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Old 10-13-2010, 06:02 PM   #1
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a loose connection


Quick question, if there is a loose neutral or power on a circuit, and it is sparking, would that affect the whole house, or just the circuit it is on?

I'm having dimming issues with the whole house.. it is very random. Sometimes you plug in a vacuum, and all the house lights, fans, etc.. go dim or lower in power, and it stays like that for a second or two.. then it may power up all the way and be fine..

or..

It'll power down.. maybe get up to full power then power down again... the motor running lower than usual but running the whole time and sometimes going to full power but not staying there..

sometimes this is because we have something high powered running like a microwave, which, my microwave is on its own circuit.. but the whole house is affected

what can cause this? I'm completely baffled, normally I can figure things out but this is a tough one

with nothing changed, everything worked fine the last two days.. I don't get it, my neighbors aren't having any problems, I thought maybe it was the transformer or something, it goes so low sometimes my UPS on the computer kicks off like crazy trying to keep voltage regulated, I'm nervous I'm going to fry my TV

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Old 10-13-2010, 06:16 PM   #2
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a loose connection


That sounds like a loose neutral. This may be in your panel or with the power company equipment. Call the power company ASAP. They are available 24/7 and this should be a free call.

If they say the problem is in your panel it is time to call an electrician.

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Old 10-13-2010, 06:31 PM   #3
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a loose connection


I have an appointment for Monday for the power company, should I ask them to come sooner?
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:48 PM   #4
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a loose connection


lets just say it isn't the power companies problem, and it is on my side of the fence, what are some things I can look for?

If one neutral to a light is loose, and arcing, can that affect the whole house? Do I need to undo all the lights and outlets in the house to check them?

I would think that if there is a loose neutral in a circuit or something similar, that it would only affect that circuit, am I right?
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:29 PM   #5
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a loose connection


A single loose neutral will only affect one or two circuits. A loose neutral in the panel or meter will affect the whole house.

The loose neutral can cause voltage swings, either high or low, that can damage anything plugged into the circuit.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:37 PM   #6
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a loose connection


yeah, my microwave is on its own circuit.. if I plug my shop vac into 3 different circuits, start it, then start my microwave, I get a decrease in voltage every time on each different circuit..

this has to be the external neutral
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:55 PM   #7
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a loose connection


Have them come out ASAP.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:26 PM   #8
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a loose connection


You should also check the power lines that come in from the transformer for a loose connection too.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:58 AM   #9
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a loose connection


Do you have any incandescent (old style light bulb) lights? Do any of them get unusually bright during the dimming episodes?

Or you can use a voltmeter and check for voltage going higher on some circuits at the same time voltage is going lower on other circuits.

A loose neutral almost always shows up with lights going brighter although the effect may be less noticeable with fluorescents including compact fluorescnets.

Feel around the breakers in your panel (with all the cover plates still in place. A breaker that is warm is a possible sign of trouble and a loose connection in the panel can damage the panel if allowed to remain for a long time.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-15-2010 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:27 PM   #10
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a loose connection


it doesn't seem to get brighter, I'm going to have to check, it just seems to get dim and then back to normal and dim again..

the power company is coming on Monday

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