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Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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Over the past few days my house has been having power

Customer Question

Hello. Over the past few days my house has been having power fluctuations causing lights to dim and fans to slow for a few seconds at a time then return to normal. Unsure why.
JA: Sometimes electrical issues that that you think will be really complicated end up being easy to fix. The Electrician I'm going to connect you with knows all the tricks and shortcuts. Tell me a bit more about what's going on so we can help you best.
Customer: That's pretty much it. It started up randomly. No work has been done on the electrical on the house. It just started to have power fluctuations.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Electrician should know?
Customer: No, that is all. Thank you.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Electrician about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Does the problem seem to be spread throughout the entire house?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hello, thanks for the welcome. Never used a program like this before.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
I'm glad you're here, and I'll take good care of you. We have thousands of satisfied customers.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Yes. At first I thought it was only in one section covered by a particular circuit, but just a few minutes ago I concluded it's the whole house. And it seems to be getting more frequent.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for the additional information. Since it seems to be present in the entire structure, the main neutral wire is the most likely culprit. This is one of 3 wires that brings power into the house from the Utility Company. Most likely, the problem is in the meter base (outside), or upstream from there. If that is the case, the Utility Company would need to repair it. However, they often ask that you call out a qualified electrician before they come out. The electrician would take a few voltage readings to determine the cause of the problem, and then respond accordingly.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Do you have a two lead digital volt meter? If so, are you comfortable taking readings in a live electrical panel or meter base?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
To clarify, the Utility Company does not repair or replace meter bases. Their responsibility is everything upstream from that point. If the meter base is the problem, a private contractor would repair or replace it.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I do not have one, no. I can go out and get one in the morning. I'd be comfortable taking readings myself provided it was explained to me how to do it. In the meantime, should I be concerned about a fire?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Also, as we talk the low power fluctuations seem to be lasting longer.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Or, if you are comfortable doing so, you are allowed to pull a permit and do the work yourself. The Utility Company would come out and disconnect the power from the house. I can walk you through the steps involved in taking the readings. We can even work together through a phone consultation. However, my work at this site is basically a "side job", as I still work full time in the electrical field. That being the case, it would not be possible for me to conduct a phone consultation until Saturday. At this point, because of the potential hazard involved, I would call the Utility Company and explain the situation to them. Hopefully, they'll agree to come out and investigate without having an electrician look at it first.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I completely understand. Calling the utility company will be my first order of business in the morning. In the meantime, should I be concerned about fire or the fact the power is dropping for longer periods at a time and shut off my power, or should it be safe for the time being?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
It will likely be okay until they get there. When they get these types of calls, they don't generally take very long to show up and investigate, as they are well aware of the hazard involved. However, if you can be without power for a little while, it certainly wouldn't hurt to turn off your main breaker until they check it out.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Ok, as I have a very old grandmother I take care of here being without power is a last resort so I'll just turn off as much as I can for now to avoid taxing the system and call the utility company in the morning to get some help. I appreciate all the advice you've has for me tonight.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Happy to help. May I ask... what is your location?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
San Diego, California
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Thank you. I was curious about the time difference between your location and mine. It is approaching 5 AM here in Florida. Just to let you know, the Utility Company responds to these calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So you don't have to wait to call them if you don't want to.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Fantastic. I see my local company has an emergency line. I'll be calling them right now as a precaution. Thanks again for the advice. You've been very helpful. Have a safe day.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
You are most welcome. Been a pleasure. Please do call them right away. I wouldn't want anything to happen to you or your family, or the house.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I'm going to call them right now.
Expert:  Jason replied 7 months ago.
Please update me when you get a chance. I'll get an email on my phone. Have a blessed day!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for all your help. I called my utility company and someone came out. He went above and beyond. After he determined that the issue was not at their end he proceeded to try and diagnose what was wrong with our fuse box. After a couple of hours of testing because our box was responding strangely to the tests he was able to determine the most likely cause of our power fluctuations is a bad connection from the main breaker to the bus. You could actually hear the wires during the test. He called a crew to replace their wire from the power pole to the house as a precaution , and since he messed with the box the fluctuations have stopped.We are still having an electrician come by to repair the connection, but at least for now things are back to normal while we get that sorted out.Thanks again for your advice, you saved me a major headache.
Expert:  Jason replied 6 months ago.
I'm glad I was a help to you. It's great that you got the top notch service you received from the lineman. Hopefully, the electrician who comes out will get you squared away with minimal cost and inconvenience.

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