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118 Volts in my house!

theHoss

Member
Messages
1,248
Howdy,

I don't know what the accepted tolerance should be in a house, but I am running 118 on all my outlets as opposed to 120. Is that reasonable, and will it effect my amps at all?

Thanks.
 

Hacksaw

Time Warped
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,217
Howdy,

I don't know what the accepted tolerance should be in a house, but I am running 118 on all my outlets as opposed to 120. Is that reasonable, and will it effect my amps at all?

Thanks.
Nada! I am 119.. :) we are close enough. :) Rock on!
 

theHoss

Member
Messages
1,248
So I have nothing to worry about? Thanks for the heads up.

220...221 whatever it takes.
 

Hacksaw

Time Warped
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,217
you are good to go. i've play'ed my amps on higher and lower voltages.. some of those ol bars from the past where really hot, or really low. then I could tell. but I think you are right in there.

Think of the Variac's people use to drop voltages to 100v, 110 etc.. some do it on purpose! :D
 

dc_jcm800

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,238
Many factors to make you see up to 22-25 % within 120 volts. You are almost "clean" which is ok. Any more that 120 and you have main wiring service panel breaker issues.
Significantly less and you have breaker box load or old wiring issues.

Old houses on a 100 amp service with a box and wiring older than 25 years will see as much as 25% less to an outlet.
New houses, 200 amp, new wiring could see 120.

I've played theatres with far less and survived, yikes. Tha's what power conditioners are great for, if you can lug one around.
 

brad347

Member
Messages
1,260
A power conditioner will do nothing to rectify low voltages unless it also has a built-in voltage regulator.

I normally see a steady 125 in my house. One day last week I noticed my tone was really sh*tty, so I measured and only had 95VAC coming out of the wall! And it hasn't been right since. It's up to about 112 now but it fluctuates based on the time of day. I think it's on the power company's end as I've lived here for 2 years and always had a steady 125VAC every time I've checked.

Edit: Just checked and I'm back down to 95VAC again. :eek:
 

hasserl

Member
Messages
4,711
I'm happy to see 118 on a typical day! :D

On a hot day the power can drop down to around 114 as the neighbors all crank up the AC.
 

rockon1

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
12,753
Many factors to make you see up to 22-25 % within 120 volts. You are almost "clean" which is ok. Any more that 120 and you have main wiring service panel breaker issues.
Significantly less and you have breaker box load or old wiring issues.

Old houses on a 100 amp service with a box and wiring older than 25 years will see as much as 25% less to an outlet.
New houses, 200 amp, new wiring could see 120.

I've played theatres with far less and survived, yikes. Tha's what power conditioners are great for, if you can lug one around.
No expert but I think it has more to do with the power coming into the house. Ive measured from 114 to 124 volts at different times. I was curious so I started checking to see I didnt have a major draws in the house when I checked. I even made sure everything was off except the refrigerator. I pretty sure the power coming into the house was the culprit. Bob
 

brad347

Member
Messages
1,260
You are right bob. That is most definitely what it is in my case. I took similar measures to isolate and I even asked neighbors. None of them had metered the outlets but they had noticed anomalies.
 

brad347

Member
Messages
1,260
The worst part is that I tried calling the power company and their thing is 100% automated. Usually I can outwit the computer dance you have to do on the phone but I fully believe that this system is 100% automated, right down to reporting "emergencies."
 

mockoman

Member
Messages
1,990
Power company guy here...
The Power Co is regulated by your states' Public Service Commision. They allow a 5% +/- variation in the voltage. So,with 120V being perfect,it can swing 6 volts high or low,and be within the law.

Your power co can set a recording voltmeter at your electric meter,and measure the voltage coming in,around the clock,usually for 5 to 7 days.If the voltage coming in is ok,but you have low(or high) voltage at your breaker panel,the problem is yours (consult an electrician.)

If the voltage coming in is out of range,it is the power company's responsibility. Usually a transformer exch will solve it.

Sometimes,there is a bad neutral(usually caused by a bad connection of the neutral wire),causing unbalanced voltages. At your house,normally,you will have 3 wires connecting to your meter socket: 2 wires are energized,and the 3rd wire is a neutral.
Instead of having 2 wires with 120 coming in(giving you 240),you can have 2 wires of unequal voltage,but still adding up to 240.

If you only have 2 wires coming to your house,then 1 is energized (@ 120V),and the other is a neutral. You won't have 240V available. This is seen in older homes,but is becoming rare,and some electrical codes demand a 3 wire service.
 

jspax7

Member
Messages
2,225
95 is terrible! I see 114 to 125, (even during peak a/c season) and while I prefer a higher number, I'll settle for 120. Consistency is more important to me (and my gear) so I use a regulator.

Brad, you're not even close enough for a regulator to help. I would definitely see what's up with the power company.

Keep us posted.
 

John Phillips

Member
Messages
13,040
One thing also to remember that hasn't been mentioned so far is meter error. If you're using a reasonable-quality meter, the accuracy is probably +/- 1% on AC voltage - that means that your reading could be at least a volt different from the true value. A cheap Radio Shack meter could have an accuracy as bad as +/- 3%, which is very nearly 4V on 120 (it could read as such, since the meter will round to the nearest whole digit). It's only when you get up to expensive professional-quality instruments that you'll do better than 1%. The meter error probably won't change (it's caused by internal component tolerances), so if you always use the same meter you can track changes, or compare one location to another.
 

ChickenLover

Member
Messages
1,684
IMO, if you have 118vac consider yourself lucky. Many of the older amps were designed around 110vac or 115vac...so if you routinely have 124vac like I do (122vac on a 'good' day) it's too much and all the voltages in the amp are higher than they are supposed to be (including heater voltage).
 

brad347

Member
Messages
1,260
John is of course right, and my meter is certainly not the most expensive one. However, it has consistently read 125 for almost 2 years here during periodic checks. Now it's reading 95-114 depending on the day. Never more than 114, that's been the absolute max over the last couple of weeks.

I was finally able to get the power company on the phone last night and they are looking into it, we will see.

This morning I have 101 volts.
 

brad347

Member
Messages
1,260
They said they are swamped right now and don't know when they can come to look at it. I also metered in the basement which is on a different bill (the landlord's) and it was the same problem.

Current wall voltage: 92 VDC! :eek:
 

Hacksaw

Time Warped
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,217
They said they are swamped right now and don't know when they can come to look at it. I also metered in the basement which is on a different bill (the landlord's) and it was the same problem.

Current wall voltage: 92 VDC! :eek:
WOW... can you get the brownsound? :D

I do have a UPS that displays line voltage in software. who knows how acurate.. but its something I go by, and it seems to work really well for history also. Some protection and monitoring ;-)

 




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