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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7250
Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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My apartment has been experiencing what I've researched

Customer Question

My apartment has been experiencing what I've researched to be voltage sags all day today. Two-three times per minute the power will decrease for just a few seconds or less and then climb back up again briefly. The shift is very audible, my A/C is barely
cooling my apartment at all, my microwave takes 4x as long to work, a few other smaller electronics slow down, and the lights are dimming. What does this mean, and is it coming from my apartment or from the electric company? (I live in Los Angeles where rolling
blackouts are normal on super hot days like today, though this is new for me and the power has not actually gone out at all) My fear is that it's somehow connected to ground wire issues I'm already having. (I don't know anything about wiring but I know that
I have ground fault errors in over half my outlets and that "voltage sags" can be related to grounding issues according to a few websites?) SOME BACKGROUND: Two years ago one of my surge protectors suddenly lit up with a ground fault error. I bought an outlet
tester from Home Depot and tested all the OTHER outlets in my apartment, and a few were "iffy" (flickering indicator lights) but they all passed as being grounded. My landlord had an electrician come and fix the ungrounded outlet. Fast forward to about six
months ago, and I notice that other surge protectors are now ALSO throwing ground fault errors. These are outlets that tested fine previously. Since then yet another "ground fault error" light has come on, like all my outlets are falling one by one. I notified
my landlord of this but he has been EXTREMELY slow in getting this fixed, and I'm concerned about my safety. (My friends recently survived a terrible deadly house fire caused by faulty wiring so I'm a little on edge over this) So my question(s) are - what's
causing the voltage sags, is it related to the failing outlets, are voltage sags dangerous, and/or are my suddenly-ungrounded outlets dangerous? I can increase my patience with my landlord if I know I can sleep feeling safe nothing terrible is going to happen
while waiting for these problems to be addressed. Thank you! Amanda
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I'm Mike G and I'll be glad to assist you. If you have only dimming and none of your lights go brighter as others dim, you have a connection at or ahead of the service that is loose and arcing. If you get the bright lights with dimming, the neutral is loose and arcing. To isolate where the failure is you'll need a 2 wire voltage tester and I'll walk you through the testing.