# household voltage results

• posted on July 30, 2006, 1:04 am
I had my digital volt meter hooked up to two outlets during the day. I noticed that the voltage is normally around 114 volts. When I have my two AC window units on it drops to about 109-112. If I then turn my microwave on it drops to about 102-104. I tested this on two different circuits both on different sides of the breaker panel. This voltage sounds low to me. Is this normal or should I be seeing higher values?
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 1:17 am
Bob Bins wrote:

That sounds pretty low to me. I generally get pretty close to 120V. Even today, with the extreme heat and high loads it brings, I still have 117V.
Are you sure your meter is right?
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 2:33 am
In wrote:

The NEC recommends a voltage drop under load of no more than 5%. If it's 114V with no load, then under load it should be 108V or higher.
Without knowing which appliance is on which circuit or where you are measuring, I can't comment further.
--
Jim
"Remember, an amateur built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic."
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 2:34 am
In wrote:

The NEC recommends a voltage drop under load of no more than 5%. If it's 114V with no load, then under load it should be 108V or higher.
Without knowing which appliance is on which circuit or where you are measuring, I can't comment further.
--
Jim
"Remember, an amateur built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic."
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 2:53 am
Bob Bins wrote:

it could be several things. like loose screws in the panel, meter socket, bad connection on the pole,too many services on one transformer,undersized service. try checking your panel connections at the breakers and nuetral bar. then with breakers off check voltage if its still 114v the power company might be willing to up your voltage. i suppose i should recommend you contact an electrician to safely perform some of these things.
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 3:51 am
Bob Bins writes:

Confirm the meter reading, then get the utility to buck you up to 120 VAC.
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 8:13 am

Kind of low. The issue now is whether the cause of the voltage drop is inside your house or outside.
Do the test again but this time hook up your meter to the panel on the same phase as the AC and microwave's circuit. It should read 114V. If you can't tell which phase is the right one, then measure both phases.
Then turn on the AC and microwave. What is the voltage? If it also drops to 102-104, then the problem is outside the panel.
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 1:41 pm

It sound low to me, and I suspect there is a bad connection somewhere. If you know how to be really careful around high voltage, you could do the following.
Test the voltage at the breaker panel where the wires come in from the meter. Measure on the wires from the meter themselves. If you see the same drop there (Be Cafeful!), call the power company and have them check their lines.
Next, check across the metal buss bars that those wires attach to.
If the last check was OK, but you have drop here, the screws holding the wires coming in probably need to be tightened. If no drop here, check at the output of each breaker, on the metal of the breaker. If you find drop on a breaker, re-seat or replace the breaker.
Then test the wire attached to the breaker, and tighten the wire screw there if this is where the drop occures.
If all the voltages in the breaker box were good, the problem is in one (or more) of the wiring circuits. You need to figure out everything (outlets and lights) on each circuit. Turn off the breaker, and see what doesn't work.
Does every electrical box on the circuit have the problem? If not, you might be able to isolate the problem by guessing what is wired to what. The problem is probably at the last box that tests OK, or the first box that doesn't. Open up each suspect electrical box on the circuit and tighten all connections, then test again..
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 6:16 pm
wrote:

See if you can find an IR (infrared) camera and look at your control panel with your appliances running. I promise you that a drop from 114 to 102 is generating some heat, although it might not be in your panel.
Carefully feel around for hot breakers and wires.
Complain about the voltage to your power company, but first ask them if there is a charge.
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 30, 2006, 9:53 pm
JimL wrote:

the power company will most likely tell him to get an eletrician out there first,thats been my experience.
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 31, 2006, 2:36 am

Probably true in many cities. Just a reminder that many electrician now charge over \$120 per hour with a \$120 minimum for showing up.
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 31, 2006, 3:07 am
JimL wrote:

wow i need to raise my prices
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<%-name%>
• posted on July 31, 2006, 2:44 am

Maybe. I complained to the power company once. They told me it was impossible to have the variance I was seeing. But it never happened again after that. Coincidence?