Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 110 total)
  • Electriciantrackworld – what is using the leccy?
  • DrJ
    Full Member

    My daughter just moved into a 1 bedroom flat. According to meter readings, she is using about 17kWh per day, which seems to me to be ridiculously high. My first thought was that she is taking baths at all hours and cooking pizza, but she swears blind that the heating is off and the water heating is restricted to 2 hours per day (she has an electric boiler). The high usage figures apply to both Night and Day usage, so it seems like some mystery appliance is permanently “on”.

    At a distance it’s difficult to diagnose but my hypotheses are:

    1. The meter is faulty, or incorrectly installed – seems most unlikely

    2. She thinks she has turned off the heating but in fact she hasn’t.  This sounds more probable but how can we check

    This situation isn’t sustainable because the monthly bills are 150 quid or so.  Does it make sense to call an electrician to check that the heating etc is not faulty (eg on when it says it’s off?). She is very stressed about it and is passing the stress on to us, so I’m hoping that the wise folk of STW have some suggestions for how to tackle the problem!!

    oldnick
    Full Member

    Flick all the consumer unit switches off. Check the meter is stopped.

    Switch each circuit on one at a time, checking the meter as she goes. If it suddenly starts racing there is the answer, or at least a bloody good clue.

    Hopefully not a neighbour tapping off it…

    goldfish24
    Full Member

    At a distance it’s difficult to diagnose but my hypotheses are

    Quite.

    Can she get us some pictures of the consumer unit (fuse board in old terms) and the meter? Heating controls also.

    Short of a faulty meter, you’re probably right to suspect the electric boiler is that’s a fair old amount of energy that has to be going somewhere.

    Once we know what equipment she’s got there, I’m thinking we could walk you and her through how you can isolate circuits and understand the readings on the meter to isolate what and when is drawing power.

    If it’s not already a smart meter she could get her supplier to fit a smart meter, that will be v helpful in diagnosis but not a quick fix.

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    I guess the obvious place to start is to turn everything off, take a reading, go out for a few hours and come back and read again. My focus would be on the electric boiler though.

    DrJ
    Full Member

    Thanks all – I’ll ask her to send me some pics of the relevant items. Flicking the fuse switches should be do-able, hopefully they are labeled so she can turn the fridge right back on 🙂

    For the smart meter, I’m wondering if that’s feasible? All the meters for the flats are in one room some distance from her flat. (Also makes monitoring slightly laborious).

    oldnick
    Full Member

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>If the hot water is on for two hours a day presumably that heats a tank. Is the water temperature ridiculously hot?

    </p>

    oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    All the meters for the flats are in one room some distance from her flat.

    🤔

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    Is there any electric underfloor heating that she’s not aware of?

    goldfish24
    Full Member

    From a random energy supplier: (sse)

    Can I get a smart meter if I’m renting a property?

    Yes. As long as you’re the energy account holder and you pay the energy bills, not your landlord, then you can get a smart meter in your rented property.

    Just guessing she’s renting. Regardless, the meter is effectively “owned” by the energy supplier, and the energy supplier is appointed by whoever pays the bills. So if she’s paying the bills (and it appears she is 😆) she can ask them to fit a smart meter.

    oldnpastit
    Full Member

    Apparently it is not uncommon for electric meters to be accidentally connected up to the wrong house/flat/whatever.

    i.e. your daughter is paying someone else’s electricity bill and they are paying hers.

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2023/sep/11/the-great-meter-mix-up-are-you-paying-for-your-neighbours-gas

    A co-worker had this – he only found out when his house burned down and he got divorced, it had been going on for years.

    flicker
    Free Member

    Electric shower? Gobble electric at an alarming rate.

    gobuchul
    Free Member

    Electric shower? Gobble electric at an alarming rate.

    Maybe, but she using 17kwh per DAY.

    Even if she was in the shower for an hour on max heat that would probably only be about about half of that.

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    Theres a few checks to do

    One is to search about for any isolator switches that might be powering something she’s unaware of – I lived in a house with solid fuel heating / back boiler and was unaware it also had an immersion heater until I inadvertently switched what I thought was a redundant isolator when cleaning – it had been off for so long the thermostat had failed so I came home later that day to steam billowing out of the roof 🙂 So there may be more than one heating or hot water set up and something might be on that she’s unaware of

    So switch off everything you know about in the flat / at the switches in the flat and monitor the meter – if its still turning then keep looking for other switches

    then the final one os to switch off everything at the fusebox and monitor the meter.

    In a flat set up – especially if it’s a building that has been subdivided into flats – it’s not unknown for unscrupulous landlords to siphon off power. My parents lived in a flat in their younger days that they discovered their shop-keeper landlord was running all the fridges in his shop below from their coin meter

    A friend when I was at college discovered that the motor garage behind their house was running their business on power from their meter

    In either of those situations just switching everything off at the fuse box reveals nothing becuase the meter will of course stop

    My pal only figured it out becuase the mechanic’s radio would switch on and off when she flicked off her mains switch

    My dad only cottoned on becuase he was home ill one day and having to feed the meter to try and keep warm – until he ran out of coins and went down to the shop to ask to change a note and the shop was in darkness 🙂

    spooky_b329
    Full Member

    Wouldn’t worry about the fridge whilst diagnosing, it will be fine for an hour or two!

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    A smart meter is only going to tell you when the power is being used….. not what by.

    You can see that by looking at the meter a few times a day.

    DrJ
    Full Member

    Really appreciate all the replies – lots of good ideas. Some random bits of information …

    I’m just reading the homebuyers survey report. It says the boiler heats water on demand, which doesn’t square with what she says about the HW being on 2 hours a day.

    There is underfloor heating which she says is switched off.

    There are some bad photos in the survey report so I’m asking her to send new ones!

    She is the owner so she can ask the electricity supplier to install a smart meter, if it’s possible.

    The flat is in a purpose built block.

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    A co-worker had this – he only found out when his house burned down and he got divorced

    Hopefully OP’s daughter doesn’t have to go to such extreme lengths to find what’s using all the power…

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    If there’s no tank then it’s hw on demand….. i.e. a big kettle!

    Does she have baths or just showers?

    Edit: actually heating 250L up from 28c to 40c is only going to use about 6kw.

    So it can’t be that alone.

    Is she mining bitcoins!?

    DrJ
    Full Member

    DrJ
    Full Member

    Looking at these pics, I’d be tempted to just turn off the  “underfloor heating” on the middle box. But … will she die ?

    And the top pic seems to be of a timer, but how does that square with HW on demand ?

    smiffy
    Full Member

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>My sister bought a brand new condo and after two years she discovered her property was connected to the wrong gas tank.</p>

    wzzzz
    Free Member

    First step is to turn the lot off and check the meter does not go up at all over a few hours. Fridge freezer will be fine just don’t open the doors.

    That will tell you if she is paying the wrong bill.

    Then 2 circuits in turn for an hour each and write down the increase each time.

    This will narrow it down quickly.

    B.A.Nana
    Free Member

    I think as others are probably alluding to, switch off at the main switch by the meter, go back to flat and check that everything is off, that would establish she actually is reading the correct meter. switch back on again.
    switch absolutely everything off in the flat that she’s aware of, go and look at the meter, if there’s activity then there’s something still on that she isn’t aware of or some other draw. I suppose if there is a draw that she can’t find then if all the flats are the same, speak to neighbours who might be able to offer advice from their experience or go to whoever manages the building for help/advice.

    EDIT: ah looking at the consumer unit pic, I’d probably work my way thru that, I suppose you could start by turning the whole flat off and walking to the meter to be certain there’s no ‘other’ draw

    goldfish24
    Full Member

    But … will she die ?

    no, crack on, the only risk to turning things off is losing something you don’t mean to, like a cold fridge or a hot shower.

    I’m kinda leaning towards your plan here, just isolate the underfloor heating for say 24 hrs.

    Other things to check are the towel rail. Hot water seems a mystery still.

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    In an all electric house 17kwh isn’t really that much.

    Tumble drying washing by chance ? The flats I’ve ended up have all had washer driers rather than communal washing lines. Seems to be the modern way.

    Electric h/w

    Electric shower

    Electric cooking

    Wfh?

    17kwh could easy be burned. Bare in mind the average use is 10kwh -and that most folk have gas hot water and gas heating ….

    thecaptain
    Free Member

    As others have said, well under a kW (average) isn’t really a huge amount of power. Lights (especially if not LED) can quickly add up and electric water heating is definitely costly. Fridge also, though modern electronics (tv/computer etc) probably shouldn’t amount to much.

    Regardless, switching off circuits should isolate the cause.

    goldfish24
    Full Member

    In an all electric house 17kwh isn’t really that much.

    yeah this has crossed my mind.

    I really think a smart meter could help here, in time.

    It might help educate her, “oh, the dishwasher just cost me a £1 to run! I’ll not put it on till it’s full next time”
    Etc

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    How far away is the consumer unit

    A smart meter unit may not transmit ?

    gobuchul
    Free Member

    It might help educate her, “oh, the dishwasher just cost me a £1 to run! I’ll not put it on till it’s full next time”

    Is this your dishwasher?

    oceanskipper
    Full Member

    There’s an immersion heater CB on that board which suggests a tank and also the HW side of that controller seems to be configured so my guess is it could be something to do with either the underfloor heating or the HW. If the immersion is left on that will certainly use a whole load. Does she know where the immersion heater switch is?

    woody2000
    Full Member

    Just for reference, we use 14-15kwh on average in a 4 bed house with someone at home all day and 3 kids who have no concept of turning stuff off.  With a pond pump running 24/7 and a 10.5kw leccy shower.

    bigdean
    Full Member

    Funnily enough I’ve had a similar issue (nearly started a thread on it yesterday).

    Going to be the smart meter would show 94w get up next day and with nothing on it was at 280w
    I’ve noticed that overnight electric use has gone up as well.

    Spent more time than I’d like to admit turning breakers off and seeing if the smart meter readings change.

    Turns out it’s the fridge! Even when the compressor is not running it can draw 150w but other times none.

    poolman
    Free Member

    I reckon a single person in a 1 bed flat would use c 4kw a day, plus the water heater is c 6kw so daily bath add that.  Assuming no underfloor heating.

    Old light bulbs are 60w, new leds 5w.

    Good of you to catch and spot this early, as above, check circuits, old appliances.  At current prices it’s a good payback to upgrade.

    leffeboy
    Full Member

    I think some smart meters will tell you instantaneous use if you press a button to cycle through the menus.  Then just get a friend with a phone next to the meter to tell you what is happening as you flip switches.  Might help you narrow it down a bit faster.  A bot like the spinny disk on old school meters

    sharkbait
    Free Member

    If the immersion is left on that will certainly use a whole load.

    Well not really as they have thermostats.

    To heat 150L from 18c to 58c (which is very hot  is going to use 7kWh…. and that’s not going to happen every day, so probably half that.

    fossy
    Full Member

    I’d get a few Tapo P110 smart plugs with energy monitoring. enables you to see what anything plugged in uses. working from home, laptop and two screens is about 45w. Water heaters, then you’d be ooking at 2-3kw – shower 10kw.

    Our main issue is two gaming pc’s with multiple large screens. A large TV can consume 100w

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    In an all electric house 17kwh isn’t really that much.

    But it’s not a house, it’s a one bed flat.

    We have a 5 bed house with 3 teenagers living in it and I work from home every day.  average 16.8kw per day over 12 months.
    Heating and hot water is gas but our oven seems to be permanently on and tumble dryer does a marathon effort every other day. So 17kw for your daughter does seem way too high.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    If the immersion is left on that will certainly use a whole load.

    Well not really as they have thermostats.

    And it’s switched off at the breaker in that photo.

    One thought, one of the breakers there is labelled “smoke alarm.” Cutting the power to my burglar alarm – even if it’s not armed – will set it off. It’s probably nothing to worry about (I can’t think offhand why a smoke alarm would need tamper protection) but I think I’d want to know how it was configured before accidentally evacuating the entire building.

    n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    The cannabis factory in the loft? 😉

    As written earlier, if flat doesn’t have gas for room heating, cooking and water heating something like ~15kWh per day in late summer sounds about right. If flat has Economy 7, make sure immersion is heating water in the last hour of cheaper night rate.

    oceanskipper
    Full Member

    If the immersion is left on that will certainly use a whole load.

    Well not really as they have thermostats.

    And it’s switched off at the breaker in that photo.

    I always thought leaving the immersion on was a bad idea as it used loads of leccy. I stand corrected. And yes it’s obviously off in the photo but it could have been on before the photo was taken Shirley.

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