Home Voltage Issue

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Old 03-17-19, 10:21 AM
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Home Voltage Issue

I am hoping someone here can help me with a home electrical issue that I am stumped with.

I have a vacation home on the eastern shore of VA. Mild climate zone 7. We do not spend winters there. It has 200 amp service, with an updated electrical panel. Electrical was updated in the mid 80's. Around Thanksgiving we set the home up for winter. We shut off all breakers except for one 20 amp breaker that had two new 700 watt oil filled heaters in a 8x8 bathroom to maintain 50 degrees to keep the pipes from freezing.

We went down at New Years, and everything was great. No issues. We went down again in the middle of February and the heaters were off. The light in the room would not even turn on.

Through my investigating, I determined the issue effects the whole home. All circuits have the same issue. Under no load they should +/- 120 volts. You can light LED lights, clocks, and small electronics will run without issue. As soon as you plug in an appliance, voltage severely drops. A single 1500 watt heater will drop a circuit to about 20 volts and even an LED light will not turn on. This is the same for every circuit in the home.

No one was at the home between the time things work, and when they didn't. There is no HVAC/Water Heater/Stove/Dryer or other major electrical appliance currently hooked up at the home. Electric lines are underground from the pole. No visible damage can be seen anywhere. There is no pest problem at the home, not even as much as evidence of a single mouse. When all circuits are powered, there is no odors or noises that would point to an issue.

I don't know how to tell if its an issue from the power company, a bad panel, or something I am over looking. I would appreciate any help I could get. I am knowledgeable about the electrical trade, and have updated wiring, wired sub panels, etc. I just am stumped on this one. Thank you!
 
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Old 03-17-19, 10:40 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Did you open the panel and measure the incoming voltages to the main breaker ??
 
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Old 03-17-19, 10:59 AM
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Stupid me, I did not. Thought about it after we left yesterday. I did verify that I have 120v +/- to the individual circuits in the home, but did not think to double check the incoming voltage.
 
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Old 03-17-19, 11:37 AM
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Are you measuring hot to ground or hot to neutral? It makes a difference.
Where are you measuring? receptacle? breaker?

It sounds like you could have a loose connection.
 
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Old 03-17-19, 12:20 PM
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I am checking hot to neutral. The home does have an addition put on in the 70's. Those circuits are not grounded, so for consistency I use the hot to neutral. I have checked and tightened every connection in the panel.

I have owned the home for two years, and never had any issues before, and have ran heavy electrical loads (5 air conditioners at once etc).
 
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Old 03-17-19, 01:15 PM
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At the panel...... do you have 240v across the legs and 120v from either leg to ground/neutral ?
Even though your circuits aren't grounded...... the panel should be.
 
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Old 03-17-19, 03:41 PM
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If the one 20A breaker and the one main breaker in the panel were not tripped. there is a loose connection on (s) on the 3 wires from the utility pole to your panel. Measure as PJmax indicated. If the measured voltage is less than the 120/240, call your utility company to check wire connections from pole to meter. While they are there, ask them to check the tightness of the wires from the meter to your panel
 
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Old 03-30-19, 07:03 PM
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I once again ask for your help. I went back to work on this issue again today, and here is what I found. I appreciate any help that you can provide:

I have between 240-250 volts coming into the panel. I have 120-125 on each circuit.

I checked the main wires into the panel. All were tight and without corrosion.

I bought a new grounding rod, sanded the ground wire, clamped it to the new rod, then jumped it to the old rod. I do not feel it is a grounding issue after hooking up the second rod. It made no difference.

I pulled all breakers from the panel except for one and it made no difference, regardless of which single breaker left in.

With only LED lights on, the circuits will stay at 120v. Under load they lose voltage. I have a Dewalt corded drill that pulls 1.2 amps. When I plug the drill into a circuit and turn it on the voltage drops to 60v, however the other circuits on the panel jump to 185v. The difference is greater if I plug something in that draws a higher amperage.
 
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Old 03-30-19, 07:53 PM
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When I plug the drill into a circuit and turn it on the voltage drops to 60v, however the other circuits on the panel jump to 185v.
Absolutely you have a loose neutral. This is the classic symptom of a loose neutral.

If you want an explanation of a loose neutral. Here is a short video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=HsSlQnGCvdg
 
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Old 03-31-19, 07:53 AM
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You need to call power company ASAP. Appears to me you have a bad service neutral connection.
 
 

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