Voltage Drop in the Entire House?


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Old 02-18-15, 06:04 AM
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Voltage Drop in the Entire House?

I'm between a rock and a hard place....

Doing big renovation and decided to run new electrical as well. Pulling Romex is within my comfort zone but I decided to upgrade my service to 200A and installing a new panel is not something I have any clue about so I brought in a buddy that works at an electric company to help. He seems competent enough at connecting everything but he's not the brightest bulb if you know what I mean. So here is my issue:

1.) We ran all new Romex and pulled the lines to the panel over the course of two weeks while renovating other parts of the house.
2.) We left two or three outlets working off the old panel and they worked great until Sunday morning when non of the power tools seemed to be getting enough power. All outlets at different parts of the property experienced saws not spinning enough to cut even laminate flooring which suggests a severe voltage drop to me.
3.) I connected to a neighbors plug, ran an extension cord and have been working off of that with no issues all week.
4.) We switched all the lines over to the new panel figuring it was the main breaker on the old panel causing problems. And......same thing. Low power at all outlets on the new panel with the new Romex.

We are stumped and looking for some advice before calling out an electrician or the power company, which could cause some issues. On the old panel we tried turning everything off all breakers except one and connecting an outlet to that one and same thing. Now the new panel is doing it too. Is the logical conclusion the power companies transformers? That just seems EXTREMELY coincidental to me that we are working on electrical and this happens. Plus the neighbors obviously have great power. Could something my buddy did in the house wiring wise cause this? Even with breakers all off, what could cause this potentially? Thanks for any help....
 
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Old 02-18-15, 06:10 AM
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I would check for proper voltage before and after the main breaker. Test with a load on the circuits.
 
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Old 02-18-15, 08:06 AM
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calling out an electrician or the power company, which could cause some issues.
So, does this mean there was no permit pulled?
 
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Old 02-18-15, 12:46 PM
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So, does this mean there was no permit pulled?
That would be my guess.

Right out of college I worked for an electric utility. We had about 1,500 employees total and most of them were NOT electricians. We had administrators, office workers, steel workers, painters, machinists, steam engineers, appliance repairmen, auto mechanics and many other classifications. Even among the "electricians" they were sorted into several different categories, most of which would have no reason to understand residential wiring techniques. So just because someone works for an electric utility, is no reason to think that he or she is competent in residential wiring.
 
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Old 02-18-15, 02:59 PM
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Problem was with the city. I have a really long run from my house to their pole through some trees and I didn't see anything abnormal but the power guy saw about a 3 inch break in the neutral line right away. Asssumes a squirrel chewed it and it finally gave.

So that was the answer on this one. Broken neutral on main line from the power company getting fixed as we speak.

Thanks again!!
 

Last edited by stickshift; 02-18-15 at 03:31 PM. Reason: Removed inappropriate remarks
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Old 02-18-15, 03:09 PM
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PCBoss suggested checking the voltage at service entry. That would have given you your answer as to why low voltage if you would have measured it.

Also if you had a permit, the power company would have checked lines when reconnecting.

Loss of neutral is very dangerous.
 
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Old 02-18-15, 03:10 PM
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Well, your choice. Since most of our Pro's actually have jobs as well, you probably would have gotten plenty of replies in a few more hours.

Many places won't allow unlicensed people to do work like panel replacements, thats why we asked.

Very strange that this occurred just after the panel change. And your description does not match the normal symptoms of a bad neutral.

Not that you'll read this anyway, of course.

Good luck with the rest of the job.
 
 

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