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Old 09-09-2015, 02:39 PM   #1
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Got 109v, is that acceptable?


Since an outage a couple weeks ago, I have been watching my voltage at a box 1' away from the panel with nothing else on it. It varies from 115v to 119v; seems to follow the temperature, so I presume it is due to air conditioners. Saturday it got down to 109v and that seems excessively low.

Today at 11am it measured 116v with nothing on in the house. I turned the AC on and it went down to 115v. I turned my cyclone and jointer on (about the only other heavy loads in the house) and it went down to 114v. That leads me to think that had I turned the AC off on Saturday it would have shown 110v delivered to the house. It isn't it supposed to be 114-126v?

So, do I have a legitimate complaint at the power company? Seems to me that if they cranked my transformer up a bit I could get 115-124v instead of 110-119v.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:55 PM   #2
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There have been "rolling brownouts" in parts of the country for years. Check it out and see what voltages they dropped to while your waiting for a more informational answer.
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Old 09-09-2015, 03:14 PM   #3
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The higher the demand on the grid (i.e. more air conditioning), the lower the voltage will be, even if you're not using anything in your own home. The power companies can legally drop the voltage 10% below nominal and still be considered giving you a satisfactory power source.
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:01 PM   #4
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What was the voltage on the other leg of the service. If it tracks then no problem. However if it goes up when this one goes down, then you an issue with your neutral connection.
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller View Post
Since an outage a couple weeks ago, I have been watching my voltage at a box 1' away from the panel with nothing else on it. It varies from 115v to 119v; seems to follow the temperature, so I presume it is due to air conditioners. Saturday it got down to 109v and that seems excessively low.

Today at 11am it measured 116v with nothing on in the house. I turned the AC on and it went down to 115v. I turned my cyclone and jointer on (about the only other heavy loads in the house) and it went down to 114v. That leads me to think that had I turned the AC off on Saturday it would have shown 110v delivered to the house. It isn't it supposed to be 114-126v?

So, do I have a legitimate complaint at the power company? Seems to me that if they cranked my transformer up a bit I could get 115-124v instead of 110-119v.
Normal voltage is considered to be 120v.
It can vary by 10% this is considered to be normal
so your voltage is within acceptable limits
and under most cases will be satisfactory for most appliances.
you can ask them to check it if you wish
but they are not oblidged to do so.
but ask nicely and they may.
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller View Post

So, do I have a legitimate complaint at the power company? Seems to me that if they cranked my transformer up a bit I could get 115-124v instead of 110-119v.
You have a legitimate question for the power company. Call them and ask them about brownouts.

You could have issues within your house causing this as well, at least based on the information provided.
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharon View Post
The power companies can legally drop the voltage 10% below nominal and still be considered giving you a satisfactory power source.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
Normal voltage is considered to be 120v.
It can vary by 10% this is considered to be normal
so your voltage is within acceptable limits
.
actually it is based on the particular state. Here is Indiana's:

Quote:
Sec. 20. Standard Voltage and Permissible Voltage Variation. (A) Each public utility shall adopt a standard nominal service
voltage, or standard nominal service voltages, as may be required by its distribution system for its entire constant voltage service,
or for each of the several districts into which the systems may be divided, and shall file with the commission a statement as to the
standard nominal voltages adopted. The voltage maintained at the customer's main service terminalsshall be reasonably constant,
as follows:

(1) For residential service, the voltage shall be within five percent (5%) plus or minus of the standard adopted, and the total
variation of voltage from minimum to maximum shall not exceed six percent (6%) of the average voltage in cities and other
incorporated places having a population in excess of 2,500, nor eight percent (8%) of the average voltage in all other places
.
(2) A greater variation of voltage than specified above may be allowed when service is supplied directly from a transmission
line, or in a limited or extended area where customers are widely scattered or the loads served do not justify close voltage
regulation. In such cases the best voltage regulation should be provided that is practicable under the circumstances.

(B) Variations in voltage in excess of those specified, caused by (1) the operation of power apparatus on the customer's
premises which necessarily requires large starting current, (2) the action of the elements, and (3) the infrequent and unavoidable
fluctuations of short duration due to station operation, shall not be considered a violation of this rule.
as you can see, the legal requirement is +-5% typically.
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
You could have issues within your house causing this as well, at least based on the information provided.
How could my house be responsible? Seriously, I expect the utility will claim that, so I want to know what is possible.

The house is 10 years old, the circuit I am measuring is 1' of #12 off the panel, with nothing on the circuit. An inspector was out 2 years ago when I had a whole house generator installed, so I presume he would have noticed anything conspicuously wrong.
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
as you can see, the legal requirement is +-5% typically.

That's for the service voltage range. For utilization voltage, it's typically +5%/-10%, per ANSI C84.1:

http://www.powerqualityworld.com/201...hertz.html?m=1
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharon View Post
That's for the service voltage range. For utilization voltage, it's typically +5%/-10%, per ANSI C84.1:

http://www.powerqualityworld.com/201...hertz.html?m=1
Yes, the discussion was concerning service voltage.

Your own post:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharon View Post
The power companies can legally drop the voltage 10% below nominal and still be considered giving you a satisfactory power source.
so at least in Indiana, no the power company cannot legally drop the voltage 10%. I know of other states that also specify a 5% tolerance as well.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller View Post
How could my house be responsible? Seriously, I expect the utility will claim that, so I want to know what is possible.

The house is 10 years old, the circuit I am measuring is 1' of #12 off the panel, with nothing on the circuit. An inspector was out 2 years ago when I had a whole house generator installed, so I presume he would have noticed anything conspicuously wrong.
You expect they will claim it? Um, no. They will check it and if it is their issue, then they will claim it. If their voltage is within legal (or their tolerances if more strict), they will say; it's good on our end. Your problem is in your house.


No, the inspector would not have noticed the issue that could be causing the low voltage.

Now, I'm not saying it isn't the power company. It may be but given you have measured the voltage on a grand total of 1 120 volt circuit, I am saying there are issues within a home that can cause low voltage as you are checking it.
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