Help! Electrical problem

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My house is about 30 years old. The electrical outlets are 3 prong and the circuits are all on breakers. One of the circuits in the kitchen measures 115v but it seems when i put a load on it, like a hotplate or some other appliance, it takes a long time to heat up and doesn't fully heat up. It seems like when you put a load on the circuit it can't supply the necessary amperage. This all just started a few days ago. I flipped the breakers but still have problem. Do circuit breakers goe bad? Any other ideas of what it might be before I have to call an electrician? Thanks.
J
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Measure the voltage with the load applied. If it's still 115 or close, you're imagining things. If it drops more than a couple volts you've got a bad connection somewhere (check the connection to the outlet first, especially if backstabbed).
CBs do sometimes fail with high resistance, and sometimes the connection between the breaker and the buss bar corrodes or loosens. You can measure the voltage right at the breaker and do the same test as above to see if any drop is at the breaker.
If it is dropping under load, don't use the circuit until it's fixed...perfect way to start a fire because wherever bad connection is, it's going to get hot.
HTH,
Paul F.
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wrote:

Agree.
I think the goal is to have a max drop of 5% at the farthest location under full load. That is a goal, I don't think there is an actual code reqt. So, if he has 120V at the panel, and 114V under load at the farthest outlet, he's fine. Or if he has 115V at the panel and it drops to 109 under load, that's within reason too, but the panel voltage would be a bit low. I wouldn't be worried even if it dropped a bit more than 5% at the farthest outlets.
But those drops are small and would not explain a hot plate or similar appliance taking a long time to heat up.

I agree if it's dropping a lot under full load, like more than 10%, then he has a problem.
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On 4/26/2012 5:54 PM, J wrote:

Symptomatic of bad ground or other high resistance connection.
Story--when moved back to farm after Dad died, the light in the pump house lit but was very dim...voltage was nominal but no current (even worse than your apparent case). Traced it back to the pole that supplied the panel in the pumphouse; the ground had broken at the weatherhead on the pole from sufficient time and flex in SW KS wind...
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dpb wrote:

Please explain how a ground, connected or not, can influence the current between a hot and a neutral.
Even HAVING grounds at outlets is a fairly recent development.
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On 4/26/2012 8:22 PM, HeyBub wrote: ...

...
Sorry, a mis-write. It was the neutral; it was also a two-wire circuit...
--
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I had a bad neutral connection on the entrance head to my garage some years ago. That can cause some pretty crazy (and destructive) things to happen. Remember, you have 240 coming in, and the neutral is the centertap giving two 120 circuits. For example, put a heavy load on one leg, such as a circular saw, and the saw will run real slow, and lights will be real dim. Yet, the other leg will produce excessively high voltages. Plugging in my circular saw is what made me aware of a problem in the garage. The saw was real slow, but the lightbulbs on the ceiling were extremely bright for a few seconds and were burning out quickly. The reason is that with the neutral missing, the saw motor became connected in series to the bulbs, and since the saw uses more amps, the bulbs got the high end of the voltage. I was probably getting something like 50v to the saw, and 190v to the bulbs (190 + 50 = 240).
From this problem, I lost every lightbulb in the garage, a shop light ballast, the garage clock radio, which is always plugged in even if the radio is turned off), my cordless drill battery charger which was plugged in at the time, the outdoor floodlight motion sensor and that bulb too. The higher amperage consuming devices were not harmed. This includes the circular saw, an electric drill that I plugged in (because at first I thought the saw motor was bad, and an electric space heater that I plugged in after the drill to provide a heavy load while measuring voltages.
Luckily I did not lose more.
Because the bad neutral was inside of a covered connection, it was not noticable. I confirmed the neutral was bad, by running a 250ft roll of single conductor #12 wire from the meter pole neutral to the garage neutral. (Note: This is a farm, the meter pole Main Disconnect, supplies three separate service entrances, the house, the garage, a barn). *The house and the barn worked fine*. After this, it was a matter of locating the bad neutral connection, which was right at the service entrance head to the garage. (I was glad it was not up on the pole that feeds the garage, because I would have had to hire someone, since I refuse to climb a ladder to a power pole).
I repaired the connection using a new connector, after cleaning the wires, and everything was back to normal.
--
If the OP is noticing lights are excessively bright, small items are
burning out, such as small motors, computers, tv sets, radios, clocks,
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I think what happened to you is what's happening here. My microwave burned out first, then my garage door opener motor and I checked the circuits and they are different. So since that's the case it could be something in the breaker box. This breaker box is a secondary box. The main breaker box is in another part of the house and seems to be ok. The central air and all the 220v stuff works fine. So I'm thinking it might be a neutral problem in the secondary box or something. So I guess I will call an electrician in the morning. Thanks for the info.
On Thu, 26 Apr 2012 21:48:00 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

J
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On Apr 26, 10:48pm, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

SHUT UP TANGA.....THE ONLY GOOD ADVICE IS NO ADVICE. HE EITHER NEEDS TO GET AN ELECTRICIAN OR MOVE OUT OF THERE. NOT COME TO USENET TO READ INNUENDO AND CONJECTURE FROM STRANGERS THAT KNOW SQUAT ABOUT THE SITUATION.....BESIDES, HES A TROLL..DONT YOU SEE HIS HAIRY HANDS.
ANYWAY BY THE SYMPTOMS HE DESCRIBED ITS OBVIOUS THE GOBLINS WANT HIM OUT OF THERE.
TGTIM
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On 4/26/2012 9:48 PM, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote: ...

The described feed to the pumphouse was/is 2-wire only...so the floating relative to the other hot was not an issue. The well pump gets its 240V from the other end; this is just a branch circuit for lights and a handy outlet in the pumphouse (where the pump is no longer located; it's now submerged in a new well that replaced the one w/ the above-ground pump around which the house was built; pressure tank still there so guess it should really be called the "tank house" now :) ).
And, I did say "ground" intending "neutral" as noted before....slip of fingers.
--
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Bad connection somewhere, heating up. Unless you know what you are doing (which by your question, it appears you do not) call an electrician NOW. (well, in the morning, anyways)
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On Thu, 26 Apr 2012 21:09:05 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

To the OP. If you are not reading the correct voltage, turn on the hotplate or other troublesome device. Let it run for a few minutes. Then go to the breaker box and feel that breaker. If it's hot or very warm, it needs to be replaced. A normal breaker may get slightly warm under heavy load, but not hot or very warm.
Before calling an electrician, as long as you're comfortable working with electricity, spend $5 to $10 for a different breaker. Also, pull that outlet out of the wall, and look for overheating on the screws or backstabs. Replace if needed, or just replace it anyhow, since outlets are cheap.
If there are other outlets or lights on that circuit, open all of them and look for burnt connections.
If none of this fixes it, call an electrician.
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On Apr 26, 9:13pm, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

The previous poster should have said that the outlet in question may be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th or even the 5th on a circuit that has daisy- chained outlets, and the the bad connection can be anywhere between the outlet in question and the circuit breaker in one of the intermediate outlets.
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Inside the panel box, tighten all the grounds and neutrals. If you're comfortable working inside panel boxes, that is.
Also check for back stabbed outlets.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
My house is about 30 years old. The electrical outlets are 3 prong and the circuits are all on breakers. One of the circuits in the kitchen measures 115v but it seems when i put a load on it, like a hotplate or some other appliance, it takes a long time to heat up and doesn't fully heat up. It seems like when you put a load on the circuit it can't supply the necessary amperage. This all just started a few days ago. I flipped the breakers but still have problem. Do circuit breakers goe bad? Any other ideas of what it might be before I have to call an electrician? Thanks.
J
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On 4/26/2012 6:54 PM, J wrote:

I agree with Paul Franklin, if you're pulling a heavy load through a bad connection, you'll get heat. Thirty year old houses were likely to have back stabbed wiring on the 20 amp circuits. If this is only happening on one kitchen outlet, it is even more likely a bad connection between daisy-chained outlets in the kitchen. In the U.S. a thirty year old house, properly wired, would have had a minimum of 2-20 amp circuits feeding the counter outlets. If all the other outlets in the kitchen work OK, your problem is at the connection to the affected outlet, or the one that it's being fed from. Kill the power, pull them out, and you should clearly see the burned connection
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I think I finally figured out what the problem was. The garage door opener, which was also about 30 years old, developed some sort of weird problem in the electronics that allowed it to draw current without throwing a breaker. The other circuits which were on that side of the 110 were also affected. After I disconnected the garage door opener all the other circuits were ok. The hotplates, microwave etc. went back to normal. Since I checked the panel for loose wires, circuit breakers etc. and all was ok the only thing it could have been was the garage door opener and probably the electrolytic capacitor or some other component has gone bad. There is no obvious burning or anything in the opener, so now I have to find out if it's repairable or have to get a new one. Thanks for the help though.
J
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If there is no obvious burning in the garage door opener, how could it be creating such a load that the voltage dropped so low in the kitchen that a hot plate took longer to warm? And how could it affect other circuits? Most it could do would be to pull 15 or 20 amps. And with proper wiring the circuit should deliver that rated current to any load and not have voltage drop of more than 5 to 10% tops. With that small drop, you would not notice longer heating times at the hot plate. Beyond that it would trip the breaker. And it would not affect other circuits, ie the kitchen. In short, this doesn't add up.
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I would suggest you get an electrician in to find out what is going on. There is no way the garage door opener has anything to do with the garbage disposal running slow. They are not even on the same circuit, correct? You could have a serious problem that is intermittent and has just temporarily disappeared. If there is a lose connection, partial short, etc somewhere which are some of the things that could account for what you are seeing and you don't fix it you run the risk of burning the house down.
Don't take this the wrong way, but your approach is like saying I replaced the dripping kitchen sink faucet and now the water heater stopped leaking so it must have been the kitchen faucet that was responsible and it's OK.

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On Sun, 29 Apr 2012 10:13:41 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"
The circuits could have been on the same side of the 220v side. The breaker box is a secondary box from the main house breaker box. So the disposal, microwave, hotplates etc. could have been on the same 110v side. The 220 v stuff always worked fine, even when the other was messing up. So I don't know but there are lots of circuits off of the breaker box and I checked it out and found no loose connections or anything, no hot breakers etc. So the only thing I can think of is that somehow the circuits that the garage door opener were on were the only ones affected. Somehow maybe the garage door opener was drawing current but not enough to throw a breaker, and causing the other appliances to not be able to function properly. While appliances on the other side of the box were'nt affected. I plan to talk to an electrician and see what they think.

J
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On Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:16:45 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"
Well guys I don't know what the problem was but I know that everything is working ok now. Maybe one of the guys that replied was right- it was goblins lol. I plan to have things checked out but the wiring here is all copper and the outlets are the screw type and all the connections are tight. The outlets are all three wire too. The breaker panel wiring is tight so unless it could have to do with the breakers themselves or the wiring from the box to the outlets I can't think of much else. I will post if something comes up in the future on this. Thanks again for all the help.
J
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