Return Receipt Requested USPS Mail and keep a copy of the letter for your records. The letter should outline the tests you've already done. The copy of the letter and the return receipt will serve as proof of when the landlord knew about the problem if/when you end-up in small claims court.

Try calling your utility company. Ask for their ombudsman. Explain the situation and how you've tested. Be sure to mention you think someone is hijacking your electricity after it goes through the meter! Get contact names and if possible a case number or something similar. (Again in case you end up in small claims court.) Hopefully the power company will come out and resolve the situation for you with out charge.

Good luck.

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Old 03-09-2009, 10:43 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Your terminology is a little confusing. Your water heater is averaging 3.2 kilowatts or 3200 watts. The meter measures kilowatt hours which is kilowatts times hours. The water heater uses about 77 kilowatt hours each day or about 2300 KWH each month. I would check to see how much power the water heater is designed to draw when it is working. If it is less than 3200 watts then something else must be taking power on that circuit.

I suggest that you try turning off the water heater by using the controls on it. Then watch the meter. Then you can find out whether the problem is the water heater or something else on the same circuit.

One way you could reduce the power consumption a lot is to keep the water heater off most of the time. Just turn it on a couple of hours before you take a shower and then turn it off after your shower. If you take one shower per week that shouldn't be too inconvenient. If you are running out of money you can't take too many. If you need some hot water for washing dishes you can heat it on the stove instead of using the water heater.

If you decide to keep it on for your convenience, I suggest using some pipe insulation for the hot water pipes so the water heater doesn't need to heat your apartment as much. Also turn down the thermostat control on the water heater to the lowest temperature that is sufficient for comfortable showers.

I think the most likely problem is that your water heater is sending water to some other apartments so it has to run almost all the time to keep the water hot.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Sarahama,
It sounds as though you have tracked down your problem. I agree with Hummingbird, you have a wiring problem or someone is tapping into your power. Since the water heater has been replaced(and I am asuming the new water heater has a new filament) then the heater is pretty much eliminated.
Get an electrician in to check the wiring and bill your landlord. I have actually seen, in the past, a failing circuit breaker that would cause more current(and hence power) to be pulled than should have been.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Your comments and humor " " are much appreciated. Also, thanks for a correction on my terminology. The energy rating on my new water heater is 4773 kwh/year which seems reasonable. I'm not serious about taking cold showers, but I will be turning the water heater on only to take a shower for now on. I have found that 2 previous tenants in this apartment had the same problem! Thanks for some good legal advice as I will pursue this situation until it is remedied.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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What I am amazed at is the HUGE amount of electricity being consumed... Typically if a water heater consumes this much continuously without sufficient running water, it would boil the water and blow the roof off to smithereens. It is explainable only when there is a thermostat in picture... and when the thermostat is in picture, it would limit your consumption to a small duty cycle.

If all this electricity is getting converted into heat, it HAS to show up somewhere... Else, as already being doubted, you have a case of theft at hand.
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:03 AM   #16 (permalink)
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It's pretty easy to check though, asking the electric company to investigate is a good idea. They might have some doohickey that can image with radio signals everywhere a circuit goes.
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:33 AM   #17 (permalink)
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If someone is using my electricity, I wonder what they're going to do when I shut the water heater breaker off for a week " (: " .
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:55 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I had a weird outlet in an apartment once (old house converted). It wasn't on any breaker for any of the apartments (in the known breaker locations), didn't seem to affect the meters, and refused to blow even upon brief (and stupid) application of a deliberately shorted out plug. Nothing like living in the third floor of an old wooden house with unfused circuits in it to give you a warm fuzzy

Are there a lot of college kids in your building?
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:18 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahama View Post
If someone is using my electricity, I wonder what they're going to do when I shut the water heater breaker off for a week " (: " .
Get a 30-day trial membership at the local gym and shower there for a month. I bet the problem will be resolved by the time you turn that breaker back on. (You can also have an electrician specifically trace out the wires from the water heater circuit breaker to the water heater and verify there's nothing else on the circuit. Might cost you $100, but will pay for itself the first month.)
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:38 AM   #20 (permalink)
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One and a half other thoughts. If a local paper or radio station (Indianapolis would be local) has a consumer advocate, contact them. If you happen to be an IU student, the university may have a student consumer advocate???

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