Crazy electrical problem

I recently completely re-wired a small house. All new wire, outlets, switches, breaker box & breakers and most of the light fixtures. Everything worked fine when I was done about a month ago. Today, I noticed that the furnace wasn't running. Also discoverd that neither the frig or the washing machine would run (anything with a 110 V motor). The deep well pump runs fine (220V) and for some reason, so will a small canister vacum but when I start that, the kitchen light gets brighter (different circuit too). I started checking voltages at the main breaker box and found a hugh difference in voltage between the two legs, like 155 / 85. It doesn't seem to matter how many circuits are turned on . I turned off everything except for a single circuit that powers 2 - 100W. light bulbs and the same result. I suspected a loosed feed wire in the main box but didn't find anything. I am at a loss on this one. Please help if you can.
bruce
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Somewhere there is a loose or unhooked neutral wire. It could be at the main box or the wires comming in from the power company. Pull the main braker and check on the power company side of it to see if you are getting 120 volts on each side of the neutral and hot wires. If not then call the power company and have them check the incomming wires.
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Bruce wrote:

Darn. I've been around for a few years and have never come across that kind of problem. What are the voltages on each side of the main? What is the incoming voltages with the main flipped off? What are the voltages to both neutral and to a ground? If they're still weird, I wonder if the power company might have a bad transformer up on a pole, or if one of your neighbors decided to do some creative wiring of some kind on the same transformer.
Please, follow up to this with your explorations and the eventual solution. In the meantime, you're sure right to keep everything cut off.
Nonnymus
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This is a potentially dangerous situation, so I wouldn't waste any time repairing it. At your service, your neutral and house ground should be tied together. If you are not reading 120 volt to ground from each hot leg at that location, you have an open neutral on the street side of your panel, possibly at the utility company transformer or in the meter box

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Bruce wrote:

Definitely sounds like a loose neutral. This is dangerous because in combination with other failures it can potentially leave you with a live ground. Also I believe it can give you strange voltages on your 120v circuits, higher or lower than it should be.
This newsgroup has sufficiently frightened me of this situation. I would fix it now.
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor man\'s
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You have an open neutral. Most likely on the power company's side of the meter. Do you have underground service? I had this exact same problem and they found the neutral completely corroded in half where it had been nicked by the backhoe, about 2 feet from the water meter. Took me forever (about 36 hours) to convince them it was a problem on their side. The first thing they did is pull the meter and of course, when they did that, the voltages were equal (no load). I had already had an electrician friend tell me what the problem was. I also had current on the ground, that is what tipped him off. After having several calls to the power company, a supervisor just happened to be listening in when one of the crew reported the finding on the radio and he said "that sounds like an open neutral" . Well no shit dick tracy... One TV and one VCR later (the power company bought) and a new splice on the neutral and everything's been fine for 15 years now.
--
Steve Barker


"Bruce" < snipped-for-privacy@charter.net> wrote in message
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You have an open neutral. This is a potential fire hazard, not to mention the probable failure of many of your appliances. It needs to be corrected immediately. If the imbalance is at the main panel, then the problem is likely the utility's. They generally respond immediately to this type of complaint.
Ben Miller
--
Benjamin D. Miller, PE
B. MILLER ENGINEERING
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If you installed the main service panel, did you torque the lugs for the main feeds to manufacturer's specs? If using aluminum main wire, did you use that aluminum wire goop?
Have electric company come out and re-torque your main lugs. If you did not apply aluminum wire goop, have electric company do this, might want to have a tube handy.
Note: On the panel printed spec sticker, it will give the torque specs...
Warning! Don't do this yourself!
"Bruce" wrote in message

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Thank you all for your replies. The house is currently empty so there is no danger to anyone. The only circuit I need is for the 220V water pump and that appears to be working fine. One little bit of information I left out is that the main service comes into a fused disconnect before it goes to the breaker box. That is how I was able to replace everything without having the power shut off. I intend to replace the short alum. feed between the disconnect and the breaker box with some #2 copper that I have just to rule out this section as being the problem. If that doesn't fix it, then a call to the power company will be made. I will post the results as soon as I get it fixed. Bruce

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wrote:

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Problem solved! The problem was indeed an open neutral. After some testing with an electrican, we found that the problem was with the #2 feeder wire running from the meter to the inside box. We slit the outer casing near the meter and water ran out of the cable. Thank you all for your help. Bruce

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