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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've got an outlet which was covered up with a blank face plate, it's in the perfect spot to feed power to my new kegerator so I wanted to install an outlet in it.

I turned off all of the circuits in the house, hooked up a voltmeter set to AC and then one-by-one found which circuit breaker turns that outlet on. To my surprise the outlet read 140 V :eek:! This seems too high. In order to rule out the voltmeter I measured some other outlets in the house, they all seem to read about 124 V. I found this strange so this time I measured the suspicious outlet with respect to the ground wire. I got 124 V. Now I'm confused, why 124 V with respect to ground, but 140 V across the black & white wires?

I took several electrical engineering classes when I got my Computer Engineering degree, but they are about fundamentals, not practical applications or safety when dealing with high voltage. I'm not against doing something simple like installing an outlet, but I would probably hire an electrician if I had to mess with the breaker panel.

Q1) My goal is to install an outlet which is safe to use with my kegerator. What advice can you give me?

Q2) Is it safe or wise to hook up appliances to an outlet that is at 140 V? (I think no).

Q3) It seems like maybe someone found a problem and covered it up as opposed to fixing it? Thoughts?

P.S. / More background.

Previously I had a problem at my circuit breaker panel. One morning I smelled a very strong distinct ozone smell in my bathroom directly below the breaker panel (this highly suggests there was arcing going on, generating ozone.). I had an electrician come out, he replaced a burnt out circuit breaker. I'm wondering whether I have a problem like some individual circuits are overloaded or maybe the voltage to the whole house is too high? I'm just guessing here since I have no practical experience. Also I have one light switch that doesn't seem to do anything, (this also suggest some shoddy / incomplete work).
 

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It is not safe to hook up electronics and many appliances to 140 volts.

Most likely there is a loose neutral somewhere. Unplug all electronics and do voltage tests using incandescent lights moved to different locations (and a hair dryer, if you have one, on low setting). Do you observe the lights dimming and brightening as you turn on and off other lights elsewhere in the house? All circuits or just some?

While you are at it, tighten up all the screws and setscrews in the breaker panel. (Turn off each breaker before touching its screw) Leave the big setscrews for the fat wires up top for an expert to do.
 

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Are you sure it was not 240 volts? That would make sense. The white wire is not a neutral. The cable was for a 240 volt device like an AC or a heater. Was it a double breaker that killed the power? How many volts from the white to the ground?
 

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Are you real sure it's suppossed to be a 120v line ?
If so - then you have a high resistance neutral joint
it could be your panel or even a POCO problem.
Do your neighbours have high voltage as well ?

It could also be just a lightly loaded tranny
causing higher than usual voltage.

Get an electricain to check your panel
and especially your neutral connecttions !

If all checks ok !
Call poco to check there equipment !
 

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The only way you can have 140v on one outlet with 124v on the others is on somesort of screwed up 240v circuit. You might have opened up a junction box going to a 240v appliance and are now in series with something, or it is a multiwire circuit with a bad neutral. Without seeing it it is hard to say what, but it has to be something like that.
You better get this sorted out quickly; it could be something serious.

124v is technically within acceptable tolerances; but I would still complain to your utility and get them to lower it to 120v.
 

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The reason why the voltage on the Black to green
is 124v, as compaired to the 140v across black to white
is because the path via the earth system is better
(lower resistance) then the path via the neutral
conductor line.

The earth is usually bonded to the neutral
at the substation/tranny.
So if the neutral line is faulty the current
will usually find a path via the earth line instead.

Have you checked the voltages at your panel ?
 
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