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Electrical Wiring in the Home/Huge electric drain coming from garage area

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Question
We just started renting a townhome, and our first electric bill was $231 for 1861 kwh of usage in 35 days, which we discovered is about twice the national average.  We went out and checked our meter.  Sure enough, it's spinning at a rate easily twice as fast as our neighbors (whose meter is right above ours).  

The electric company read the meter three days ago, and since they read it, it already shows 1100 kwh of usage.  

My husband and I tested the meter by turning off various breakers, as well as the main line, to see how this affected the meter.  The meter stopped when the main line was turned off.  The meter slowed down dramatically when the breaker that controls the garage was turned off.  We have not added/changed any appliances since moving in.  The furnace, hot water heater, stove are all gas.  

What could be causing this drain?  I currently have the breaker turned off because I'm concerned about safety.

Answer
Mary,

It sounds like there could be an electric space heater in the garage. It also sounds like the garage may have its own panel. If it does then you could go in the garage and check the directory of the panel to see whats in it. You may very well see a marking for electric heat. If its not marked You can perform the same test and see which breaker in the panel cause's the greatest reduction in meter rotation.

Bob
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PASCACK VALLEY ELECTRIC Bob Mossman

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Licensed Master Electrician (32 years) 6165B Contractor in Closter New Jersey with 40 years total experience in Residential - Commercial - Industrial work. Emergency Service - General trouble shooting and repair work - ONAN & GENERAC generator installation - Paddle fans - Kitchen & Bath exhaust fans - AC lines - Smoke detectors - Telephone lines - Cable TV lines - Computer network cabling - Exterior lighting - Recessed lighting - Security lighting - (200 - 150 - 100 amp service up grades) - Electric Heat - New circuits - New appliance hook ups - and more ! FREE ESTIMATES 201-358-1552 Fully Insured

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Licensed contractor in Closter New Jersey.

Education/Credentials
"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

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