glowing lights, hissing lights, light bulbs bursting, small
and large electrical appliance
failures, fried plugs, outlets, smoke coming from electrical
outlets and fixtures and that certain
and unmistakable 'burning electrical wire smell".
These occurances may not happen all at the same time. You may
have several occurances
where one or more of these things occur or they may all happen
at once. These are all signs
of a very dangerous occurance. A transformer over voltage caused
most likely by an open
neutral, also called a floating neutral on a utility transformer.
The term is unfamiliar to many and in general, a fire department
responding to such a situation
will believe that a short in the building or home is the cause.
This can be a fatal error.
An electrician can come in and repair damage done by an overvoltage
but never realize that an
overvoltage was at fault and the overvoltage can happen again
and intermittently (until the
transformer is repaired) creating further damage to wiring,
outlets, and electronics, even
surge protectors (which have been known to explode) and cause
a fire to ignite from the heat generated by the line with the
overvoltage or when all of the plastic burns off of the wire,
short and cause a fire. Over time, overvoltages carbonize wood
(from the heat coming from the
wiring) and make it extremely suseptible to combustion. (pyroforic-carbonization).
Good or new wiring in a home will show little effects of a transformer
seeks the conducive path of least resistance. In a home with
good or new wiring, it will be
electrical outlets, switches and electronics that are damaged
and present the greatest danger of combustion- up to the point
that the wood is dry and carbonized to the point that it ignites,
Most transformer over voltages are caused by something called
an open neutral. Your house
or building CANNOT CAUSE a transformer to malfunction.
In many cases a fire caused by an overvoltage will be ruled
as an electrical fire caused by a
short because the investigator will see evidence of beading
on the copper wiring. Beading is
evidence that electricity was flowing through the wiring when
the short occurred, NOT evidence
that a short started a fire. In the case of a transformer malfunction,
there is a huge amount of current flowing through one leg of
the wiring and it can cause a short to occur.
During most over voltages, there 'is' current flowing through
the wire and if it happens long
enough to burn all of the insulating plastic off of the wire
at the weakest point (the conductive
path of least resistance), it 'will' create a short.
If anything like this happens to you- Ask your electricity company
to check out their
transformer to determine if there is an open neutral!
This could save your home AND your life!
A Harmonic Distortion problem could be suspected if there were
numerous electric related
fires or incidents in a specific geograhic area.
from Mike Holt, Master Electrician and Electrical Inspector:
If the grounded (neutral) service conductor is open, neutral
current will flow onto the metal
parts of the electrical system. When this occurs in a wood frame
neutral current seeking a return path to the power supply will
travel into the moist wood
members. After many years of this current flow, the wood will
be converted into charcoal
(wood with no moisture) and ultimately it can result in a fire.
This condition is called pyroforic-carbonization.
Process of an Open Neutral or Floating Neutral