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Old 08-23-2010, 09:35 PM   #1
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Appliances dying - Electrical Wiring Issue?


I'm new to the forum and hope that someone can help us. We moved in to a home that we purchased last December, that was built in the 60's. Over the past few months, several appliances and small electronics have just "burned-out" or stopped working:
Toaster overn
Foreman-style grill
Air purifier seems to turn itself off sporadically (safety circuit?)

The first couple of failures I chalked up to normal wear and tear. But after multiple items have failed within such a short time, I've been convinced that it's more than a coincidence.

The kitchen was slightly updated including what looks like newer wiring/circuits. I have no idea if the work was done by licensed electrician, or if the previous owner did it himself.

We haven't done much to the electrical in the place, other than we swapped out a few outlets and switches with new ones that weren't painted shut.

Could something we have done lead to prematurely burning out our small electronics? We would hate to ruin our new dishwasher, new fridge and new in-wall AC unit if there is something wrong with the overall wiring. What can I test for with my DMM? I measure voltage at the outlets in the kitchen and they read 120 V +/- 3V.

Thanks for any help you can contribute!


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Old 08-23-2010, 10:00 PM   #2
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Where are you located ?


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Old 08-24-2010, 07:27 AM   #3
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The 120V reading of course is normal but it may change as the load on the two buss bars change. We've had several threads related to a loose neutral and this may be another. Post your location so we know something about your power system.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:34 AM   #4
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it's possible your house experienced a transient power surge, coming down the power lines, or lightning. they can cause immediate failure or latent failure on any electricall device. check with your power company for any info they have, and maybe your insurance company.

maybe someones daughter hit a utility pole with the family minivan (forunately not injured) and caused a situation like this to happen. don't ask how i know.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:02 AM   #5
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You may want to measure the voltage frequently over a period of at least a week. Maybe even leave a voltmeter connected continuously at one receptacle, switch it around every day or so. If you see a significant departure from 115 volts, that would be a major problem.

Do you have any incandescent lights? They may be unusually dim or bright and also vary in brightness (not just momentary dimming) during the day which also reveals problems in the electrical system.

Coffee makers, hair dryers, toaster ovens, and grills are unlikely to fail unless there is a significant and prolonged voltage over 115. (Except for sophisticate models with electronics inside)
The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 08-24-2010 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 08-24-2010, 10:17 AM   #6
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I'm located in Morris County, NJ.

I will follow up with the utility company to see if they can do any testing on our power lines.


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