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House is going nuts and melting my surge protectors, I dont want to be next

House is going nuts and melting my surge protectors, I dont want to be next

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  #1  
Old 04-13-06, 07:18 PM
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FIXED House is going nuts and melting my surge protectors, I dont want to be next

The plug ins that run around the perimeter of my Livingroom, kithen, and bedroom have started melting our surge protectors. Quick solution was to unplug everything in the affected outlets, but that is not long term solution.

I tested the recepticals. All the recepticals on interior walls show 120, and 120ish when one test prong is in the uppper hole with one of the test prong in the ground,
BUT when i do the same test on the affected outlets, I get 120 when one test prong is in one of the upper holes and the other is in the ground hole i get 220 Volt,

We have had no work done recently, or changed anything around the house. This is not causing any of the breakers to
trip. but, its melting the surge protectors. Also the recepticals with the ground problem that have two pronged lamps plugged into the lamps are not suffering.

Any advice would be helpful,
 

Last edited by knix; 04-14-06 at 07:49 AM. Reason: resovled
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  #2  
Old 04-13-06, 08:15 PM
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It sounds like an open neutral, either in the house, or from the pole. This is a fairly serious problem, and you should call the power company immediatley. If they determine it is not theirs, then you will need an electrician.
 
  #3  
Old 04-13-06, 09:06 PM
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Please help me understand, I dont understand If I have an open nuetral why do all my plug ins have power, and if it open, why would the volt meter show 220 power any time when testing a 120 receptical ?

Sorry to have so many questions, I helped my dad wire when I was a teen, but this just seems odd.

thanks

Knix
 
  #4  
Old 04-13-06, 09:34 PM
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ok i will try to make it simple for ya .

you have to think a 3 wire one wire is hot then centre wire is netrual then thrid wire is hot.,,
ok now between hot and netrual is 120 volts ok,,

the line between two hots are 240 volts [ dont count netural on this one ]

this is very common setup for majorty of home [ there are other system but i will just stick to most common one for now ]

what happending is that when you loose the " netural " line the voltage will really varies alot from 0 to 240 volts depending what is on the 120 volt plug .

just image two hot lines are going in and netural is going out ok,,
what will happend is that the hot will find other load or connection i will give you a ex.

a 60 watt light bulb on one side of 120 volt circuit then you have a 300 watts TV on other leg ok ,,

what will happed is the voltage on tv side will go down and light bulb will get more brighter because the voltage is looking for return line.

if you have electric water heater or dryer or electric stove if you turn on one of burner you will see the light go crazy either get brighter or dim depending on connection.

that the reason why you loose the netural connection as other person say call the power company first to check their system first then if their system is ok then i recomended you get the electricican asap

this something the diy should not fool around with loose netrual but sometime it can cause by loose connection in the house as well as i mention the electrician can find the curpit fast and save your house and stuff before it get damaged with high voltage.


PLEASE call the POCO asap they useally dont charge for comming out if something wrong with their system


Merci , Marc
 
  #5  
Old 04-13-06, 09:36 PM
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With an open neutral the ground is acting as the return path. Whats the voltage when testing from the neutral to hot?

Heres an explanation of an open neutral.

http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarch...s~20030409.htm

*posted this the same time Marc was posting, you should follow his advice.
 
  #6  
Old 04-13-06, 09:42 PM
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thanks Lonegunman that is very simple and short cut to explain about open netural there


and welcome to this forum here

Merci , Marc
 
  #7  
Old 04-13-06, 09:52 PM
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How old is the house ?

Are you in the US ?
 
  #8  
Old 04-13-06, 09:53 PM
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Thumbs up

Thankyou again for your response to my second post, I think I understand now, When I was doing research on this website and others, I was only getting that - if i had an open nuetral the receptical would not work, and i should check my recepticals to see if they were backstabed or screwed on.

I will call the Power Co Asap tomorrow, because this came on suddenly, with no changes in our walls, or usage, I will hope its an easy fix by having them out. I will post when I have an answer to the mystery, btw my computer is running on an outlet that doesnt have a problem via Heavy Duty extention cord running accrossed the living room.
 
  #9  
Old 04-13-06, 09:56 PM
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House build in 96 in Gaston Oregon /wave
 
  #10  
Old 04-14-06, 04:20 AM
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Call the power company NOW. Do not waste any more time thinking about it. Call them now. They will come out and check things on their end and advise.

In the mean time either turn off your main breaker and use no electricity or at the very least turn off all your 120 volt breakers. I also recommend using nothing that you don't want to replace in ANY receptacles.
 

Last edited by racraft; 04-14-06 at 05:35 AM.
  #11  
Old 04-14-06, 05:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
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I don't mean to...

I don't want to be like that, but...

Bob, do you mean "turn off all 120V breakers"?

The 240V appliances would not notice an open neutral, except for ranges and dryers (their clocks/motors run 120V inside the equipment).

I agree with his advice to unplug everything in your house now. I would say you should shut off all the breakers, and then turn on your lights; re-energize the lighting circuits.

Your bulbs may explode, be forewarned. But you will have some light, and bulbs are cheap. Wear shoes.
 
  #12  
Old 04-14-06, 05:36 AM
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Of course that's what I meant. I have to start proofreading...
 
  #13  
Old 04-14-06, 07:47 AM
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Lightbulb Solved Thanks Alot



Thankyou all for your advice. I called Power Company this am, within 30 mins they sent out Gus. He was great, he tested the Powerco side, and it wasnt there, then he opened up the customer side, just to show me, cause it only had 3 screws and he said this was where the electrician would start, and he found that our house ground wire, was loooooooose, he showed me how when he wiggled the wire the (screw thing) bolt wouldnt even move. He was amazed that he tightened it 6 or 7 complete revolutions and as he did the lights flickered in the window of my house, and I tested the outlet, and ta- da just like magic my house is back to normal.

He also suggested to have my husband turn off the house power from the box and makes sure all the other screws are tightened at the interior breaker box. My house stood for 10 years with a loose ground wire, the wires are underground, so it didnt "blow loose"

Thankyou again for your great advice
 
  #14  
Old 04-14-06, 09:22 AM
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ahh very good i am glad that slove the probem there.

that what we try to help ya and that what we are here for.

anyway if you have other questions feel free to drop a line here.


Merci, Marc

[ master electricican ]
 
  #15  
Old 04-14-06, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by knix

He also suggested to have my husband turn off the house power from the box and makes sure all the other screws are tightened at the interior breaker box. My house stood for 10 years with a loose ground wire, the wires are underground, so it didnt "blow loose"
Knix-

Given the problem you found with your wiring, I wouldn't feel comfortable until I had a licensed electrician come out and inspect the whole system. I'm surprised Gus didn't recommend this.
 
  #16  
Old 04-14-06, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by knix
it only had 3 screws
Be sure to replace the missing screw also.
 
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