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Electrical leak troubleshooting

This topic contains 18 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  GTokley 6 days, 11 hours ago.

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  • #719324

    Our kWh have tripled in the last three months and I wanted to know how to troubleshoot to find where the current leakage is.. The utility guy came out to house and had my wife flip breakers..I know what breaker it’s coming from .. I have shut everything off and read the leg of the breaker..What do I do to find the leakage or what am i looking for I have clamp meter and a kill a watt meter.. I dont know what test to do .. I was told if all is off an no draw it’s not in the light and to take receipts apart.. is this true .. Sorry trying to save on calling electrician..worked with electrical before but bit different for me

    #719326

    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    The leg of the breaker? 120V OR 240V?

    Is this a main, or branch circuit?

    Are the neighbors stealing power? Legitimate question.

    Did you disconnect your grow room? 😆

    Start by turning off everything BUT the offending circuit. Then, find every outlet that is still energized.

    Start unplugging devices one at a time, and turn off switches on at a time, while watching your meter. When you get to the one that stops meter, you’ve got your problem spot.

    If you have a clamp meter, you can check the offending receptacle and see how many amps it’s pulling.

    I don’t know how old your house old, but there is some very screwy stuff in older homes, like MWBC’s not tied together, illgal taps, etc. BE VERY CAREFUL. NEVER assume anything is deenergized.

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #719374

    GTokley
    Pro
    Madoc, ON

    When you get to the one that stops meter, you’ve got your problem spot.

    I am just curious what you mean by this?

    Greg

    instagram.com/gregtokley/

    #719390

    Doobie
    Pro
    Ajax, ON

    Are the neighbors stealing power? Legitimate question.

    This was my first thought also.

    My second one is whether you’d recently bought some space heaters for coldish rooms. They eat a lot of power.

    Kevin.

    Wannabee pro.

    #719395

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    Are the neighbors stealing power? Legitimate question.

    This was my first thought also.

    My second one is whether you’d recently bought some space heaters for coldish rooms. They eat a lot of power.

    Even if the neighbors are stealing power they have to be hooked up somewhere between the electricity meter and the house which I find virtually impossible.

    #719396

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    Are the neighbors stealing power? Legitimate question.

    This was my first thought also.

    My second one is whether you’d recently bought some space heaters for coldish rooms. They eat a lot of power.

    Even if the neighbors are stealing power they have to be hooked up somewhere between the electricity meter and the house which I find virtually impossible.
    I mean, my meter is bolted to the house, in my backyard.. My neighbors cannot touch it.

    #719397

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    Are the neighbors stealing power? Legitimate question.

    This was my first thought also.

    My second one is whether you’d recently bought some space heaters for coldish rooms. They eat a lot of power.

    Even if the neighbors are stealing power they have to be hooked up somewhere between the electricity meter and the house which I find virtually impossible.
    I mean, my meter is bolted to the house, in my backyard.. My neighbors cannot touch it.

    #719398

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    OK, something is screwy here, I don’t know why I have so many posts.

    #719402

    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    When you get to the one that stops meter, you’ve got your problem spot.

    I am just curious what you mean by this?

    Just process of elimination.

    I don’t know what the OP means by a “leak”, as electricity doesn’t “leak” out like water would.

    I’m guessing that there might be an overlooked load somewhere.

    I’d do it a little differently, and probably a little quicker, but I’ve been doing electrical work for 22 years now, and I have some specialized tools as well. 🙂

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #719423

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Even if the neighbors are stealing power they have to be hooked up somewhere between the electricity meter and the house which I find virtually impossible.

    Not necessarily between meter and house. Could be anywhere downstream. Imagine a buried PVC line underground that runs to a shed, or to swimming pool or spa mechanicals, or to the backyard pile lights that pass near a fence. They can dig down from their side and put a junction box and run wires to their house. Or they can even run an extension cord to plug into your outside receptacle every day while you are at work.

    #719424

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I don’t know how old your house old, but there is some very screwy stuff in older homes, like MWBC’s not tied together, illgal taps, etc. BE VERY CAREFUL. NEVER assume anything is deenergized.

    So true, especially MWBCs that’s been later on DIYed by those who are clueless. I have seen two MWBCs wired to the same leg.

    #719429

    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    I’m on a commercial remodel right now, and the electrical is old.

    I had to extend and rewire some circuits, so I put a breaker tracer on a receptacle, shut the breaker off, and open the box.

    There’s 3 wires in side, 2 hots, 1 neutral, no ground. (It’s grounded through the EMT). Both hots sharing a neutral. It’s an MWBC. Some of the receptacles down stream, obviously in the same conduit, are still energized.

    I trace out the other hot, and find the breaker. No handle ties, not even adjacent breakers. 😮

    Moral of the story: Never assume anything, always check and recheck.

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #719431

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    Even if the neighbors are stealing power they have to be hooked up somewhere between the electricity meter and the house which I find virtually impossible.

    Not necessarily between meter and house. Could be anywhere downstream. Imagine a buried PVC line underground that runs to a shed, or to swimming pool or spa mechanicals, or to the backyard pile lights that pass near a fence. They can dig down from their side and put a junction box and run wires to their house. Or they can even run an extension cord to plug into your outside receptacle every day while you are at work.

    You’re right.
    Complicated but doable.

    #719432

    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    You’d have to see some of the stupid $**T the growers up here do. 😆

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #719486

    Doobie
    Pro
    Ajax, ON

    You’d have to see some of the stupid $**T the growers up here do. 😆

    Here as well. They’ll even do a splice underground to steal power.

    Kevin.

    Wannabee pro.

    #719596

    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Pro
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    if everything is off and power is still flowing, there has to be a short that is not blowing a breaker. If that is the case, it should be creating heat. find someone with an infrared camera to go through the area that the offending circuit serves and you should be able to find the heat that way.

    #719598

    CB
    Pro

    if everything is off and power is still flowing, there has to be a short that is not blowing a breaker. If that is the case, it should be creating heat. find someone with an infrared camera to go through the area that the offending circuit serves and you should be able to find the heat that way.

    So true. Had that happen year before last where one of the crew (since fired) ran a sawzall through wiring. Opened up the rest of the wall and threaded in 20ft of new romex from box to box bracketing the break.

    Turned everything back on, circuit worked for a while, then stopped working, but the breaker didn’t trip. I killed the main, pulled the panel cover, and began a branch trace with a tracer signal.

    Signal got weak in the hallway, so I pulled the hard wired smoke detector and BOOM, there was the burn back. The branch that feed the room where the wire got severed passed through the smoke detector box. The burn back was just outside the box. Had to open up the ceiling a bit to repair correctly, but the moral of the story is…

    Breakers do not always work.

    #719609

    I used a space heater in the garage but the utility guy said it wasnt that plus it’s on a different breaker from what he told me.. now for there being a short if it spiked my kwh and hour wouldn’t I have smelled that .. I’m taking the recepts and switched apart to measure current and see if switches still have current in of position.. The house was built in 1963.. Thank you all for ur help or thoughts ..

    #719694

    GTokley
    Pro
    Madoc, ON

    I used a space heater in the garage but the utility guy said it wasnt that plus it’s on a different breaker from what he told me.. now for there being a short if it spiked my kwh and hour wouldn’t I have smelled that .. I’m taking the recepts and switched apart to measure current and see if switches still have current in of position.. The house was built in 1963.. Thank you all for ur help or thoughts ..

    I look forward to hear what you find out.

    Greg

    instagram.com/gregtokley/

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