Weird electrical happenings in our new house

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-15-13, 06:44 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Do you have a multimeter? If not you can buy one fairly cheaply at the box stores for about $10. You should be able to take voltage readings from your hot wires to the neutrals or grounds to determine if it is within parameters of 120 volts or not. How comfortable do you feel around the inside of a breaker panel? If good, then you can remove the panel cover and test voltages of your incoming wires as well. If not so good, the call in an electrician. It does sound as if you are having problems on one leg or another which the POCO should be called in on. I would call them anyway. It's free and it is their responsibility. See what they say.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-15-13, 06:51 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Yeah, I know the answers before you ask them. Cool, huh?? I know, something is going on with the site and my time is all messed up. POCO is your Power Company. Buy an analog meter. You will set the meter to a setting higher than 240 volts, possibly 300 on your meter. You should be looking at 120 volts from each side to neutral and 240 volts across the two hot legs.
 
  #3  
Old 04-15-13, 07:13 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,587
If it is affecting everything in the house it could be in your service panel or upstream in the meter, feeder wires or transformer connections. Ask your neighbors if they are having issues.
 
  #4  
Old 04-15-13, 07:28 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17
Weird electrical happenings in our new house

Hello,

Me and my fiance just purchased a foreclosure built in 2005. We've been here about 15 days now and our water heater failed yesterday, our dryer today, and our stove sometime before. The water heaters top element burst, the dryers main relay is fried, and the stove keeps reporting too much heat. All of this sounds very suspicious. I feel like there is a bigger problem. Today, I noticed my Adcom amplifier making a loud electrical humming noise, it has never done this. Then the power supply for my Aragon preamp started humming. I have no idea what is going on. The Aragon is on its own circuit with only five 20 amp outlets.

I am at a loss as of what to do. I looked at the main breaker out by the meter and it looks fine, all the wiring in the electrical panel looks good. I am lucky and replaced the elements in the water heater for around $60 and I have ordered a new relay for the dryer at $34.... but I cannot afford for all my appliances and stereo equipment to burn up. Any ideas?
 
  #5  
Old 04-15-13, 07:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17
I wired the extra breaker with the 5 outlets, so I am pretty comfortable inside the box, even though that was my first venture in electrical work. I will get a multimeter tomorrow. What are the settings/readings I am looking for? What's a POCO?

edit: that's so weird, your post is #1 lol???
 
  #6  
Old 04-15-13, 08:04 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17
Ok. I will look into this tomorrow and report back. So, is it more likely a power company issue than an issue with the houses wiring??
 
  #7  
Old 04-15-13, 08:26 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17
If it wasn't for the amplifier humming, I would tell you it's only the 240v stuff.... I've had no issue with light bulbs, computers, ac adapters, microwave, etc. I dunno if the humming is related, but it comes and goes and changes in volume. I have the stuff unplugged for now, I like my equipment too much to experiment with it
 

Last edited by cokewithvanilla; 04-15-13 at 09:03 PM.
  #8  
Old 04-16-13, 04:15 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
It could be one leg from the transformer, and your amp is plugged into that leg. Naturally the 240 volt items would be affected since they are attached to both legs. Don't waste time calling the POCO. More damage can happen before they come. Unplug your amp, BTW.
 
  #9  
Old 04-16-13, 09:31 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17
Alright, I bought a digital multimeter from Home Depot. The battery connection was cut, and I had to solder it back together to get the thing to work. I guess they figure you shouldn't be using it if you can't figure out why it isn't working.

Anyway, I started testing outlets. Of all the 120's I tested, I get 122. I tested the 240 on the dryer and get 122, 122 and 244. Everything seems in spec. I will no go into the panel, but I expect I will find similar readings.

edit: similar readings in the electrical panel.
 
  #10  
Old 04-16-13, 03:30 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Did you call the POCO? It could be a lifted neutral or surging windings in a transformer.
 
  #11  
Old 04-17-13, 11:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17
I did call the POCO. They ignored me. However, I just ran into a power company guy at the neighbors house. Apparently, they complained about voltage too. He went to the transformer and said there were some loose contentions in there that he tightened.

Is that what you were talking about?
 
  #12  
Old 04-17-13, 12:13 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,044
I did call the POCO. They ignored me
If you called customer service at the POCO you called the wrong number. The number to call is the 24 hour emergency number.

He went to the transformer and said there were some loose contentions in there that he tightened.
Sounds like that could be it.
 
  #13  
Old 04-19-13, 07:03 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 17
I live in a small town. The power company is the city. I have to call city hall to talk to someone. I spoke to the City Manager today and he doubts they are liable for anything. He told me to look into buying whole house surge protection (they don't offer it) and having my ground rod checked.
 
  #14  
Old 04-19-13, 09:13 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,044
I can't believe they don't have a 24 hour emergency number.
 
  #15  
Old 04-19-13, 02:44 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Me neither. You have an electrical power line fall in your neighborhood in the middle of the night. It's arcing all over the place, and you have to wait until city hall opens the next morning at 9am to report it?? If the city takes on the responsibility of providing your electrical service, they assume the liability of providing that service incorrectly. Their serve.
 
  #16  
Old 04-19-13, 07:10 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
Hey, it's a small rural town. You have an issue or emergency after hours, call Sam who works for the street department, he knows someone who works for public works or you call cousin Rodney at 2 a.m. and wake him up, he works for the board of public works or call the police. Maybe not the most convenient, but they are usually pretty efficient in small towns.
 
  #17  
Old 04-19-13, 09:26 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
He told me to look into buying whole house surge protection (they don't offer it) and having my ground rod checked.
No POCO offers whole house surge suppression. I's done by adding the appropriate suppressor - one designed for it - into your panel.

Almost no one carries around the equipment to test the resistance on your grounding electrode connector (your ground rod, water pipe, and the conductors bonding them to the POCO neutral), and there's no hard-and-fast rule for what that value should be anyway. That said, a qualified electrician can visually inspect it to see if all of the components appear to be present and in good condition.
 
  #18  
Old 04-20-13, 12:35 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
No POCO offers whole house surge suppression.
I know of one Co-op that offers it installed at the meter socket; they charge a monthly fee for it. In my opinion, it would be more cost effective to purchase and install your own suppression device.
 
  #19  
Old 04-20-13, 12:54 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
I know of one Co-op that offers it installed at the meter socket; they charge a monthly fee for it.
Apparently some utilities do. I wasn't aware of that, so I've learned something. Always a plus. BUT, since your provider doesn't, it's moot in your case.

In my opinion, it would be more cost effective to purchase and install your own suppression device.
I agree. If you do it yourself your cost could be as little as $75, and it's a one-time cost.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes