Baffling Home Power Problem

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Michael Armstrong

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The Square D QO combo AFCI remembers up to 5(?) faults, and offers "TIME SAVER" diagnostics to tell you what they were. Even Square D's support guys are sketchy about this, but here's a summary of the diagnostics' results, and a link to the full document describing them. I installed one for a new circuit that was going to be inspected and expected to be AFCI, and it claimed right away I had a shared neutral somewhere. It was a bitch to find, but sure enough, I did.

upload_2019-8-31_11-55-22.png

https://download.schneider-electric.com/files?p_enDocType=Handout&p_File_Name=0700HO1402.pdf&p_Doc_Ref=0700HO1402

You're right, of course, about TDR and branches. I thought of that just after hitting Enter...
 

Joseph Wolf

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Are more than one circuit affected? It sounds to me like one of the hot wires feeding your house has a loose connection. Turning on the AC back feeds the missing leg. When you turn on the AC does it run properly?
The electrician won't be able fix that. It is a POCO issue.
This most accurately describes what I’m experiencing. The AC does run properly once it energizes. Sometimes one circuit is affected, sometimes two.

I will initiate a trouble call to the POCO and report back on what they find.
 

Joseph Wolf

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I’d like to thank everyone whom offered help. I finally engaged a competent electrician who methodically trouble shot my system.

The issue is pretty simple, but expensive. The circuit box has failed. One phase is affected and six circuits in the house are impacted. The house is only 20 years old, so this is a bit surprising. However, this is clearly the problem. Looks like about $2800 to replace it.

Thanks again to all for the advice....

Joe
 

hornetd

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This is a very rare event. What led your electrician to the conclusion that the panel had failed? Please let the rest of us in on this for the sake of what we might learn for the future.

--
Tom Horne
 

Joseph Wolf

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The electrician did a circuit-by-circuit evaluation of the system. He identified six trouble circuits. He listened as my wife went through the house energizing each source and he said he could hear the box “sizzle.” According to our neighborhood forum, the development has a reputation for shoddy electrical work. Although less than 20 years old, many neighbors report the same issue.

I will report back after Thursday, when the repairs are complete and a full post-mortem on the failed box is possible. That is, if my home is not a smoldering ruin by then...
 

Eddie_T

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So your problem is the same as mine (post #14). When I first experienced mine operating the microwave would make the lights dim. This occurred occasionally over a period of months before it would last long enough for me to trouble shoot.

I was fortunate (maybe due to the area) to get the panel replaced for a total outlay of $75 for the service call to confirm the problem plus $800 to replace the panel (including panel and breakers).

He replaced it hot so I didn't have to get a re-inspection. New work requires meeting any code changes since the original which in my case would have included GFI as well as a panel access issue.
 

bud16415

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It doesn’t sound like the developer did shoddy work as much as he selected some equipment that was of poor quality. There is an assumption when you buy a building product that it is going to work for the job at hand and wouldn’t be sold or pass code if not.


That doesn’t mean the panels used in your community were not later found to be of sub standard quality. Unless the builder was buying known bad equipment and installing it.


If you could tell us the year your home was built and the panel that was in there? I think some of our electrical historians could figure it out.
 
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