Electrical system Possessed!


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Old 11-26-07, 06:02 PM
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Electrical system Possessed!

Hi. About 5:00 AM I was sitting near the computer half asleep when I realized it was shutting down and restarting about every 5 minutes or so. At the same time, the fridge light, the light (compact fluorescent) at the bottom of the basement steps and the clock on the range would dim. Nothing else. After work, I realized the water heater was no longer functioning. Also the range won't heat up even though the panel indicates the oven is going on, the lights work and the clock works. I plugged the fridge into a different outlet and that's working fine again. The computer still shuts down once in a while (probably just before I submit this!). I can understand that a 110V circuit might be overburdened even though nothing has changed recently and it's been working fine forever. But how could this problem have effected the range and water heater which are each on their own 220V breakers?
Is it me or is this kind of weird?

Thanks for any ideas.
 
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Old 11-26-07, 06:34 PM
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sounds like you have lost or at least have a poor connection on one of the hot legs in your panel.

Have a volt meter?
 
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Old 11-26-07, 06:38 PM
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Yes. How would this have happened? Would it be a physical jarring or can it "just happen"? Also, what's a "leg"? Also, thanks very much!
 
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Old 11-26-07, 06:48 PM
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Nap is correct. Had this exact same thing on a service call. Customer's range, water heater, anything 240v would not work. Some lights were dim. If you have a meter you can check on the line side of your panel (wires coming from out side to your main breaker.) You will find you have 120v from each hot to neutral but nothing (or ohms) between both hots. The reason your lights are dim is because voltage is back feeding through your water heater elements. If you shut off all your two pole breakers I bet you will lose half your power to your house. Give the power company a call and tell them you don't have 240 volts. They will fix it.
 
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Old 11-26-07, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bonmot View Post
Yes. How would this have happened? Would it be a physical jarring or can it "just happen"? Also, what's a "leg"? Also, thanks very much!
Leg = hot wire

Maybe transformer issue or maybe critters.
 
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Old 11-26-07, 06:59 PM
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have seen the POCO to consumer connections work loose over time and actually burn up eventually. Simply caused by the wind and such moving the joints over time.
 
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Old 11-26-07, 07:07 PM
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Really appreciate the info. Seems maybe not so bad (like maybe the appliances will survive I hope). I'll call tomorrow and let you know how it turns out. Again, many thanks!
 
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Old 11-26-07, 07:08 PM
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Sounds like one of your hot legs is out. Call the POCO and have them come and check it out. It could be anywhere from the main breaker o the POCO connection on the pole.
 
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Old 11-26-07, 08:12 PM
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Call the power company now. Do not wait until tomorrow. Call them NOW.

In the mean time, turn off the main breaker. If you absolutely refuse to turn off the main breaker, turn off ALL other 240 volt breakers in your panel.
 
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Old 11-26-07, 11:45 PM
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Racraft was absolutely right. The guy from the municipal light company just left. He found two possible causes. First was the line at the weatherhead is still hooked up temporary from several months ago when we started doing the work to upgrade our service to 200 amps. He thinks water may be getting into the connection. While he was here, he pulled the circuit panel cover off and discovered indications of prior water infiltration. The really fun part was the black and melted condition right at the main breaker. It's been shorting out just short of tripping off. I call the electrician later (it's 2:30 in the AM now) and get it squared away. In the meantime, I'll be powering down the whole house at the main. Thanks again one and all.
 
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Old 11-27-07, 01:51 PM
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A defective connection in a Neutral Service conductor can be much worse than a defective connection in a "live" Service Conductor.

Last week , a customer of mine had Burn-outs" in $1000 worth of oil-burner controls with solid-state components. which are voltage-sensitive.The cause was a loose connection at the Neutral termination in the meter-socket, which required a service re-placement.
 
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Old 11-27-07, 02:57 PM
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But one leg missing and backfeeding that leg through any 240 volt loads is a sure recipe for something getting damaged...
 
 

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