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Old 05-30-2006, 08:06 AM   #1
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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.

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Old 05-30-2006, 09:08 AM   #2
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Home Wiring: Things going boom!


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!


Last edited by IvoryRing; 05-30-2006 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 05-30-2006, 01:26 PM   #3
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Home Wiring: Things going boom!


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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.
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Old 05-30-2006, 06:05 PM   #4
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Home Wiring: Things going boom!


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.
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Old 05-30-2006, 07:53 PM   #5
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Home Wiring: Things going boom!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayzak
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. Do you have fuses or circuit breakers?

Do the lights in the whole house house dim when you run the major appliances?

How many fuses or circuit breakers do you have in the main elctrical box?

Do not put in a higher rated fuse or it may cause a fire.




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,Are you sure that these "switches" are not circuti breakers? A circuit breaker will turn off the circuit if too much electrcity is flowing thru that particular circuit. When the fuses blows or the "switch" is kicked off, what do you do to get power back? 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?

You must contact an electrician to look at the system. You can turn off one circuit at a time and determine what that circuit feeds power to. To check the power at an outlet just use a radio or small light and check each one as you turn off one fuse/"switch" at a time. If you find that one fuse/"switch" is supplying power to more than one major appliance then this will cause the problem.

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.
The electrician may detrmine that it is a simple fix or it may require more work. The electrician may be able to wire up your major appliances so that they are on a circuit that will handle the power demand. Then later when you have more money you could make more improvements to the electrical system.



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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