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Thread: electrical service anamoly

  1. #1
    Radon Contractor and Water Treatment 99k's Avatar
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    Default electrical service anamoly

    Last night I was awakened out of a deep sleep to three CO detectors (plug-in type) all blasting at the same time on two levels of our house. A very ominous sign ... It then became very apparent that something happened to our electrical supply since any lights turned on in the home glowed faintly (as if on a dimmer). Electronic thermostats and displays started flickering ... at that point I raced to the basement and throw the main in attempt to protect the house. At first I thought I may have lost a leg but then I would think some circuits would work and others wouldn't. It is -5F outside so it didn't take long for the home to turn into an icebox. Three hours later the utility company hadn't yet diagnosed the probrem, however, I decided to turn the breaker back on and it is back to normal? Any theories from the Electricians please?

  2. #2
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Was it windy out? You could have a splice in the neutral and is freezing and pulling apart. Had that happen to me a few years ago, luckily it was only a hot leg, so just half the house worked. CL&Ps problem also.
    Last edited by Chris75; 01-17-2009 at 06:08 AM.

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    What brand is the main panel...sounds like possibly a lose neutral at the mast head connection if you have one or somewhere else...

    Was it windy?

    Is the panel Federal Pacific?

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    Radon Contractor and Water Treatment 99k's Avatar
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    I don't believe it was windy last night. We have a GE panel (heard bad things about the federal pacific though). I couple of years ago NE Utilities had redone the lugs at our transformer and mast because of a intermittent dimming of light (which I forgot about). This time though it was dimmed for at least five minutes straight before I realized It may damage motors etc and I threw the main.

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    Radon Contractor and Water Treatment 99k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris75 View Post
    Was it windy out? You could have a splice in the neutral and is freezing and pulling apart. Had that happen to me a few years ago, luckily it was only a hot leg, so just half the house worked. CL&Ps problem also.
    Just curious, if one leg works and the other doesn't, could a 220V motor such as the well pump operate or be damaged?

  6. #6
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99k View Post
    Just curious, if one leg works and the other doesn't, could a 220V motor such as the well pump operate or be damaged?
    nope, just wont work... You should really call an electrician to check things out just to be safe, CL&P could easily miss something, plus if the problem is on the inside its your problem anyways...

    The only time damage occurs is when you loose a neutral connection.

  7. #7
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99k View Post
    since any lights turned on in the home glowed faintly (as if on a dimmer).
    124v on one side of the house and 116v on the other side means 4v across the (bad) neutral connection.

  8. #8

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    Sometimes it isn't on your side...maybe poco lines arced?

    Since you have a history of it happening before, I would have any main splices checked.
    rgsgww

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    Radon Contractor and Water Treatment 99k's Avatar
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    I'm trying to get an answer to what the root cause was but my wife said there were numerous utility trucks at the bottom of our street and another mile up the road and so I suspect something happen to the lines... thanks for the feedback.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 99k View Post
    I'm trying to get an answer to what the root cause was but my wife said there were numerous utility trucks at the bottom of our street and another mile up the road and so I suspect something happen to the lines... thanks for the feedback.
    Probably is...around here we always get outages. Lights dim and alarm system acts up all the time.
    rgsgww

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member
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    First thing I would do in a case like yours is to check with neighbours.
    Also, I look out at the street lamps.

    FW

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    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    Are you positive there was no carbon monoxide? I know the whole house starting bugging out, but if the CO alarms went off I would still check it out on the off chance that both problems occurred at the same time.(electrical problem AND Carbon Monoxide leak). Probably chances are close to nil, but better safe than sorry.
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

  13. #13
    Radon Contractor and Water Treatment 99k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
    First thing I would do in a case like yours is to check with neighbours.
    Also, I look out at the street lamps.

    FW
    We're in a rural area - no street lamps and it was in the middle of the night so everyone's house was dark.

  14. #14
    Radon Contractor and Water Treatment 99k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GabeS View Post
    Are you positive there was no carbon monoxide? I know the whole house starting bugging out, but if the CO alarms went off I would still check it out on the off chance that both problems occurred at the same time.(electrical problem AND Carbon Monoxide leak). Probably chances are close to nil, but better safe than sorry.
    Yes I'm positive ... in fact I cleaned the furnace and stack several days before. Once the power was back on, all CO detectors went back to 000.

  15. #15
    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    Just checking.

    Also, carbon monoxide can be produced in several ways. One being not enough combustion air in the heater room causing incomplete combustion which produces CO.
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

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