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Xernicus

Brownout electrical problems

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Thought I'd run this past you guys. Bought a house last year, Cctober 7th 2016. A tree fell on my house in February 2017. (110v wires are in attic crawlspace). No electrical problems until about three weeks ago. It seems to be limited to my office. I have wiring experience. I'm wondering whether I should hire an electrician, an inspector, or complain to my energy company.

 

Mains voltage: 118v during the day, 114.5v during the night (barebones minimum, I know) in my office.

 

Around three weeks ago, there was a sudden brownout. (Not used to this being on Seattle City Light) Lights dimmed once- thought nothing of it. Lights came back to normal- and dimmed once again. Computer shut down- signifying a voltage drop below 110v. Called my new power company (Puget Sound Energy), and they denied any problem. Told me I had a loose 110 Neutral wire in my breaker box, because my 220 appliances worked fine. Since it was momentary, I called bullshit on their excuse. Sure enough, my Kill-A-Watt showed 113- compared to the normal 117v. Checked the outage map after the call- Over 1,300 people were without power in my area.

 

Tonight, my power in my office went out again. There are over 7,000 reported outages, but none in my area. I noticed the lights dimmed while I was outside on the phone with 911 reporting a domestic disturbance. I was chatting with Carbonautics on Steam before I stepped out. When I came back in, the power was on, but my computer was off.

I was going to call my power company until I noticed... another computer of mine on a different circuit had 13days uptime. It uses less power... but it made me wonder.

 

I have rewired the telecommunications but not the electrics. It is dated between 1967 and 1980. There are no signs of severe circuit overload (buzzing- or "BONG" noise signifying a wire bouncing or harmonically vibrating ). I have a two-pole circuit box. 110v (for mains voltage) and 220v (for range/oven and dryer). The 220v circuits are dedicated, and the 110v are "cheater circuits". However, my office is the only one on the circuit using power- and less than 5 amps.

 

I noticed that the old outlets in my house were wearing out when I bought the place, so I replaced them. The old outlets had ground wires resting on the outlet box, I made sure to use a direct connection with drip-loop to every outlet- hoping to eliminate arc-fault scenarios. It seemed to work great.

 

But now, a year later... I'm wondering if I made a mistake somewhere. I know daisy-chain circuits and cheater breakers are frowned upon, but they've worked well for a year. I really don't use that much power.

 

I guess my question is whether you think my power company or my wiring is at fault. I believe it is my power company, but it seems like my brownouts are limited to my office (though it does use the most current), and as such I wonder if I made a wiring fault.

Edited by Xernicus

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If you are having brown outs and power outages through out your neighborhood or town then i would say there might be nothing you can do.  I have seen my main  circuit breaker start to go bad and a replacement could help your problems.  Also individual breakers could be a problem as well.  When you click it off and reset it then back on, if the spring seems weak then i would replace it. Sometimes the thing on the pole will start go bad and it will give you problems too.  Perhaps a call to your power company to come check the power at your house might be prudent.

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