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Would plugging one of two prongs of a electrical plug on different outlets have any affect on your power bill? Answered

Here is an example : one prong of a electrical plug is plugged into an outlet in an apartment, while the other prong is plugged into an different apartment's outlet , in doing so, would there be any significant reading off both apartment's power bill/meter?

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apt lady
apt lady

3 months ago

I am trying to figure out why my electric bill is higher than other apts that I have lived in. I suspect maybe because they are older units with older appliances. It is just me and a small unit. Also, the water heater is gas, so another reason that electric bill should be less. Also, was wondering if a cracked outlet plate would have any affect on bill. Cracked, as in a chunk missing on the side. A strange question, I know, but I thought that I saw something about this online. Also, I got one of those electric saving devices. I don't know if they work or not, but at this point, thought I would try it.
Thank you

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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

Reply 3 months ago

There is an ancient proverb, "Everything goes somewhere."

Electrical energy flows, from the grid, to the meter for your apartment. From there it goes to the breaker-switch box for your apartment, and from there it goes to the various circuits (one circuit per breaker) that supply electricity to... whatever is connected to those circuits. You know, the electric lights, the fridge, things plugged into outlets, stuff like that.

The process of discovering exactly where the electrical energy is going, is called an "energy audit."

https://www.appropedia.org/How_to_do_an_electrical...

This is an accounting game. You make a list of every device in your apartment, that is drawing energy from the mains. Then estimate how much energy each device is using (e.g. in units of kilowatt*hours per day) Then add all those numbers together, and see if that sum matches what the meter is saying, and what the power bill is saying.

Regarding, "was wondering if a cracked outlet plate would have any affect on bill," I do not think so.

If you want to know why, I can explain why, and even explain how to test that hypothesis. But I don't think a cracked outlet plate is responsible for your too-high power bill.

A more likely culprit is a refrigerator that runs all the time.

Regarding, "I got one of those electric saving devices..." I have no idea to which device you are referring.

I suppose a switch, in particular a switch turned to its "off" position, is a kind of electricity saving device.

By the way, the Staff here at Instructables have been making noises about ending this forum.

https://www.instructables.com/community/Retiring-t...

and if that happens before your question gets answered, please consider posting the same question to diy-forums.net

https://diy-forums.net/forum/

because some of the regular question answerers, including myself, are moving the party over to that place.

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

11 years ago

. No. It's still going through the meters. Intuition tells me that you would BOTH be billed for the same electricity, but I'm too foggy to think it out. . If you decide to try it, measure the voltage first. It's not likely if your apartments are next door, but there could be enough difference in potential to do harm.

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zeuszaku
zeuszaku

Answer 11 years ago

To be honest, a friend mentioned this to me, about how he managed to "cheat" his power bill by sharing a connection with his neighbor. I'm not really familiar when it comes to power meters, but just wanted a second opinion if anyone here has experiences with dealing with outlets and whatnot thou this might go against going green :D

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

Answer 11 years ago

. I just got off the phone with an Electrical Engineer and, after he finished laughing, he said that the meter supplying the hot will be charged for the electricity and the meter supplying the neutral won't see anything. According to him, meters only use the neutral as a voltage reference and the current through the hot side is what you are billed for.

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zeuszaku
zeuszaku

Answer 11 years ago

so basically, it is possible? so but connecting each prong to neutrals.. Free power?

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

Answer 11 years ago

. As L points out, using two neutrals (or two hots) won't work. You have to have a difference of potential and the two neutrals (or hots) are at the same potential (or should be if things are wired properly). . The current through the neutral is the same as the current through the hot, so there is really no need for the power company to measure it. . Ppl have been trying to defraud power meters since they were invented. So far, no one has found a way to do it and not get arrested. You can do some tweaking by adjusting the power factor, but that involves some rather complicated circuitry to track the varying load of a house and the gains are minimal.

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zeuszaku
zeuszaku

Answer 11 years ago

So I'm guessing my friend wasn't really measuring how much he was actually saving thru his method.. To be honest, he did mentioned that the power company did something so that this wouldn't work thou, did I mention we have a 220 power standard?

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NachoMahma
NachoMahma

Answer 11 years ago

. It's not really anything the power company is doing, that's just the way electricity works. . The voltage is not important. Since your voltage is twice normal (heehee), you will only pull half the amps when using the same amount of power. It all evens out, so to speak.

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lemonie
lemonie

Answer 11 years ago

No, Nacho is saying one of the residences will be billed. Connecting both to neutral is as effective as wiring the two prons to each other and not bothering with the outlet(s)

L

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frollard
frollard

11 years ago

Putting the different prongs of a circuit recepticle on different breakers, let alone different breakers in different apartments violates electrical code. The circuit breaker may not function if it does not 'see' the short circuit between 'hot and neutral or ground' One wire is 'hot' (black) and runs at +/- 120V (in north america). The white wire runs at 0V, neutral. The green or copper wire is ground. The metering is done on the hot wire, so whichever circuit has the black wire coming from it would pay the bill. Again, likely a bad idea to mix them.

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mrgre99
mrgre99

11 years ago

Are you sure they meant "share". I know someone that actually went through the adjoining wall and connected there flat to the next door neighbours ring main. highly suspect but effective. and immoral and illigal.

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jtobako
jtobako

11 years ago

Most likely one apartment (the one with the black wire) would be charged the whole amount. Electricity is a flow thing-it comes in (black wire) and goes out (white wire). If you try to short-circuit to ground, the path gets longer, but it still has to go threw the meter. You could argue that AC has to flow both ways, but I would respond with Australia's single wire, earth return system. Yes, you can get a spark from the white wire, but that would be from other items in parallel (like the rest of the grid).