I just purchased a home, and in the kitchen is a light that doesn't
work (there are others, with their own switches - that work)
the light that doesn't work has 33v going to it when I tested it with
a multimeter... if I flip the switch, it drops to like 18v. (i'm
testing the bulb holder) does anyone know what causes this? I haven't
looked much further down the line and traced the wiring... but I
thought someone might have some idea as to what causes this. i figured
in a house this small, it's either going to read 120v - or 0....
Its bad wiring at some point. Dirty or lose connections at the
junction box or at the breaker/fuse box. Or perhaps a bad breaker.
You can check the voltage back at the breaker box if you know how to
keep from electrocuting yourself. If its good there you can trace it
through the junction boxes or the throw switch. Somewhere you have a
bad connection. You have to trace it down. Also do you have a dimmer
That would do it also.
Let me guess.....
You got one of those old round florescent fixtures that were so
popular in the 1940's and early 50's. The heat above this fixture,
from the old iron core ballast caused the wiring to burn up and you no
longer have any neutral connection. What you are seeing is bleed
through from the ballast.
First off, replace the fixture with something new. Then rewire all
burnt cables. Replace the switch at the same time. Then, go into the
basement and replace the old plug-fuse box with some modern breakers.
I'd recommend a licensed electrician for this part of the job, if not
the whole job. You should be back to normal lighting.
PS. The size of the house has no effect on the voltage. Big houses
and small houses all have 120volts (or close to that).
PS2. Even if you wanted to save that old round florescent fixture,
(and I know you love it), you can not find bulbs for them anymore.
you may just have a bad outlet, cost a buck or two, not passing the
voltage thru it, on the way to your problem location. numbering all
outlet plates and switch plates in the home to match the electric
panel circuit numbers stamped into the cover plate inside the panel
will help narrow down your circuit chasing. if your electrician has
funny voltages measured in the panel with all breakers and main off,
he will check the panel connections. call the power company. they do
like to promptly repair that supply stuff.
and the long version of the project we all really would like to do
someday (to reduce the imaginary expensive feared voltage leak we all
dream of) besides noting the individual wattages of each device in
standby mode with a kill-a-watt meter:
after the panel and all device outlets are working with perfect
voltages without any devices plugged in, the power meter should not be
turning if all lights and switches are off. start lighting one at a
time, then start gfi testing of each device as you add it, watching
for voltage variations.
the phantom voltage may be ac induced on one conductor to the tester
or you, i find odd stuff in the older wiring lacking grounds,
sometimes wet insulation of a wire passing thru a damp area can
electrify a reverse path measured as an electrified wet floor measured
to ground at outlet, if there is a motorized or compressor driven
device sometimes a portable GFI can show an appliance defect.
I'll bet you are using a digital meter to measure the voltage. The
voltage you are testing is being picked up by a circuit that is turned off
or disconnected somewhere. If you had an old analog meter it would read
zero. Digital meters generally have very very high internal resistance.
You need to look at the rest of the circuit until you find a
disconnected wire, or switch turned off.
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