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Thread: Mountain Electric

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  1. #1
    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Default Mountain Electric

    I have a seasonal use cabin in the mountains of NC and have numerous problems with electrical and electronic devices. My wife jokes that a body must be buried under the house and its ghost is driving us nuts. In three years:

    1. Refrigerator board intermittently beeping. I located the noisemaker, snipped it off. Also the temperature controller stopped working, and stuck itself freezer 0, fridge 33 (perfect). One year later the fridge changed to 40 (not so perfect). Also ice maker worked, then stopped working, now works again.

    2. Brand new “Mr Coffee” coffee maker- kaput.

    3. Pet Smart radio fence. The charger and the unit stopped working.

    4. X10 touch tone controller stopped working.

    5. Plug-in phone (simple streamline unit) stopped working.

    6. Aquastat relay on the boiler broke- short in the circuit board.

    7. LL Bean (plug in) alarm clock stopped working.

    8. Bass unit on Sony stereo stops working occasionally. Slap it on the side to get it going again.

    9. Circuit that powers exterior outlets stopped working. I still have not figured out why.

    Is this normal for a new house or is something odd happening? They did install a new power main from the base of the mountain all the way to a new development close by last year, but stuff is still happening. We alway have (still do) get short power failures about once/ 2 weeks. Last time I checked the voltage at the house was 124.

  2. #2
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    this sounds like a neutral problem

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    DIY Hillbilly Southern Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    this sounds like a neutral problem
    I'm not sure what that means. I built the house three years ago, and my electrical sub was very professional, and seemed very competent (not like my plumber). The circuit board is wired as neat as any I’ve seen.

  4. #4
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    I grew up in the Yadkin Valley of NC. I lived in a little community called Rock Creek about half way between Roaring River and North Wilkesboro.

    I ran around in Elkin most of my Teenage years hanging out around the area where the Waffle House is located at I-77 and 268. I also spent a lot of time in Trap Hill area on the south side of Stone Mountain.

    I attended North Wilkes High School and Mountain View Elementary.

    This is some of the most beautiful country that God ever created.

    With the loss of all those electronics it sounds like you are losing the neutral causing the house to become a series 240 volt circuit instead of parallel 120 volts.

  5. #5
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    I got here as soon as I could, and have been here for 11 years.

    So this could be a bad connection to the neutral bus bar in the panel, or possibly at the service connection at the utility’s transformer, right?

    The former I can check myself next time I’m there, probably in two weeks. I'll check the connection between the main at the breaker panel for tightness. I can also test for continuity across that connection. I can also rig up an extension cord at test between the ground rod at the transformer and the neutral bus in my breaker cabinet. Am I on the right track?

  6. #6

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    In rural areas, there can be all sorts of power outages and voltage surges.

    In addition to having your electric company check for neutral problems, I would suggest getting a "whole house surge protector" which would be installed in your main panel. And then get good quality surge protectors for each outlet where you have something electronic plugged in.

    I live in a rural area and we have all sorts of power problems. (All my clocks are battery operated, I've given up resetting the electronic clocks.) Anyway I have the above surge protection and have not had anything electronic go bad.

    Also a nearby lightning strike can cause these problems. If this was the case, you insurance company may pay for the damage. Lightning is quite weird. I've seen homes where one thing was blown up (fried), but in the next room the electronic gizmos worked just fine! Other times everything in the house is fried.

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