dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
9174
share rss forum feed


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Electrical issue question

Ok this has been happening randomly lately.

suddenly half the house is without power, no breakers are tripped and the stove for instance has its clock flickering (as though maybe the voltage is to low)

Someone is going to come check it out soon but I have a feeling that one of the 2 phases is some how dropping below the proper voltage. (I haven't taken a meter to it when its occurred though) but just due to it being half the house I think it might be a risk to the AC units.

I know the breaker box isn't to code atm so I've already bought a new one that we're working on getting a quote for it to be installed.



davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none

call the power company NOW. that could be that the neutral has failed, when you get a big load on one leg(not phase) it can go to near zero volts while the other leg shoots up to 240 volts. this can cause a fire. The POCO will check their feed for free, and it is usually on their end.

Since you say you have a hosed up panel, you still need to get a sparky in to check that. but get POCO there this morning, unless you want to risk not having a "there" this afternoon.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

The odd thing is it happens when nothing much is happening.

like 1am

We called the power company and they said it'd be $50 just for them to come out and more if they had to fix something on our side.

A sparky will be there Sunday.

Is the charge for coming out something that's odd?



Msradell
P.E.
Premium
join:2008-12-25
Louisville, KY

said by DarkLogix:

Is the charge for coming out something that's odd?

I've never heard of that before. Because of the safety issues involved I've always seen them come out to investigate for free. Of course any problem on their side they were repair for nothing but I've never even heard of them fixing anything on the customer side because of liability concerns.


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to DarkLogix

odd? no
F'ed Up: yes



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to Msradell

Well with the new breaker box we'll need them at some point to upgrade the service from 125a to 200a so any guess of what they'll charge to upgrade the wires from the pole to the house? (they're underground)


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

Call the power company now. There's a good chance the problem is on their end. I've seen it happen in my old neighborhood - Bad underground drop. Power company ran a new drop above ground until they could get a crew out to dig up the ground.



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

They want us to pay just for them to come out and look at it.

I'll try again to see if they'll come out but they claimed no one else was having an issue.



fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Pay the $50. It's peanuts compared to your house burning down.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to DarkLogix

$50 is a lot cheaper than having your house burn down.



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to DarkLogix



Are they that stupid? Of course no one else is having an issue, since no one else shares your drop and neutral... Not legally at least! What did you tell them exactly? It sounds like they aren't getting the full picture of what the problem is. And, what sparky did you get that's coming out on a Sunday? An actual licensed variety or some "guy that does electric"?



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Yes a licensed one, he goes to my church.
He said he'd come over after church.


nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ
reply to DarkLogix

said by DarkLogix:

The odd thing is it happens when nothing much is happening.

like 1am

We called the power company and they said it'd be $50 just for them to come out and more if they had to fix something on our side.

A sparky will be there Sunday.

Is the charge for coming out something that's odd?

At least around here they do not fix anything on the customer side. Plus if stated correctly no charge to check their wiring even if problem turns out to be the customers issue. It really doesn't take that long to check to the box.
With half the house flickering that is more than say a one breaker issue unless it is the main breaker or something in the panel. Really they should come to check for free with something like that. Not like you said well when I plug in a space heater and a hair dryer my breaker trips can you come and check.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Well half the house is dark for the most part. (half is an estimate, I didn't test every light just ones in a few different rooms that I know are on different breakers.)

the lights all go out and only the clock on the stove flickers.

I know its across multiple breakers because of the rooms effected.

AFAIK we only get the 2 hots from them and the neutral is tied to ground.



Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1
reply to DarkLogix

Subscribe, hope you find out about this soon!

That's crazy they want to charge.. So what happens when they find it's on the power company's end? Charge more for that too??



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

said by Subaru:

Subscribe, hope you find out about this soon!

That's crazy they want to charge.. So what happens when they find it's on the power company's end? Charge more for that too??

Maybe

BTW any guesstimates as to the cost it'll be for the breaker box to be replaced?

I've already bought the new box and some breakers for it, though it'll likely need a few more as I didn't count the number of shared breakers that need correcting. (but I made sure the box supports more than enough to allow it to be upto code.)


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Subaru

said by Subaru:

Subscribe, hope you find out about this soon!

That's crazy they want to charge.. So what happens when they find it's on the power company's end? Charge more for that too??

There are some very strange practices by utilities in some states like charging, not being responsible for the service up to and including the meter and base. I guess here they've been around longer and have more experience and commitment to the customers.


pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3
reply to DarkLogix

Did you call the actual electric utility company -- the one who's name is on your bill -- and tell them there's a problem? The situation you describe sounds like either one leg of your service or possibly the neutral has become open. There should be no charge for them to come out and investigate, and it should be a priority service call. It almost seems as though you're calling a repair service and not the utility company.

said by DarkLogix:

AFAIK we only get the 2 hots from them and the neutral is tied to ground.

This is highly unlikely unless you live in an extremely remote area.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

said by pike:

said by DarkLogix:

AFAIK we only get the 2 hots from them and the neutral is tied to ground.

This is highly unlikely unless you live in an extremely remote area.

No I live in town.

The power pole is actually in the back yard of the neighbor behind and to the side 1.

But there's only 2 thick gauge wires coming from the meter to the breaker box.

It was build around 1985 and I wouldn't put it past the builders to have done it wrong.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink
reply to DarkLogix

I had this problem about four months ago. I lost one phase permanently. Any appliance connected to the open phase did not work. When the electric company lineman dug at the location of the break he found a splice that had melted open. One thing, the problem seemed benign until I noticed that the digital readout on a UPS that was plugged into an outlet connected to the open phase showed 40 Volts. I finally figured out that when any 240 Volt appliance was attempting to draw current it connected the working phase to the open phase. For example if the Water Heater turned on the open phase would be connected to the working phase in series with the resistance of the water heater element. The lineman repaired the splice and things were back to normal. No charge.



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

If it happens again before its fixed I'll take a look at my UPS'es voltage reading during the issue.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

Do you have an electric range? If so, when the problem occurs, try to use your range. If it doesn't heat up, or doesn't heat as much as it should, then it sounds like you have a loose leg (One of the two hots you mentionned).

Either it's loose in your panel, or at the drop (As others have said).

Whatever it is, you shouldn't try to fix it yourself. You can try to narrow down the problem as I suggested above, only to avoid having the POCO come in and not find the problem because they don't know what to check. If you find out it's a loose leg, tell them to look for that.



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

1 edit

Its a gas range.
I'm going to try to get the electric company to come out Saturday to see if they can find anything.

Saturday because its already Friday and I can't really be at home waiting for them.

And ya no way am I going to try fixing it myself, I know the panel isn't to code and see that as something that needs to be fixed (been meaning to do that for some time)

The most I'd do is if it were just one circuit and looked to be another failed backstab I'd replace the outlet. more than that and I'll wait on a pro.



AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

You should flip all your double breakers, leave them off until tomorrow.
--
--Standard disclaimers apply.--



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

said by AVD:

You should flip all your double breakers, leave them off until tomorrow.

TX + Summer = Not gonna go without AC

there's only 2 (other than the main), AC units and laundry room (ie drier)

And we'll just not use the drier for now.

AC though I wouldn't be able to sleep, though at the same time if that 18seer 3ton unit gets damaged I'll be ticked off (just bought it last year, Outside and inside units) (I'll look up the warranty just in case)

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to Mr Matt

said by Mr Matt:

For example if the Water Heater turned on, the open phase would be connected to the working phase

Yup. See diagram above. If the OP turns on his water heater (when the heating element is on), he might notice the lights which were out will get brighter. That's exactly what happened when one of the underground hot lines went bad where I used to live.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Gas hot water.

the only things in the house that use both legs are the AC units and the drier.

Gas stove, gas oven, gas hot water.

but there's a 3ton 18 seer unit and a 1ton split-mini.

The split-mini was most likely running when it last happened and only sign of power (in any of the dark rooms) was the flickering of the stove's clock.

the light rooms were fine.



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Well they sent someone out today to look at it.

They said everything on their side looked fine, we'll add $50 to your bill for coming out.

As the issue is intermitent I think it could still be on them though.


nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ

said by DarkLogix:

Well they sent someone out today to look at it.

They said everything on their side looked fine, we'll add $50 to your bill for coming out.

As the issue is intermitent I think it could still be on them though.

So it is intermittent. They keep sending out people when it is not happening. It happens and house burns down and fault is on their side. Wonder if they would refuse your bill.
There are truly things that are intermittant so why should they bill just because it is not happening now. Doesn't prove where the fault lies just that it is not happening now.
It is not as if you said it is one circuit in the house or one light switch or a plug.
It is implying you are wasting their time with a safety issue. Did they test the circuit under load? When does this usually happen, any time of day under load no load etc.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

Do you have an underground drop or an aerial drop? If you have an aerial drop the clowns from the power company should have climbed the pole and wiggled the splices between your drop and the leads from the transformer. They should have also checked the connections at the weather head on your service mast. If there was a loose connection sparks would have flown out of the bad connection. If the power company gives you a hard time about the service charge contact you local public service commission and file a complaint.