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Old 03-11-2009, 02:58 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Oh, and if you have an old 120 volt electric clock (analog or flippy numbers) or can get one for a couple bucks at the thrift store, I would try and plug that into the water heater circuit if possible, set it for noon before you leave, and see if it has moved away from noon when you get back (i.e. someone has turned the circuit back on).

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Old 03-11-2009, 04:10 PM   #32 (permalink)
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before you leave for a week you should also write down the number on your water meter, it's in cubic feet (around 8 gallons per cubic foot) so you can tell if you used water while out of the house as well, but it sounds like hot water is being dumped!
how long have you lived there?
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:55 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Sarahama

Your water heater's rating of 4773 kwh/year would indicate that you might use around 400 kwh/month and at say.. $0.10/kwh you would be spending $40/month and for a normal family that's about right. You should expect more like $20 - $25/month. There is no question that something else is drawing current through your water heater's breaker. I agree that you should turn it off for a longer period to ensure that your theories all check out. When your water heater cuts in it will draw enough current to be to make your bill $500/month but it's actually off 90% of the time. So you doo need to test with everything else off for a long stretch.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:04 PM   #34 (permalink)
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What would have been interesting is shutting the water heater off, but I was told it's wired directly and there's no plug. The only way to shut it off is through the breaker. I will definitely record everyone elses meter readings before and after I go. The landlord pays for the water, so there isn't any meter or way to know how much water I'm using.

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:36 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Why not purchase a timer for your water heater? I installed one for my heater recently and boy 1 month later and there is a big difference in my electricity usage.

Also, if you live alone, shut the breaker off all day every day, flip it on 30 minutes before you shower and shut it off after you are done.

Trust me I just replaced my water heater and it literally took 20 minutes from fill time to hot water, those suckers heat water fast.

Also if you are concerned about water leakage, shut the valve off too at the water heater, it has to be there at the cold water inlet.

Good luck.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:38 PM   #36 (permalink)
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you can also turn off the water valve to your hot water heater, let it sit for 15 minutes or so then turn it back on listening for leaks, trace all pipe runs from the water heater to the shower, sink, kitchen sink, and see if you find any signs of water leakage, it sounds like you are loosing a few gallons an hour, so it's kind of like leaving your sink dripping hot water, or is that the problem? does your sink drip?
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Old 07-16-2009, 04:42 AM   #37 (permalink)
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no updates to this thread? i would really like to know what the real problem was
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Old 07-16-2009, 10:27 AM   #38 (permalink)
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No joke. I just read this whole thing. It's like a dramatic thriller. I'm waiting for the climactic ending.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:33 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Stuck in the Situation

Here's the update on this situation. When I turn on the water heater breaker for taking one shower a day, my electric bill is $60. Admittedly, sometimes I have forgotten to turn it off again. This is still ten dollars higher than other people's bills and I never run my air conditioner. But it beats a $170 electric bill for the month if I leave the water heater breaker on.

Basically, I have to sign a new lease here because I can't afford to move. I'm a grad student here and moving would cost $700 for a moving vehicle and new deposit.

We do have a social service program here "Hand", but I'm concerned contacting them will cause a non-renewal of my lease at the end of this month. I may contact them regardless because I'm concerned about a possible electric problem causing this. If I turn my water heater breaker on while the washer and dryer are in use, the breaker for the dryer automatically trips off. Is this an indication of something dangerous?

When I'm ready to leave this place, I will make a big issue out of this problem. I believe this is one example of land lords taking advantage of their tenants and thus far I believe they have taken advantage of the past three tenants who have rented this particular apartment. The last tenant said they had the same problem and said the tenant before them had a problem with the electricity. All apartments are the same here and I know that the electric costs in this unit are more than twice, often three times that of any other apartment here. All one has to do is compare the accumulative usage on the meters or ask the neighbors.

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Old 07-17-2009, 09:54 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Ryland,

Thank you for your post. I did try to trace the pipes and look for leaks, but did not locate anything. I can hear water running near the wash machine when I first turn it on, but after a time nothing is heard.

I will say that this is a 50 gallon tank and when I turn it on for one hour only, the water isn't much more than luke warm. With one hour of heating, I have to take quick showers or it turns cold. Someone told me that it should take no more than two hours to fully heat a tank and I see that a post was made earlier from someone who is able to heat their water in 20 minutes with their new water heater.

At two hours of heating, it's hot but completely runs out of hot water if the bath tub is filled. I wonder how many gallons of water a bath tub takes?

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