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SeekingInfo 09-26-2008 04:39 PM

Whole-House Voltage Regulator vs. Surge Suppressor
I have an intermittent electical problem (the worst kind). Periodically, some of my appliances (furnace, ovens) that are controlled by micro-controllers malfunction, frequently displaying error codes on the displays. I usually have to break the circuit at the breaker box until I need to use them.

The other day I noticed that all was quiet again with these systems. This will occasionally happen, frequently after a storm of some kind where the electric company has had to restore power. Then gradually things get worse, and light bulbs start to burn out quickly, appliances freak out, etc.

Furthermore I noticed that at this same time, my television clock, which normally gains about a minute every 2-3 days, is keeping perfect time now.

So I'm guessing that the electric company is supplying me with voltage that is too high during the times that my controllers freak out and clocks gain time and light bulbs burn out quickly.

I've read about whole house voltage regulators, which is what I suspect I need. I am thinking that a whole house surge suppressor would not work, because from what I've read, they vary in how low they will keep the voltage, but good ones keep it to 300 volts, and I'm suspicious that that is way too high.

I know next to nothing about electricity. When I've had repairmen out to look at this problem, they look at the malfunctioning appliances and say those need to be replaced. But that is not a plan. I can't afford to replace several appliances 2 or 3 times a year each, which is what I would be doing on that plan.

Should an electrician be able to measure the voltage coming into the house to determine if it is too high? Should an electrician be able to determine if a whole-house voltage regulator would solve this problem? Is this a routine problem, or am I going to have to go through lots of electricians to find one who really knows how to fix this?

Square Eye 09-26-2008 05:27 PM

Funny how things like florescent lighting and electric motors can interfere with delicate electronics. Double check, look around, consider what could be causing the interference. It may be something as simple as a bad connection somewhere in your home.

triple D 09-26-2008 10:04 PM

get an electrician....
A pro can check your voltage on both lines to neutral on the main lugs of the panel. A variation more than a volt or two is not good. This test should be performed while various loads are being applied and removed from system. For instance the micro, toaster, washer, heater, oven, ect., ect. A fluctuation of voltage in opposite directions, like one line moving from 120 to 125, and the other from 120 to 115 would indicate a bad neutral. A supply of 125 volts, or 250 total is top of what you want to see. Any more than this, and you want to contact your power co. Or if you come up with readings simmular to those I ment. earlier, and there is no problem with meter per local electrician, you'll want to give them a call then as well. Good luck, let us know how it turns out please....

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