My wife SWEARS that her hair dryer gets hotter when she uses it at
other people's houses. I seem to think that our George Forman grill
doesn't get as hot as I've seen in others' houses. Is this a
perception thing, or is there something with the power in our house
that would cause appliaces with heating elements to not get as hot as
other places? Is it something with the ol' W = V x A equasion? Could
there not be enough Amps to create enough Wattage to properly power
these types of devices that require a lot of Wattage?? Help!! Thanks
so much to all who respond!!
Have you checked your line voltage?
Long runs, undersized wiring, overloaded transformers, a wealth of
things can contribuite to this.
check line voltage at different times of day, middle of the nite may
see higher voltage.
if you have heard of brownouts? thats basically a lower line voltage
You should check your line voltage with a good DMM with the hair dryer
plugged in to that same outlet (assuming it's not separated or
switched) turning the dryer on and off. I do electrical repairs for
people and carry a hair dryer for circuit load testing and finding
I have seen many wire gauge problems the one that comes quickly to mind
is the apartment building that was owned by a friend of mine. Looking
into this exact kind of problem I found that the building had been
rewired with #16 or smaller. I don't even know anyone who will sell you
that as a electrical contractor. I don't know how it got past the
inspectors in the first place or how it got past them the 2nd time when
my friend sold the building.
It could also be bad junctions.
To be sure, measuring voltage with dryer plugged in and running vs.
without to see if there is too much vltage drop. Or use an Amprobe
to see current draw. Good thing your friend's apartment did not start
Back when I was a handyman, I got a call from a guy who had a
brownout. He called late in the evening and I was done for the day.
But he agreed to pay the extra cost of an emergency call. He's very
lucky he agreed to that. The entire house was wired with 18-2 lamp
cord tacked to the baseboard with those cheap baseboard outlets they
sold back in those days (this was in the late 70's). When I arrived I
noticed a burnt smell when I walked in the door. When I placed my
hand over the one outlet where all the wires originated, the wall was
very hot. I immediately shut off the power and told the guy to call
the fire dept. He refused to call. (The guy was a drunk). As soon as
he refused, I just said "then I got to do this), and I started busting
open the wall. There was no flame (yet), but the wires were charring
wood. I ended up ripping open the whole wall, and dumping a few
buckets of water down from the second floor to the basement.
Another 10 minutes that place would have been in flames.
This is a long story, but the guy refused to have the place wired
correctly, so he just paid me to run one outlet into the kitchen, hook
it to the old fuse box (where I changed the fuses to 15A instead of
the 30A ones that was there) This box had 2 fuses, one for the lower
apt, one for the upper apt, and this guy lived in the upper).
After I got that one outlet installed, he told me to just hook all
those 18-2 wires to that outlet again. I refused, and told him that
if he wanted to do it himself, he could put a plug on the end and plug
them in, but I was not going to wire them to the screws on the outlet
like they were when I got there. He was pissed, but I told him it's
against the law and I can not do it. He paid me, said he'd get
someone else to hook it up, and also to clean up and repair all the
I should also note that the refrigerator was being run on that 18-2
and I offerred to help him move it to where the new outlet was
installed, but he said it dont belong there and went and got another
18-2 lamp cord to plug it in.....
I tried to explain he was living in danger, but he did not care.
I just took the check and said "Whatever"....
maybe neighbor's room is warmer and her hairdryer adds to that higher
i looked at those grills a couple years ago and found george foreman
makes a variety of similar grills, check the model numbers and wattages
on the device plate; also check starting temperature of the product
from the neighbor's warmer freezer.
Thanks everyone. I tested the voltage with and without load. Started
at 119.6v and was 112.3v with the hair dryer on. I'll have to do the
same test at someone elses house to see if there's a difference.
That drop sounds excessive to me. Where did you make the measurement?
At the same outlet? A hair dryer should not change the voltage by more
than a tenth of a volt or so.
How about at different outlets?
A measurement at the circuit breaker would be also in order to see if
the drop is external to the house. A measurement on a different circuit
with nothing turned on would also accomplish this. You could turn on
the dryer and go around measuring at various outlets to see if any or
If you have aluminum wire it could be a poor connection in either the
hot or return wires. That includes at the return buss in the breaker box.
But 7.3 volts (36A)? And are hair dryers over 1400 Watts? I really
I recall that once I noted that when an appliance turned on some lights
would dim and others would get bright. I found that at times some lines
were 110 and others were 130. Also true at the breaker box. Called the
power company (quite surprised when their truck drove up in front of the
house about 5 minutes later - just happened to be close by). They found
that there was a burned return line in a main junction box - it was a
big aluminum wire that they still use for main lines. I was probably
using the ground rod at the meter for a return.
Highly doubtful. Perhaps you don't have a humidifier in your home? Or
moreover, the air conditions are different between the homes creating a
perception of performance.
My GF grill has a light and a dial on it. Thus its temperature is
monitored/adjustable to some degree. So its not 100% pegged to line
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
Defective Electricity. Definately defective. Complain to your
electric company and tell them you are not going to pay your electric
bill until they correct it. It's probably recycled power you are
getting. It's already been used once and you are just getting the
left over, used power.
However, before you complain too loudly, be sure your wiring is not
worn out. It could be old wiring where the copper has simply run out
of electrons. You could even have some clogs in the wires. Get a can
of "Wireno" (wire drano), and thoroughly flush out your wires.
And the last possibility are the houses where they wanted to save
money, so they used the HOT water pipes for the HOT LINE VOLTAGE, used
the COLD water pipes for the NEUTRAL, and used the GAS pipes for the
GROUND. You could have a bad dielectric union, so all the power is
leaking into the hot water heater and is heating water instead of
going to the outlets. If your water is too hot, this is an indicator
of this condition. Also note if the gas coming out of the burners in
your stove is hot before it is ignited, you have an electrical leak to
On a SERIOUS NOTE he could have alunimum wiring:(
It was used years ago to cut costs. trouble is its higher resistance
and can become a fire hazard. its trouble can lead to low voltage and
this situation should be investigated.
Next time, consider also including my favorite, the "loose disconnection".
That's what we used to tell our non-tech savvy customers when the real
cause of the problem we fixed would have taken too long to explain and
they wouldn't have understood a word of it anyway.
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.