we think we have an electrical problem

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  #1  
Old 01-22-12, 08:40 PM
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we think we have an electrical problem

We think we have an electrical problem, but I knew that those of
you on this forum could tell us just about for sure.

We have flood lights on the upper part of our house. They are so
high that we had someone come out and replace the receptacles
and bulbs a few months ago.

A couple of weeks ago, the lights on one side of the house in the
back went out. We thought that was an awfully short bulb life!
Then the next week (last week), we had six bulbs go out inside
of
the house in a three day period. Actually, one of those six is our
side porch light, so make that 5 on the inside (all lamps) and one on
the outside. These are not old bulbs. Tonight, we drove up and
noticed that the flood lights on the other side of the house are
out too.

We think something may be wrong electrically. Does this sound
like it to any of you?

Thanks for any help or suggestions you can give!
 
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Old 01-22-12, 08:46 PM
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Have to run, but quick question.

What types of bulbs? LED, compact fluorescent (CFL), or older style incandescent?
 
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Old 01-22-12, 09:27 PM
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They are all incandescent bulbs.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 07:53 AM
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Perhaps when the sockets were changed out a connection was no t properly made and loosened up and failed.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 10:37 AM
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PCboss, that might explain the flood lights, but what about the
lamps inside and the side porch light that all went out as well?
Wouldn't it have to be one huge coincidence for all of those to
have gone out as well.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 12:02 PM
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Does seem like a lot died at once, which would send me looking in a different direction.

Incandescent bulbs run hotter than CFL's or LED's. Swapping them out with a CFL or LED will save you electricity, and drastically reduce the heat in the fixture. Reducing the heat may substantially increase the amount of time the bulb lasts, and quite possibly get rid of your problem.

Also, check what wattage bulbs the fixtures ask for, and see if the bulbs in there are higher than that. Putting a 100w bulb in a 60w fixture will kill the bulb quickly, because the fixture isn't designed to handle the heat.

Might be worth checking the voltage level in your house. You'd need a multimeter for this. You don't need a great one, one of the $20 ones will do. If you do this, make darn sure not to get the red and black probe ends closer together than you need to get in the outlet. If they get too close, the electricity can arc across the probes even if they aren't technically touching. Had an apartment that kept burning out light bulbs and electronics. We measured the voltage, and it was at a whopping 135v! If it's reasonably close to 110-120v (I'm not sure exactly what is reasonable) then you're OK, but too high of voltage will burn a light out quickly. If this is the case, call an electrician and/or your utility company. Could either be caused by an issue in your panel, or outside on the utility company's side.

Have you had other electronics die lately? Like your computer's power supply, or anything like that?
 
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Old 01-23-12, 12:11 PM
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Thank you for these suggestions. We have not had anything else die but lights.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 02:50 PM
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This may sound silly, but were all of those inside bulbs installed at the same time? If they were all new and installed at the same time, it would be a big coincidence for them to all burn out at exactly the same time but not so much for them to all burn out over a fairly short period of time. If only one of the new bulbs went bad, maybe it is just that - a bad bulb?
 
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Old 01-23-12, 03:46 PM
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pjaffe, they were not all installed at the same time, and they didn't come from the same batch of
bulbs. I have been racking my brain to try and figure out any relationship between the outlets. All of the inside lights have been in lamps and not ceiling fixtures. Other than that, I don't know what to
make of it.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 08:00 PM
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If it's reasonably close to 110-120v (I'm not sure exactly what is reasonable) then you're OK, but too high of voltage will burn a light out quickly
That's a good theory IF the nominal volatge in Guam is 110-120, but for some reason I don't think it is. Does anyone know what would be the nominal voltage in Guam?
 
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Old 01-23-12, 08:21 PM
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Sorry! I don't really live in Guam. I put that because when I signed up for this forum years ago, I wasn't really keen on having everyone know where I lived. My husband has decided that this electrical problem is way above our pay grade due to the possibility of being killed when working on electrical. An electrician is coming out in the morning. I will let you all know the diagnosis if you're interested in what he finds.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 09:38 PM
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I will let you all know the diagnosis if you're interested in what he finds.
Yes, please let us know. This is one of those puzzles that often are hard to pin down that is occasionally posted here.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 12:34 AM
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Apparently Guam's electrical is the same as the US. 110v, 60Hz, same style plugs.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 06:52 AM
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Note to OP. it really helps us to know at least what country you are in. Not everywhere uses the same electrical codes or systems and voltages.
 
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Old 02-01-12, 12:32 PM
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The Electrician's Diagnosis

I'm sorry it took me so long to post this. We had an electrician come out last Monday. He found a
few loose neutrals and tightened them. He recommended that we have the power company come out
and check our meter. When they came out and looked in the box on the meter, the two bolts on the
left were dark black, and the two on the right were perfectly fine. It's been over a week, so I can't
remember what they said the problem was called, but the electrician had to come back out and
replace those bolts and posts, I think??? The electric company said
it was almost bad enough for them to turn the power off until
the problem was corrected, but thankfully we didn't have to have
that done. The electrician came right back out and repaired
the problem. They said this couldn't have caused a fire, but left
unattended, it could have cost alot more to have repaired.
We feel very blessed to have had them repair it when they did.
This was waaayyy above our experience level!

Thanks for all of the help on here.
 
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