Home Wiring: Things going boom!
Here's my problem. Whenever the wife and I run any major appliance in our house, the lights dim, and the UPS's (uninterrupted power supply) on my PC's go nuts. This includes using the microwave, the refrigerator kicking on, doing the laundry, washing the dishes. If we run any combination of two appliances at once, we risk blowing a fuse.
Last night was the last straw. We had to do laundry, so we started a load, and the lights were pulsing as they always do. The 400W UPS on my computer started beeping constantly, so I started to shut down my computer before something exploded. I didn't act fast enough, and I heard a popping sound and smelled burning electronics coming from my UPS. It's now toast.
I know little to nothing about the wiring of a house. What little I do know is that our home has the lesser of the two common Amp standards, as it's about 60 years old. The fuse box is made from switches, not actual fuses. Also, the man who lived there before us claimed to be an electrician, but I think he must have been a hack, as it seems all the major appliances are on the same circuit throughout the house.
My questions are:
1. Is there anything we can do, short term, to reduce the ridiculousness of the situation?
2. Would it be advisable to have an electrician re-wire the entire house? We don't have much money, so I'd like to know how much we are talking about here.
You'll hear from experienced electricians on here that will give you some info... but it seems to me that you've got a loose (missing/cut/disconnected) neutral. The reason your UPSes are going nutty is that they are being fed 240V when you turn your electric stove or electric dryer on. Your situation is not just ridiculous, it is dangerous.
1.) There is no 'quickie' fix to this. There is the right fix, but that's about it. Diagnosing the exact spot where the fix needs to be applied will take time. Fixing the problem will take almost no time at all (it is very likely the 'fix' will be 'tighten this screw'... the hard part is knowing which one).
2.) Too early to know for sure if you need your house rewired - but depending on a number of factors, it might be wise. The thing you should do, for both #1 and #2, is call an electrician to come out and give you an evaluation of the situation. As for 'cost to fully rewire', it won't be cheap. Cheaper than your house burning down with a loved one stuck inside? Definitely!
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On a 60 year old home, just tightening connections may not be enough. The POCO's feed also might not be sized for modern appliance demand. Corrosion is a problem with older services.
Call someone with the knowledge to do the job right and safe, thats what your paying for not just the work done. ;)
MAS2006, got it. CALL an electrician to find out what the problem is. This doesn't sound safe to me at all. Call them before your UPS seems like small pototes.
How many amps do you have at the main box? If you look at your utility meter then that should tell you the amps. It could be 60,100,125,150,200...
It sounds like it may be 60 amps at the main panel/meter box.
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