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danielosko
Re: Meter base problem?

So, will a burnt connection, in the meter base, on the right upper connection, from a feed line..., cause an increase in your electric bill? (if so, can this be due to higher current draw or something else?)

Thanks, I would REALLY Appreciate any answers!

Danny

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Meter base problem?
danielosko wrote:

So, will a burnt connection, in the meter base, on the right upper connection, from a feed line..., cause an increase in your electric bill? (if so, can this be due to higher current draw or something else?)

Thanks, I would REALLY Appreciate any answers!

Danny

Yes, burnt connections cause a high resistance. Usually cause by loose connection.

Jack

Fencepost
Re: Meter base problem?
danielosko wrote:

So, will a burnt connection, in the meter base, on the right upper connection, from a feed line..., cause an increase in your electric bill? (if so, can this be due to higher current draw or something else?)

Thanks, I would REALLY Appreciate any answers!

Danny

No, it cannot cause an increase in your electric bill. Electric meters are passive serial devices, meaning that they measure current passing through them. Electric meters do consume a negligible amount of electricity. If there is nothing using electricity on the downstream side of the meter, there is no current to pass through the meter. A burnt connection will increase the resistance in the line, which will reduce the voltage and therefore the current flowing through the meter.

A burnt connection should be replaced. It is a fire hazard; it can result in overheating and arcing (when a load is applied) which can damage insulating materials in the meter base and potentially cause ignition of nearby materials outside of the meter base. The arcing can also damage sensitive electronic components.

The upper contacts of a meter base are on the utility side of the meter. If, somehow, there is current leakage from the upper contacts, the meter will not measure it. Current leakage on the lower contacts would be measured, as that is on the "downstream" side of the meater.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Meter base problem?

Even higher resistance on the utility side increases the total resistance in the circuit. The voltage stays the same, more resistance means more current .

Jack

Brad
Re: Meter base problem?
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

Even higher resistance on the utility side increases the total resistance in the circuit. The voltage stays the same, more resistance means more current .

Jack

I=V/R
If the voltage remains the same how does increasing resistance increase the current?
A 120 volt circuit with a 10 ohm resistive load has a current of 12 amps. With a 20 ohm load the current is 6 amps.

Fencepost
Re: Meter base problem?
brrichter wrote:

I=V/R
If the voltage remains the same how does increasing resistance increase the current?
A 120 volt circuit with a 10 ohm resistive load has a current of 12 amps. With a 20 ohm load the current is 6 amps.

If you ADD a resistive load in parallel (for example, you plug in a space heater), you DECREASE the total resistance. So two 10 ohms loads in parallel drawing 12 amps each results in a 5 ohm total load drawing 24 amps.

But if you add the resistive load in series, you INCREASE the total resistance. So two 10 ohm loads in series results in a 20 ohm total load drawing only 6 amps.

The resistance presented by a burnt contact is in series with the load, not in parallel. Therefore, the total resistance increases, decreasing the current flow.

Please pardon me for confusing the issue with facts and logic.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Meter base problem?

Rather than argue the details, I say just replace the meter box for safety purposes. Sometimes the utility company will do this for free or at a low price and sometimes you will need to have an electrician do this. Check with your utility company to find out. A burned-down house is not an option here and I promise it is more costly than any increase in your power bill ever could be whether that is happening here or not. And I=V/R doesn't apply here; Ohm's law is different with AC current http://www.zen22142.zen.co.uk/Theory/ohmac.htm

Phil

Re: Meter base problem?

We've seen a bunch of good suggestions. IMO the key was in the original post where the neutral was compromised due to a loose connection.

The lug was replaced but no mention if the wire was trimmed back, per accepted good practice, before it was hopefully re-torqued. A manufacture was offering a $100 to a group of inspectors and contractors who could properly torque a lug without a torque wrench. They gave away very little money. I then dusted off my torque wrenches.

The OP said numerous appliances were damaged and replaced. I suspect some are still arcing away at random such as the heat pump and the electric water heater.

These can go undetected except when you see a high power bill.

Since the meter stops when the main breaker is "off" turning all the breakers "off" one at a time and watching the meter, as many have suggested, should find the culprit(s).

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