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Your Place: Possible Causes of Surges in Electricity Use

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By Alan J. Heavens

Walker has found “many strange reasons for sporadic use increases, but this sounds like it could be due to underground wiring to an outbuilding with a two-way switch, one leg of which is exposed to dissipation conditions.” (Turning on a light in the house and off in the garage could create this situation. If the action is reversed, it will clear.)

Byron Goldstein suggests that most modern refrigerators and freezers have automatic defrost cycles — “the defrost coils are electric, and then the unit has to rebound from the heat, requiring more cooling.

“It’s always a good idea to check the refrigerator coils, in back or underneath,” Goldstein says. “Even with supposedly self-cleaning coils, they need to be cleaned once or twice a year of dust and dirt for efficiency.”

Here’s where we are so far: The reader says she has oil heat, although it is likely electric-fired. However, “I did find out one solution to the perplexing surges in power usage,” she says.

Apparently, the monitoring website has not yet been officially launched, and there are some glitches, the reader says.

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