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What would cause half the house to have low voltage in the outlets and dim lights while the other half of the house is fine?


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2009-11-23 17:29:37
2009-11-23 17:29:37

The loads may be unbalanced.

In North America, the transformer has 3 wires coming from it into the house. The neutral wire is the center tap of the transformer. The other two wires are each 120 volts, 180 degrees out of phase. So if 220 volts is needed, the power is taken from those two 120 volt wires.

If only 120 volts is needed, just one of those wires is used along with the neutral wire. The house wiring should alow the loads to be balanced between the two 120 volt wires, with the neutral as a common. If the loads are not balanced, low voltage on the heavily loaded side could result.

On homes equipped with two cartridge fuses supplying 220 volts to the building, with each fuse connected to one of the two 110 circuits, if one of the cartridge fuses blows while a 220 volt load is running (such as a range or drier), the 110 volt circuit on the side with the blown fuse will draw current through the 220 volt appliance, resulting in reduced voltage to the 110 volt loads on that side because of the voltage drop across the 220 volt appliance. Turning up the heat control on a range top element can cause lights on the affected side to go from dim to full brightness.


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