Hi all, some advice if you may - I appear to be getting voltage drops
on my electricity supply - I think this is referred to as a
"brownout". Basically at fairly regular intervals the lights dim or if
I'm using something like a vacuum cleaner the motor labours - it only
happens for a few seconds and only seems to affect normal (non-energy)
saving lights.
I've contacted YEDL (I'm in North Yorkshire) and am awaiting a
response from them, however a couple of questions for those in the
know (as this group has many).
Although these brownouts don't appear to be anything more than a
slight nuisance, should I be worried about electrical equipment damage
within the house (my sky+ box has been playing up recently re-setting
itself for no apparent reason).
Could the cause of these fluctuations be anything to do with
appliances within my property (i.e. something draining excessive
I've asked my neighbours and they've experienced similar effects and
say their kettle recently packed in and when they went to the local
curry's the salesman told them that it'd failed due to a power surge
and that many others in the had reported similar kicthen appliance
problems recently. Not sure on how accurate that is but I suppose it
answers the question as to whether I'm the only person experiencing
this, clearly I'm not.
So what could be causing this? I know that YEDL are using helicopters
to check power lines in the Yorkshire area, but I didn't think that
would cause power disruptions, could it?
Any advice would be most welcome.
Reply to
Oh further to this another neighbour has reported an increase in bulbs failing throughout the house and says when he puts mains chargers on (phones etc) that it occasionally trips the MCB on the sockets in his house. Not sure if this could be related?
Reply to
In article , Norbet writes:
Could be a broken supply neutral, which would give some users brownouts and others surges. I wouldn't give a Currys salesmans diagnosis of a problem any credibility though.
Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
Brown outs are where the voltage dips, versus a black out which is a complete loss of supply.
As someone else suggested it could be due to temporary loss of the neutral, where someone else (other neighbours) might be basically getting the voltage you are missing. Someone would be noticing this pretty quickly though due to blown appliances/lights.
As a more likely alternative it might be an underground cable fault, which is shorting the voltage on your phase to ground. The extra loading of the fault current is causing voltage drop on the supply, hence the brown out.
Brown outs caused by shorts, rather than neutral faults, don't usually cause surges in voltage, so are not likely to cause damage to your equipment. Ordinary lamp bulbs and vacuum cleaners are much more sensitive to voltage variations than energy saver types, modern TV's and etc.. So you can also expect ordinary lamp bulbs to suffer first from surges of voltage. Probably one of the least likely items to suffer damage from over voltage would a kettle.
Underground cable fault finding can be difficult, so you may need to be patient.
Reply to
Harry Bloomfield
Yes. Not damage per se, but coimputers CAN and DO reboot under those circumstances. It was a bronnout the finally killed one old machine we had at rebooted in thee middle of a boot up sequence.hard disk head crashed..disk gone...the cost of reisntalling the whole thing was less than the cost of a new insatall on a new machine..
Makje sure any computers do NOT reboot on power restoration. Let them stay down till the supplyu stabilises.
Unlikely or you would have noticed it. My old supply would dim the lights when the microwave went on..but not so low as to be partucularly out of spec.
I would guess at a dodgy high voltage feed - ask your neighbours. Ther seems to be a lot of it about.
This is wet and windy weather. Lines can short out, branches getr thrown against them, if you are on the end of an overhead. ~Wet can cause arcing or problems in underground cabinets and so on.
I wouldn't pay any attention to Currys. Most of the staff don't even know where to use toilet paper. If you look carefully you will see their elbows are preternaturally polished..;-)
No, but there's a reason they are doing it.
My only advice beyond informing the power company, is to make sure the computers are set to stay down if they lose power, and use them as little as possible.
I wouldn't have said that surges are what you are getting, and they are the more damaging things for everything else.
Just sit an use as little as you practically can, especially of te electronic sort, and hope if any major damage does occur, insurance covers it.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
That is consistent with slight surges.
MCB? or RCD?
RCD's will sometimes trip on rapid surges with electronics kit online. MCBS should not.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher
In article , The Natural Philosopher writes:
A surge which triggers a surge suppressor can certainly trip an MCB. (Surge suppressor will sometimes have blown to pieces too, and should be regarded as dead in any case.)
Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
As someone else has commented, 'brownouts' have become recognised as *dips* in the supply voltage. It was never an expression I ever came across in the industry, but....
Your posts suggest you and your neighbours are experiencing variations *above and below* the statutory norm. When you talk to YEDL tell them this is what you think is happening. If they can't come up with a sensible explanation, ask them to fit a recording voltmeter.
This will show over a period of time how your supply voltage is fluctuating.
Reply to
The Wanderer
In article , The Wanderer writes:
It's a US term. It is nowhere near as frequent here for it to have had a commonly used name.
Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
Yes, along with PC World, The Link and PartMaster (as this is a DIY group). Plus many other chains around the world.
Reply to
Dave Liquorice
Not sure to be perfectly honest - it's not in my house - our unit appears to have one RCD and the rest are MCB's - as I say I'm not sure what's tripped in his.
Reply to
Thanks all for the informative responses - YEDL have been out (very impressive within 2hrs) and say that there is some fluctuation - they check my meter and my immediate neighbours - the engineer said he'd check at the substation and that they may fit some monitoring equipment but that it'd be unlikely that they'd come back to me with any response. As I say it's not too much of a concern right now - more of a slight nuisance, but I have now discovered something which may or may not be related. My neighbour (above) appears to have had a leak that he's unaware of and water is coming down into one of the bedrooms in my flat. I've noticed a wet patch on the ceiling and above the window in this room - it's directly below his kitchen. Is there a possibility that water coming into contact with the lighting circuits in that room could be causing the dips/surges? I've notified his letting agent (to notify his landlord) and also the management company - they've not been particularly helpful, suggesting that I get a plumber in. The neighbour has said he's checked the sink, dishwasher and washer and behind them and can see no signs of water. When I've checked behind the recessed light fittings in the bedroom the plaster is mainly dry around the fittings, but the concrete sub- floor above is soaking. Should I be concerned about a possible fire hazard here? And could this be the cause of the voltage dips - would/could this affect my neighbours circuits? (I doubt it, but am really not that knowledgeable on the matter. As for the leak if the landlord of the above property is un- cooperative (I suspect he'll say no leaks apparent in his property) where do I stand? Should I just leave this to the management company to sort out? Will this be covered by buildings insurance?
Apols for the bombardment of questions. Answers/suggestions much appreciated.
Reply to
Well, that looks like a result of sorts.
Maybe, but more likely maybe not.
Very unlikely to have an effect back at the substation or on the distribution network up to your property.
Leaks can actually travel quite a distance.
Anything is possible, whether it's likely is anybody's guess....
Seems you have little alternative but to keep on bombarding the management company with complaints.
Reply to
The Wanderer
My general experience of grid faults is that once you get past the BS, and the engineers are on the case, it gets fixed properly.
I noted an 11KV insulator fizzing once..similar effect to your sitiation..called up the local supply co and within an hOUR a man in a va was out to have a look. I wandered over "I didn;t think it was that much of an issue:I was in two minds as to whether to call or not" "Oh no, we take these seriously. I'll get a team out tomorrow"
And he did, whole line out, one insulator replaced, line on again.
Reply to
The Natural Philosopher

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