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Old 10-25-2012, 04:55 AM   #1
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we are having the strangest problem with the distribution in the house. for no apparent reason, the power in the garage, master bedroom, stove and refrigerator goes out. the power will only go back on, check this... when we turn on the right front burner to the stove. this started about three weeks ago and is getting progressively more frequent.

I am off to get new breakers for the stove and fridge after work this evening. already replaced the breakers for the garage and bedrooms. any thoughts? or is it time to replace appliances or the distribution panel?

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Old 10-25-2012, 05:28 AM   #2
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Your breakers are fine, so are your appliances. It's a loose neutral. A very destructive problem. Turn off the power to the house. Check each neutral. Snug up the copper ones. For aluminum ones, the wire may need to be wire brushed, shiney. Then reapply Noalox and torque to specs. Do not work any hot wires, neutrals can bite.

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Old 10-25-2012, 05:39 AM   #3
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Thank you Glennsparky,

I tightened all the neutrals when this first happened, however, it's probably a good idea to do a full PM on the panel... looks like I have a project for this weekend.

thanks again.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:54 AM   #4
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I don't think its a loose neutral at all. I think you have one leg of the service intermittently going out. The loose connection could be at a the main breaker, a sub main, the meter socket, the connection to house wiring, or before the POCO's connections to house wiring. I would not advise you to play with these connections other than checking a breaker for a subpanel. All the other connections will remain live even when the main breaker is turned off.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:03 AM   #5
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I agree with K. What brand/manufacturer of panel do you have? Some have been known to have major issues like this.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:19 AM   #6
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The panel is an Arrow/Hart, circa 1976. it takes Eaton/CH breakers. thanks for the tips. sounds like I had better take off the DIY hat and call an electrician if its more than a loose neutral...

always pays to ask questions... and know your limitations...
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:27 AM   #7
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hey, call POCO. tell them you have intermittant power on one leg and want the connections checked at the pole, and weather head. they may pull the meter and check there also. if they are good, then call an electrician. (poco should be free)

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Old 10-25-2012, 09:34 AM   #8
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I too would agree with the lost hot leg backfeeding through the other leg.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:13 PM   #9
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well the POCO was out and pulled the meter and gave an all clear. so tonight I'll check the neutrals and see what happens. thanks all
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennsparky;1037552[B
]It's a loose neutral[/B].

Hmm...doesn't sound like a loose neutral...sounds like the POCO has a problem with one of the service feeders. Years ago I would lose 1/2 the power in my home, intermittently....usually when it was windy. Turns out one of the hots coming from the utility pole would open up under certain conditions. The POCO replaced the wire and all is (was) well.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:31 PM   #11
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I am almost certain that it is on the POCO side of things. I don't know for sure, but don't think that the tech even put a Screw driver to the lugs. I am not an electrician, but have been installing and designing telecom for almost 30 years and know that you don't find an intermittent problem in five minutes... unless the local POCO has some whizz bang monitor on the line that I don't know about.

anyway, I'll take the next steps and check a few more connections and see what I find. if they are like most utilities, I'll have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that its not inside before the POCO will accept any responsibility. I figure after 36 years a bit of PM won't hurt. and I've been wanting to redo the ground/neutral bus (residential single panel) for a while. it's a crowded mess.

the service is a direct buried line from the transformer to the meter box, and I'm certain the POCO is hesitant to okay trenching in a new feeder. after all, we've only been a loyal customer for 17 years now...
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:32 PM   #12
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The problem is unlikely to be in the underground cable itself, it's much more likely to be with a connection somewhere. Have you tried flipping the main breaker off and on a few times? The loose connection may be inside. Is there any evidence of heating near any of the connections?
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:45 PM   #13
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mpoulton, I have not cycled the main, but plan to this weekend, we did turn it off and on once to see if it fixed the problem. I have a call into an electrician to get a price to replace the main. I have checked the panel and we don't have any breakers that are even remotely warm. I will probably pull the stove out this evening and check that connection...
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:17 PM   #14
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don't hesitate to call poco a second time, or even a third time. trbl men can miss things. did they go up the pole? or is the transformer pad mounted on the ground? if on the ground was it an underground or an overhead crew? (overhead would be a bucket truck and an underground most likely not a bucket truck) Is there a handhold between the meter and the pad mount if there is one? If so was it checked?

are any of your neighbors having a problem?

I know there a lot of question to ask, but intermittant problems are the hardest to track down in any situation.

finally if it is an underground problem between the house and the hand hold it is problibly on your dime.

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Old 10-25-2012, 07:53 PM   #15
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We had a storm the other year. Buddy had half power. After the 3 rd time poco said it wasnt them I found where the drop was damaged.

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