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Why Summer Heat May Cause Problems with Electrical Circuits

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

This is a very common electrical problem that occurs when the outside temperatures rise which will cause the electrical loads…

Electrical Question from Jay about Problems With Electrical Circuits
Background: Jay, a Homeowner from San Diego, California

Question: I have been having a problem when I run the vacuum and plug it in on the west side of my condo, the west side power goes out but then comes back on (by itself) after 5-10 seconds (which I never heard of). I worked around this by plugging it in on the east side of the condo since the cord reaches…problem solved. Well, now with the heat, i have been using my portable A/C and experienced the same thing…I cannot use an extension cord for that plus it must be near the door so I can use the exhaust portal. Now today I came home from work, did not leave anything on except the fridge, oven/stove and microwave…also the TV & DVR were plugged in but turned off. When I got home, everything was off, then a few seconds and it would try to come back on and turn off again like the circuit breaker was auto-resetting. I went in the guest bedroom and their was no noise at the circuit breaker panel when the East side would come off and immediately turn off. I unplugged every single thing including the fridge, microwave, oven & all lamps, no power at all being used on the east side including nightlights. i turned on the stove and same thing, was hoping that was my problem…unplugged the stove and plugged in the microwave above it, worked fine…unplugged the microwave and plugged in the fridge, power went out…unplugged the fridge and turned on the surge protector for the TV/DVD and power went out. And again, the items would shut down then restart after 10 seconds then shut down almost immediately then restart. Any ideas? This is a multi-unit condo, I am on the 3rd floor. I have never lived anywhere where the power will go out then come back on.

Additional Comments: Great website!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Jay.
Jay this sounds like a connection problem at the electrical panel with one of the main incoming electrical lines, most likely the neutral, or it could be a main circuit breaker that has a deteriorating connection with an internal  panel component.
This is a very common electrical problem that occurs when the outside temperatures rise which will cause the electrical loads (air conditioning, etc.) to increase, thereby causing expansion and contraction of the electrical components, especially those components which are aluminum type materials and or aluminum wire.
This electrical problem will require testing and troubleshooting starting at the electrical panel that feeds your home electrical circuits. This is a problem that requires an experienced qualified licensed electrician.

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