Low Voltage

Old 08-01-06, 06:38 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Ohio, USA
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Low Voltage

Let me start by saying that I live in the northern part of OHIO and we are experiencing a heat wave right now! I know that this is taxing the power plants and they are pushing out a lot of power right now! That said, My neighborhood has been having problems with low voltage entering our houses from the street.
For the last two nights I noticed the lights getting dim.
I started checking voltages at my panel and noticed that we were only getting about 100 to 105 volts for a few hours.
Slowly as the nights wore on the voltage increased to about 110 to 115v. The houses next to mine also had the same problem.
My question is what kind of damage can this do to the motors in my refrigerators,Air conditioner and also the electronics in my TV and stereo.
Should I contact the electric company or is this an acceptable range for power to drop.
Thanks for any assistance you can provide.
Old 08-01-06, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New Bern, NC
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Lower or higher than normal voltages are both problems that can cause serious damage to your equipment, especially electronics, an motors.

Most utilities are requred to keep the voltage within 5 percent of the nominal voltage.

It makes sence that the voltage was low during peak use and gradually went up as heavy loads such as A/C units began to cycle on and off instead of running continously.

The nominal voltage is likely be be a range between 110 an 120. That would leave a window of about 104 to 126 volts as being acceptable. 100 volts sounds too low and you should contact the utility.

Turning off non essential loads during these hours will help by leaving more power available for the criticl loads. See what the difference in voltage is if you turn off your ac and test the voltage again. The fridge should be fine if you unplug it for a couple hours, if you leave the doors closed during that time.
Old 08-01-06, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Wonder how many homes are tapped off the same xformer?
Old 08-01-06, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: USA
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The utility has an overloaded transformer(too many houses)
or the primary feeder is overloaded. You need to contact the utility(I'm sure they are just waiting for another call) and let them know. Voltage that low can cause damage to your appliances if not corrected.

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