We bought a brand new home a year and a half ago. Ever since moving in, we have been having lots of weird unexplainable power problems including electronic device failures, major appliance failures, wall outlet outages, smoking plug ins and the list goes on .
Our local power company found after a year of living in our home that the neutral power and one of the positive cable that feeds the home was loose. In fact, the neutral wire was not even screwed/bolted down. Upon original installation, it was left lying in the socket with room to move around (thus causing all of the problems we had been having). So, upon discovery of the loose cables, the power company then "so-called" tightened and fastened two of the three wires in the underground kristy box. We thought at that point our troubles would finally be over. They were not! We continued to see electronics fail and were told that would be considered the aftermath from the original problem. (Anything we owned and had plugged in before the discovery date had been susceptible to future electronic damage or failure).
Well, a little more than 5 months have past since the discovery date and we are now having problems again. We asked ourselves, how can that be?
We called our local power company again and notified them of the problems we were having. They came out with their technicians to find the neutral wire was loose again. This time the screw/fastner on the neutral wire was about 1.5 - 3 turns loose and all of the other underground wires were tight as can be. We watched closely as the technician performed his test, thus catching the mistake. Immediately, I pointed this finding out loud to the power company reps (who were closely watching along beside me and a representative from our home builders electrical contractor).
It all made sense to me. The wire had gotten very loose somehow and all of our electrical problems immediately started happening all over again (deja vu). I not only watched the technician tightly fasten the neutral wire, but I also asked that he replace the entire end connection all together in case there were a problem within the socket. So, the technician did so per my request. In addition, the electrical company decided to install a meter testing device to monitor our panel and feeding coming into our house for the next two weeks.
Here's where we are to date. We have a claim in which we have already submitted to the power company. We have included in our claim an extensive amount of supporting documentation relating to our electrical problems. This documentation includes all damages (for example replacement of our brand new kitchen appliances more than 4 times each, replacement of all of our cell phones, gaming units, small electronics and much much more), receipts, calendar items relating to our power issues (which totals over 121 documented appointment hours) and a summary of the damages which occurred.
Today, we received a call from the claims representative at the power company and she wanted to follow up with us as to the status of our claim. During the call, she informed us that the power company has discussed our most recent finding (on March 11, 2008) and the power company is only willing to take full responsibility for all of the damages which occurred up to the date of the original discovery (which was last August 25, 2007). They do not believe as a result of their negligence the first time, that we should have incurred any further damage beyond the initial discovery date and furthermore, the loose neutral which they found on March 11, 2008 was not loose enough to cause our recent damages.
Our questions for you are:
1. During the first year when we had all of the major problems, is it possible our electronics could still fail even after the 2 loose wires were tightened back in August, 2007? In other words, is there such a condition as "aftermath" havoc on our electronics? We did have a few things continue to break after the first couple of months. It wasn't until now that we've started having problems all over again.
2. If our neutral wire was just found loose again, wouldn't that cause more damage? The screw had to be tightened about a good 3 full rotations before it became snug (believe me, I watched and starred). FYI, the technician did not use a torch wrench when performing the most recent test (on March 11, 2008). He used what looked like to be a regular looking screw driver to test and tighten the screws. Furthermore, the technician and the power companies representatives present that day of testing now state the screw was tight enough to meet the manufacturers suggested tightness. Thus, they are not responsible for any of the most recent incidences. How could the technician tell if the neutral was tight enough if he didn't use a torch wrench? Sounds like the power company is trying to cover their tracks.
3. What would possibly cause the neutral to become that loose in just less than six months? Did the first technician back in August 2007 not tighten the neutral tight enough or could the problem be related to something else? Regardless, the only persons who have access to our underground kristy box is the power company. They have their own special tool they use to open the box.
4. In addition to replacing everything that has been damaged, are all of our home electronics potentially at risk to breaking or suffering damage in the future as a direct result of this ongoing problem for the past one and a half years?
5. Is our house safe? Are there any special tests we should have preformed by either the power company or a licensed electrical contractor to insure we are well protected and not in any danger?
Please help us if you can. We are needing some answers fast. Our claim deadline is approaching and we are running out of time. We've been told our claim will be settled and complete within a few weeks, but at this point we are especially concerned based on our most recent findings. What do we do? Shouldn't the power company be liable for it all? After all, it was their equipment that failed. We have had our home electrical inspected numerous times by our building contractor's sub-contractor and they have come up with nothing wrong on their side. Everything looks great, they say.
Does anyone have any experience with loose neutral power feeds and what issues they can cause? Please advise. We would greatly appreciate any help you can offer.
Thank you for your help!
wire nut connection/splice in breaker box?
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