flickering lights single phasing maybe

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-27-13, 10:18 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
flickering lights single phasing maybe

Had a pretty rough storm last night .We heard a loud boom and then a pop
suddenly our toaster went to smoking. I was sure lightening or a power surge got it. Nothing else on that circuit was bothered
Latter we noticed a light flickering in the kitchen different circuit
Then a small electric heater in the bathroom quit still different circuit
This morning a tv quits yet a different circuit
We notice when the fridge kicks on or the dishwasher starts up the lights and all dim in part of the house
I have checked the breakers and wiring and all appear good, I have ran a voltage test and have good power but think it may still be single phasing from the utility company side
They will check for an unknown fee if there is a problem on their side no charge if they do not find then there is
How can you check to know for sure where the problem lies or any ideas
I am not a novice so think I already know the answer and that is pay if they do not find anything
just want to be sure
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-27-13, 10:23 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 56,343
Received 741 Votes on 696 Posts
Based on your descriptions.... you have lost a neutral to the house. It may be loose or broken. Possibly a tree branch fell on it.

I would call the power company first.

You could also call an electrician but do it ASAP. I would keep the electronics unplugged temporarily until it's looked at.
 
  #3  
Old 10-27-13, 10:32 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 34 Votes on 26 Posts
Open your service panel and check the voltage between the two supply wires to the main circuit breaker, it should be 240 volts +/- 10%. Check the voltage from one supply line to the neutral bus and the voltage should be 120 volts +/- 10%. Check the other supply wire to the neutral.

If all the above is correct it is not a utility problem. Do the same tests only from the bus bars to each other and to the neutral bus. If there is now a problem then the main circuit breaker is the culprit.
 
  #4  
Old 10-27-13, 11:01 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
think it may be meter

The wife caught this I didn't . We have what I think is a smart meter
you can see the numbers on the front that they read each month
Do you know if these numbers should go on and off .It looks like they fade in and out . I know some of a red infared light on them that blinks but this is the numbers
Went ahead and bit the bullet to call the utility company out .Hopefully it is the meter that went
If not it could be a nightmare finding the actual problem
 
  #5  
Old 10-27-13, 11:26 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
I hope you called emergency services not customer service.
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-13, 12:06 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 34 Votes on 26 Posts
The only "smart" meters I have seen are on a three-phase system and the the display DOES change between instantaneous consumption and totalized consumption, maybe something else as well like VARs, power factor and demand factor. In other words, your meter may be reading correctly.

Did you do the voltage testing I described?
 
  #7  
Old 10-27-13, 12:09 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ray, Yeah I called them and was told they would be out between 2 and 7 oclock today. They still want their pound of flesh for coming no idea what that will cost
Furd ,I have tested that and the readings are fine but you could get that until a load kicks in or the wind blows .
The fridge comes on and nothing happens the next time it comes on they flicker
or you run the microwave and it is fine next time it doesn't
I went thru this once before years ago but it was worse the lights would dim for long periods. It took them nearly a week to find the broken splice but naturally they are not responsible for anything past the meter
This time the dimming is only a short term like if the fridge kicks on you see only a couple of lights dim or flicker badly
If it was just one circuit I could isolate it but being several it is a little tougher
The main breaker does not appear burned or distorted and turns on and off normally neither buss appears to have any problem
Now we are only running what we have to till they show up
 
  #8  
Old 10-27-13, 01:07 PM
J
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4,297
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
A loose neutral can destroy anything that's plugged in at the time!
 
  #9  
Old 10-27-13, 01:41 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
What do you mean, "pound of flesh"? and why are they waiting so long to come out? It is their responsibility to provide immediate service at no charge for their lines. No excuses.
 
  #10  
Old 10-27-13, 06:44 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
pound of flesh

Yep Chandler They do not get in a hurry unless a power line is laying on the ground or a pole is down.
They give you a time frame that they will come out and that is that
They come out and test and check from the meter back up the line
If they find a problem there is no charge, if they do not find a problem
then you are charged a service call and it varies for time spent ,how hard to access and other factors. It can run 25.00 or 500.00
You do not know till they are done.
I had retested everything on my side and all looked good including outlets
They get here and in a few minutes they find the problem and it was a bad
splice in the neutral
My other neighbor came home as they were leaving. I stopped her and joking said if you had been home today , I would have ask if you had any problems last night with
yours. She informs me yes , I have been having problems for two days
She said I was gone this weekend but an electrician is coming tomorrow
to check as I have lost power to half my house
I told her to just have him look over her panel and stuff the problem was the utility company
All is well and for info the new TVs have what appears to be a sensor that searches for bad voltage or dirty voltage and will shut off if it senses a problem
Ours quit and did not come on so thought it was gone. After they got thru it worked perfect. The son called and said his did the same thing one time when the transformer went bad at his house
 
  #11  
Old 10-27-13, 06:46 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,495
Received 62 Votes on 53 Posts
You should also notify your homeowner's insurance company of the event, I think you'll need them before you get through this.

Once you get things fixed and get past this, you need to be sure your electric system is properly grounded and think about adding some surge protection.
 
  #12  
Old 10-27-13, 07:10 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
insurance

Thanks Casual,
I have tried this in the future and most insurance companies will say an act of God or it is the responsibility of the Utility company
I have never been able to collect from an insurance company for things like this
Thanks anyway. I have gone over the wiring and the outlets and panels and see no burns or cracks
Only thing we lost was the toaster the heater is working as well as TV
Moderator you may close this one up if you wish
Problem resolved and appreciate all the replies .You are welcome to leave open for a few days if you wish
Thanks for all the replies
 
  #13  
Old 10-27-13, 07:29 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,495
Received 62 Votes on 53 Posts
I have tried this in the future and most insurance companies will say an act of God or it is the responsibility of the Utility company
That would leave me to believe that if a storm blew your roof off the insurance company wouldn't pay or if your house caught fire from a lightning strike that your insurance company wouldn't pay. But, it's your house. I'm glad whatever the problem was that it is now fixed.
 
  #14  
Old 10-27-13, 07:48 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Casual Joe,
I know exactly what you are saying. We have a son and daughter in law that had a new home
They had not been in it very long. Late one afternoon it burned to the ground
It took two years and two forensic experts and seeing a judge to get the insurance company to pay off . The insurance company claimed it was because of lightening and even after it was proven Lightening was not present ,they would not listen.
my first thought when they told us is oh no they have some fly by night purchased in the alley insurance company.
Shocked it was a very prominent company
One of our other sons lost several items at their house last year when a utility transformer went bad. Another name brand company and their claim was denied .It is a utility company problem they are the ones you need to seek damages from .
It is not uncommon for insurances companies to use this as a reason fro not paying
I am sure a Tornado falls under a different heading such as a tree falling on your house . Some will not pay if it is your tree your house. Went thru this with a guy I work with
 
  #15  
Old 10-28-13, 08:09 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,495
Received 62 Votes on 53 Posts
One of our other sons lost several items at their house last year when a utility transformer went bad. Another name brand company and their claim was denied .It is a utility company problem they are the ones you need to seek damages from .
This is one I am somewhat familiar with as well. I know of a case where a bad transformer was sending higher than normal voltage out on the secondary, I believe it was something like 142/288 volts. The power company had a claims department and paid for new appliances that were damaged. In another case, a transformer pole blew down in a storm. On examination, the pole was hollow at the base. When the pole fell, it pulled and destroyed the underground 400 amp feeder to a strip mall building. The power companies claims department paid for the repairs.

A whole new thread could be opened to discuss what insurance companies will do to avoid paying a claim.
 
  #16  
Old 10-28-13, 09:25 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
another thread

You are correct ,We have property in different areas around here and under 4 different utility companies
Some will work with you and help with offsetting cost of damage, some will do absolutely nothing
The water companies around here are the same way
 
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
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: