Monday, February 28, 2005


Lights "acting funny?" Watch out for problems!

Are your lights "acting funny," get brighter, then dim, then really bright? You might have a real, serious problem!

[a letter I just sent]

Link to "Philadelphia electrician" website FAQ page

Re: Electrical damage related to failed neutral termination

Dear Mrs. [deleted]:

Thank you for the opportunity to assist with your electrical repair problem.
You contacted me because your lights were not functioning, following what has been described as “fluctuating lights” and a tripping circuit breaker. I came and proceeded to investigate the condition and found numerous ground faults in your electrical system. Many of these faults were cleared by disconnecting the attachment cords for various appliances. Other faults were cleared by removing several damaged light fixtures from various circuits.

Among other conditions observed was the non-functional condition of your central heat, due to the removal by a heating contractor of a damaged electronic circuit board. Electrical voltage measurements at the heater showed fluctuating levels reaching as high as 205 volts. Further investigation revealed a highly corroded splice in the neutral conductor at the service entrance connection point with the PECo lateral. A voltage reading of 118 volts was made across a highly resistive neutral splice. [There should be NO voltage potential across the neutral splice!]

This condition created varying voltage levels, which fluctuated with the now abnormally connected series load. This caused electronic components, appliances, and fixtures to be subjected to voltages at least as high as that measured at the heater, much beyond the acceptable design performance envelope, certainly damaging some of this equipment. Some of these devices, especially fluorescent lights, then contributed further to the degradation of other equipment and parts of the core wiring system.

One effect of this voltage anomaly was to cause abnormal high voltage gradients to enter the general house wiring and degrade the insulation value of installed conductors. Some of these conductors are damaged so that they possess high-resistance ground faults to ductwork and other metal building components. One cable was so badly impacted that the abnormal voltage pierced the insulation and caused the external metal sheathing to be welded to a section of duct that it lay against. Sections of this wiring need to be replaced immediately. Further, not all of the damage has been identified at this point. In witness of this, one circuit breaker continues to trip on attempt to reset it.

Please be advised that these are not conditions that can be safely ignored!

[end of letter body]

Philadelphia electrician link. Photo of corroded splice!
Just wanted to get this in quick - more later!

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