electrical neutral

I have been having problems with electrical service. When I turn on lights or use power from a outlet lights dim. I have been told that I may have bad neutral on my end by the power company. I have checked the panel box and I have 120v 240v when there is no load on but when something is turned on it changes. I need to know how to check to see if neutral is bad. Can't aford electrician for about a week.
Thank You for help
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
lights dim + no money = call your electric company for diagnosis. if they came out as they do right away and told you their power to the meter is fine, you need an electrician whether you can afford one or not. "One moderately safe approach is to connect a 100W lightbulb     between hot and the ground you wish to test. The lamp should     light fully. If you have a voltmeter, test the voltage between     the ground and the neutral. You should see less than 2 volts.     If the voltage is much higher, or the lamp dims, disconnect it     quickly - the ground may be overheating somewhere. The ground     should be checked for poor connections." so it says where there's more for you to read about NEUTRAL and GROUND at faq: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/electrical-wiring/part1 /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Changes to what?
I need to know how to check to see

You need to make sure all of the set screws for the neutral (white wires) are tight. You MUST turn off the main power before doing this! I would check everything while you are at it. All hots & grounds. Again turn off the main breaker before doing this.
The main service lugs need to be checked also but if your main breaker is inside the same box with your other breakers then don't attempt to tighten these yourself as you won't be able to shut the power off on these without pulling the meter.
If you have newer home where the main breaker is on the meter base outside and the main panel is somewhere else then you can check the main lugs in your breaker panel after turning the main off.
If that does not fix the problem then you must trace it down somewhere else in the circuit(s). Could be a loose wirenut or bad connection or bad outlet etc, anywhere in the affected circuit(s). You would have to open up each outlet box, light fixture box until you find the problem.
Kevin

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If this "dimming" happens at all or many outlets and light locations in your house, it is most likely a bad neutral connection at one of the "main" locations of your service. First have the electric utility check their connections outside, if they are good, you need to check the connections in your service panel. You're looking for loose or corroded connections

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What kinda lamp is the outside one that dims?
some dim a lot normally like shop fluroscents...
other like ones with ballasts and fancy ones can begin dimmeing as they age.
turn power off to outside light and check voltage there, with a VOM and see how much it changes
might just be a bad lamp or fixture outside!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The classic and definitive sign of a loose neutral is when some lights dim, and some brighten when you pull a big 120V load.
That of course only happens if you have lights visible on both sides of the main.
Absent brightening, it's probably a loose hot.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you can run a 240V load like a dryer or range and see no effect on the 120V lighting, that also supports a bad neutral connection theory. If it (the bad connection) is not at the pole (or underground) or at the service entrance splice, then it might be behind the meter where the SE conductor attaches inside the panel. You need to break the seal and pull the meter to inspect these terminations on most panels (The first connections are always concealed so you can't jump past the meter and steal power).
The power company should go that far for you (afterall it's their seal). Tell them you think there may be a dangerous situation and they will be there same day as long as they are not handling other weather related emergencies. Remember, you already pay them.
Is your service underground or overhead? Is your panel combined with the meter or is it seperate? Do you know the brand of the panel, it should be marked on the breakers. Have you visually inspected the interior of the panel especially above and around the main breaker where the SE conductors attach?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sorry I have been away from home. Thank you for every boby that helped the power company has came back out again with a different service man and had found problems on their end this time and has fixed the problem. It was the neural on power co. lines. Thanks Again
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sorry I have been away from home. Thank you for every boby that helped the power company has came back out again with a different service man and had found problems on their end this time and has fixed the problem. It was the neural on power co. lines. Thanks Again
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
sparky wrote:

What "changes" did you get at the panel box?
A bad neutral on the power line outside the house will usually result in some lights dimming and others getting brighter. I had that. Measuring at the input to the house I sometimes measured 130 volts on one line and 110 on the other. The ground stake was being used as a return. The power company verified it. They then found a defective piece of heavy duty aluminum in the area distribution.
If only one circuit dims it could be a poor connection somewhere in that line, either power or return.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.