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Thread: Abnormal high bill

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamjamma View Post
    he said something at time about some button on the water heater that had been jimmied so it would not trip... so the house sale would go through probably.. we were young.. new family.. struggling... and I never did get into electric water heater theory... know a lot more about solar water heaters and gas water heaters than electric..lol
    They are pretty simple:

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    Incoming power first goes through a double pole "high limit" which must be manually reset if it's temperature is exceeded. This typically only happens if you get a stuck control thermostat that won't OPEN the circuit to an element when setpoint is reached. When that double pole high limit opens it removes all voltage from everything below it.

    After the high limit one leg of the 240 volts goes to a SPDT thermostatically controlled switch located near the upper element. When below set point it closes circuit to the upper element - this to allow it to put heat into the upper portion of the tank - which is where hot water is drawn from, if you heated with the lower element when the tank is full of cool water, it will have to heat more water before the upper portion of the tank is hot, plus incoming cold water enters at the bottom of the tank.

    Once the upper thermostat reaches setpoint, it switches - opening the circuit to the upper element and closing circuit to the lower thermostat and element. Lower element never gets a complete circuit as long as upper thermostat is calling for heat - as mentioned we want heat in the top of the tank first where hot water is drawn from. Heat from the lower element will migrate upward and further heat the upper portion of the tank, and because of this the lower element does the majority of the heating unless you have high enough demand that upper portion of tank drops below upper setpoint.

    General rule of thumb before even taking any readings, if water is hot but doesn't last as long as it should, either lower element or lower thermostat isn't working, or possibly upper thermostat won't transfer to the lower unit. If voltage is present but no hot water at all, upper element, upper thermostat, or high limit is most likely involved because it must heat the upper portion of tank before it will heat the lower portion, and anything that prevents upper element from functioning will mean no hot water even if lower element and thermostat are in good condition. If upper fails while water is hot, it will continue to be maintained by lower as long as upper portion of tank never drops below setpoint of the upper thermostat, once that happens it will be waiting for high enough temp before transferring back to lower element.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    They are pretty simple:

    Name:  Water-heater-wiring-w-num10.jpg
Views: 171
Size:  94.4 KB

    Incoming power first goes through a double pole "high limit" which must be manually reset if it's temperature is exceeded. This typically only happens if you get a stuck control thermostat that won't OPEN the circuit to an element when setpoint is reached. When that double pole high limit opens it removes all voltage from everything below it.

    After the high limit one leg of the 240 volts goes to a SPDT thermostatically controlled switch located near the upper element. When below set point it closes circuit to the upper element - this to allow it to put heat into the upper portion of the tank - which is where hot water is drawn from, if you heated with the lower element when the tank is full of cool water, it will have to heat more water before the upper portion of the tank is hot, plus incoming cold water enters at the bottom of the tank.

    Once the upper thermostat reaches setpoint, it switches - opening the circuit to the upper element and closing circuit to the lower thermostat and element. Lower element never gets a complete circuit as long as upper thermostat is calling for heat - as mentioned we want heat in the top of the tank first where hot water is drawn from. Heat from the lower element will migrate upward and further heat the upper portion of the tank, and because of this the lower element does the majority of the heating unless you have high enough demand that upper portion of tank drops below upper setpoint.

    General rule of thumb before even taking any readings, if water is hot but doesn't last as long as it should, either lower element or lower thermostat isn't working, or possibly upper thermostat won't transfer to the lower unit. If voltage is present but no hot water at all, upper element, upper thermostat, or high limit is most likely involved because it must heat the upper portion of tank before it will heat the lower portion, and anything that prevents upper element from functioning will mean no hot water even if lower element and thermostat are in good condition. If upper fails while water is hot, it will continue to be maintained by lower as long as upper portion of tank never drops below setpoint of the upper thermostat, once that happens it will be waiting for high enough temp before transferring back to lower element.
    Thanks for this. I don't work on these but every once in while and end up having to relearn this simple system.
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Frozen condenser is really bad, frozen evaporator is more common though
    I suspect that's what I meant, will be more careful in future, thanks!
    Dave Ruth
    Ready Electric

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post

    You would think they notice AC not working correctly with the unit that won't start long before they notice increase in electric bill. Unless maybe it takes several tries and eventually does start, but it would have to be an awful lot of unsuccessful tries I would thing to notice on the billing.
    Yes, the house I saw this on recently was one I had listed for sale so uninhabited, found out when I got the light bill

    It had something to do with frozen coils so evidently evaporator coils? Compressor would start and build up pressure that couldn't go anywhere so kick off on high limit? Bottom line is A/C guy fixed for $80, so I presume was nothing seriously wrong.
    Dave Ruth
    Ready Electric

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by readydave8 View Post
    Yes, the house I saw this on recently was one I had listed for sale so uninhabited, found out when I got the light bill

    It had something to do with frozen coils so evidently evaporator coils? Compressor would start and build up pressure that couldn't go anywhere so kick off on high limit? Bottom line is A/C guy fixed for $80, so I presume was nothing seriously wrong.
    Fix could have been as simple as cleaning/replacing filter. Little to no air over coil - leads to what condensation does occur to be able to freeze on the cold coil. If it gets to the point refrigerant isn't soaking up any heat it won't evaporate (or at least not like it should). Should liquid eventually make it all the way to compressor - not good, probably stalling the compressor because liquid won't compress.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickelec View Post
    I have a customer who is complaining of an abnormally High electric bill is there any type of issues that would cause this or could it only be caused by high usage.
    Quote Originally Posted by nickelec View Post
    I'm going out tomorrow to investigate the house has gas heat and hot water and window units as far as the kw usage I'm not sure I would have to see the Bill.
    With the gas water heater you can eliminate it as a cause after you make sure it is gas ( I find there are many people that really don't know).

    An electric water heater doesn't have to be bad to increase the energy consumption. A leak in the system can cause a lot of problems. A small leak anywhere can waste many gallons of heated water and that cost.

    You can probably check on-line with the billing and check recent power usage. Here if you go paperless billing they do keep records.
    The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by growler View Post

    An electric water heater doesn't have to be bad to increase the energy consumption. A leak in the system can cause a lot of problems. A small leak anywhere can waste many gallons of heated water and that cost.
    Right, leakage of hot water in the system is more likely to raise energy bill than malfunctioning water heater, thermostat that is stuck closed the biggest exception, but when that happens there is usually other noticeable indications of a problem, hotter than usual water, T&P valve releasing water, high limit is reached and then shuts of water heater altogether.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by readydave8 View Post

    It had something to do with frozen coils so evidently evaporator coils? Compressor would start and build up pressure that couldn't go anywhere so kick off on high limit?
    No, a frozen evaporator coil doesn't block the refrigerant lines, it blocks the air flow over the coil. It causes the compressor to run all the time because the air temp in the building never hits the thermostat set point. It also can load down the air handler fan motor and make it draw more current, possibly to the point where it burns out. The fix may be as simple as improving the condensation drain from the evaporator coil or cleaning the coil to improve air flow.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Right, leakage of hot water in the system is more likely to raise energy bill than malfunctioning water heater, thermostat that is stuck closed the biggest exception, but when that happens there is usually other noticeable indications of a problem, hotter than usual water, T&P valve releasing water, high limit is reached and then shuts of water heater altogether.
    I often find people that don't make the connection between a leaking faucet and a higher utility bill.

    When I explain that they have to pay to heat that water no matter where it goes they start to see.

    I check my water meter a couple times a year to see if there is water leaking even in places I would not normally see.
    The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

  10. #30
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    I rent my shop. The water usage got fairly high even the cost is pretty low.

    I mentioned to the LL that my leak was somewhere around 4000 gallons per month and wondered if he could look into it before usage became excessive. He laughed at the excessive.

    The village charges for 1000 gal. Often we don’t come close. The village has a chart explaining what one drop per. Minute can do.
    Tom
    TBLO

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