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kahuna44 02-28-2007 06:56 AM

Am I Crazy? AC Current Less than 110
Not sure if I am loosing my mind or not - a few lights seem dimmer than usual, florescent lights definitely dimmed and some flickering. The microwave (not only cooks slower but sounds quieter too) and toaster ovens seem to be operating at half power. I wouldn't think that lights or appliances would work at all if current was not correct - so I decided to check the current with a multi-meter - the AC is around 102 - 105 - is this OK? I thought it would normally be around 110 - 112. Is the low current reading something to be concerned with and could it cause lights and appliances not to operate properly?

Note that other electical devices (such as the computer and refridgerator) seem to be fine. Perhaps these light and appliance failures are just coincidental -

thanks in advance for any input on this -

rjniles 02-28-2007 07:49 AM

I assume you mean you measured the voltage, not the current. Normal votage should be in the 115 to 130 range. Sound like you have a problem. Check a few more locations (at outlets) to see if both sides of your service are in the same range. You may find some are 120+ volts and some are much lower. Usually this will be a utility problem, transformer or bad connection. Call them and have them test your service. (usually free, and not so if you call an electrician (sorry guys)).

kahuna44 02-28-2007 08:01 AM

Thanks for correcting me - voltage not current. As suggested I have tested several other outlets. The highest reading that I get is 110 and the lowest is 102. It seems that the outlets under a load are the ones with the lower readings - is this typical? (For example, the outlet for the microwave read 109 prior to operating the microwave and then 105 when the oven was on. The toaster oven is also on the same circuit and when I turned that on the voltage dropped to 102.) (By the way, I know it is not a good idea to have both of these appliances on the same circuit - but no other good options in our small kitchen. They have operated OK for the 8 years that we have been in the house.)

So, in your opinion is the voltage unusally low and could it be causing the situation that I am experiencing? Also should I contact the utility co to have them check it out?

Thanks again for your helpful information -

rjniles 02-28-2007 09:12 AM

Your voltages are definately low, I would call the electric utility.

Outlets under load can have a slightly lower voltage but not what you are reading.

Stubbie 02-28-2007 12:10 PM

It sounds like you have a problem with one leg of your incoming service. 120 volts on some and lower on others. This is most likely a power company problem as previously mentioned. Dim lights or dimming and brightning lights can indicate a problem with your service neutral also. This is a serious issue. So call your power company and have them check the incoming power connections. They are responsible up to your meter in most areas. They might also check further for you.


rakes9720 02-28-2007 01:01 PM

I have noticed this too -- microwave takes for ever to cook, fluorescent lights dont work, rooms are dark at night. I measured the voltage and it was around 112, but it only happens durning the hottest days of the summer when everyone is using the air conditioning. At other times the voltage is 125.
Sounds like you have an outside transformer problem too, only worse. Using a microwave and a toaster shoud not drop the voltage 7 volts, unless the transformer is dying.

Piney 02-28-2007 05:44 PM


I ran into a similar problem out at the farm house. Low voltage on one leg of my 220 to the window AC and dim lights. I called the electric co. They came out-- checked and found that they had a bad crimp connection on one leg of their wiring from the pole.

They also replaced the old woodpeckered pole and put in a new transformer.:yes:

Call the electric co. soon-- low voltages can be damaging to some appliances.

kahuna44 02-28-2007 07:54 PM

Thanks for all the great input and advice. The power company came out and renewed my connection and declared the issue resolved. Inside the house I did not see any improvement. They said voltage was fine up to the meter. Then a lineman shows up again tonight and says other people have reported a problem too. He climbs the pole but everything checks out OK. He actually is getting 118 v at the pole and I still only get about 109 v at the best inside the house. (By the way the distance from the pole to the meter/house is only about 100')

Anyway, they will be checking for problems at the sub station.

Thanks again for all the great comments - they have been both informative and helpful.

RobertWilber 03-02-2007 10:25 AM

sounds like an open neutral problem
I have a lot about that at my website FAQ page
more on my weblog... [link on my home page]
You need an electrician

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