Why an Electric Power Surge Can Cause Problems
Why are my electrical devices burning up instead of tripping the circuit breaker? Possible Causes of Power Surges and Spikes, How to Avoid Damage to Electrical Devices Caused by Voltage Surges or Spikes.
Burning Up Electric Devices
Electrical Question:Why are my electrical devices burning up instead of tripping the circuit breaker?
- I have a 200 amp service running to my house, and in the box there is a double 30 breaker going to my brothers RV.
- The RV circuit has been causing electric surges in my home and burning a lot of electrical devices out.
- In the RV they are running an air conditioner, refrigerator, and television set and all their lights on the double 30 circuit breaker.
- My question is why is it burning my stuff out instead of flipping the breaker that runs their RV?
Additional Comments: I just searched and found this because I was trying to fix my electrical problem once and for all because I’m tired of paying a bill and not being able to use anything for fear of it being fried.
Background: James, a Homeowner from Clay City, Kentucky.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question James.
Power Surges and Voltage Spikes
Application: Evaluating a Home Electric Service Panel for Causes of Power Spikes and Surges.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester and amp meter or load recorder.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and age of the electric service panel and the access to the circuits to be evaluated.
Precaution: Working in an electric panel is dangerous due to arc flash hazards and the possibility of electric shock.
Notice: Making changes to the Home Electrical Service Panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
How to Avoid Damage to Electrical Devices Caused by Power Surges or Voltage Spikes
- As described in this question, even though there is a 30 amp 240 volt circuit for the trailer power there may be a great deal of the electrical loads at the trailer that are placed on one 120 volt lines that are creating an unbalanced load.
- This can cause a surge to take place on that side of the circuit. In a case like this, if it is possible, it would be best to have some of the electrical devices in the trailer plugged into a different outlet that would be fed from the 120 volt line that is not loaded as much.
- This is best revealed when an electrician takes electrical load measurements using a clamp on amperage meter to determine if the load is balanced or not.
- The 30 amp 240 volt circuit that serves the RV and the home electrical wiring should be checked for loose connections and make sure that the wiring has been installed correctly according to code.
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Testers to Help Solve Electrical Problems
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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