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Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4276
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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I have a 100 amp service that started acting weird? pulled

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I have a 100 amp service that started acting weird? pulled the cover off and took readings across both hots and it was 242 volts. With all the breakers in the off position the readings were 118 and 120 from each hot to the nuetral. As i turned breakers on the volt readings went to 108 and 132 to the nuetral. i checked both legs to the water pipe and they are 120? if i check the nuetral to the water pipe I am getting 12 volts? This number increases with more power consumtion. Do I have a bad service connection?

Jason :

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Jason :

An unbaXXXXX XXXXXke that is most likely due to a problem with a main neutral connection.

Jason :

Another indicator that backs this up is the voltage you are seeing when reading between the neutral and the water pipe.

Jason :

You shouldn't be seeing any voltage there.

Jason :

The first thing I would do is check all main neutral connections.

Customer:

checked all tight

Jason :

Please keep in mind that this can be very dangerous for a novice. I don't know your skill level, so I have to stress safety. If you found the main neutral tight in the panel, and at both locations in the meter base... it has to be in the overhead splice (assuming the outside service is fed overhead), or, at the pole. In either case, it's a call for the utility company.

Customer:

i only checked in my box. outside the connection is older and fraying around the outside of the service cable. probably need to get the replaced?

Jason :

Yes, if the outer jacket is coming off, which is pretty common with older SE cable that isn't in conduit. You can actually replace it yourself, which would save substantial cost. I'd be happy to walk you through it.

Jason :

If you want a lot of years of trouble-free service from the new wire, I would recommend putting the replacement in conduit. It's not terribly difficult.

Customer:

I will probably get the experts to do that? good place to start.

Jason :

Yes, definitely. One thing to keep in mind - Often, when you replace the service on a house, the inspectors will require that the entire electrical system be updated to meet current codes. This typically means installing GFI outlets where necessary, and updating the grounding.

Customer:

what is updating the grounding? already have gfi's

Jason :

Jumper wires on the water softener and water heater.

Jason :

And the water meter, if you are on city water.

Customer:

I have no softener and on demand gas water heater, the water meter is also grounde already. Any thoughts about how much the service line replacement would be? ballpark ?

Jason :

If it's just the SE cable, I would do it for a couple hundred dollars. The wire isn't all that costly, assuming it's aluminum (I believe you said 100 amp rated), and the labor should only be a couple of hours.

Customer:

ok thanks

Jason :

But if you hire a contractor to do it, it could be substantially more. However, if someone wants much more than $400, I'd be suspicious.

Customer:

probably get a contracter meter pan is pretty old also.

Jason :

Yeah, if it looks rough, or is the cause of the problem, there's not a better time to get it replaced.

Customer:

ok thanks

Jason :

You are most welcome. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer:

no i think you answered my questions

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