01:48PM | 08/08/07
Member Since: 08/07/07
1 lifetime posts
About two weeks ago, my very small house suddenly experienced my incandescent lights burning brightly, then popping. Then the t.v. started to smoke. Also, my dvd player, my microwave. I unplugged everything. I called an electrician and the power company. They replaced the electrical wire coming into my house. I also got a new breaker box and new wiring to the refrigerator and microwave. It all worked for a couple of weeks, then bam! my lights started pulsing and my microwave smoked. Electricians were here all day long. They are mystified by why the breaker panel didn't sense anything. But when the refrigerator is on for more than 30 seconds, the voltage in the house goes up to 240. A hair dryer or other load doesn't do it. What is wrong with my refrigerator? Help! I can't afford to keep replacing all my stuff.

Tom O

03:57PM | 08/08/07
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts
From your description, the problem is likely to be what is called a "loose neutral." This condition will cause the voltage on one phase to go down and the other phase to go up with rexpect to ground. The worst case I ever came across was about 30 volts on one side and 210 volts on the other side.

Electronics do not like high voltage, appliances without electronics can withstand high voltage to a degree.

Circuit breakers will not sense this condition, they are made to sense the flow of too many amps, not an overvoltage condition.

When you say a hair dryer doesn't cause this problem, does that mean it has been plugged into the refrigerator outlet? I don't believe I've ever heard of a refrigerator causing a high voltage condition without a loose neutral being involved.

One area to check would be the meter socket. You did not mention if it had been replaced or inspected, but that is about the only thing left to be checked as far as your service is concerned.


04:39PM | 08/08/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
In addition to what Tom said I would start with the power company.

I am not sure what part of the system that they replaced, but in addtion to the service drop there is the transformer and power company low voltage distribution wires.
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