While some fluctuation in voltage is normal, abnormally high or low voltage can cause problems with equipment performance.
In our homes and businesses, we are increasingly using electronics and appliances that may be sensitive to electric variations. These include computers, security systems, audio and video entertainment equipment, cordless phones, clocks, satellite receivers and more.
Recognizing Voltage Problems
If you are noticing these symptoms, you may have a voltage problem
- Dimming or shrinking television or computer images
- Digital clocks and electronic equipment flashing 12:00
- Dimming or overly bright lights
- Processing errors, data loss or burnt circuit boards
- Poor-quality radio or television reception that is interrupted by static, popping sounds, crackles, rolling horizontal lines, wavy lines, snow or ghosting
- Overheating equipment or electrical hardware damage
What can you do about voltage problems?
- Check your appliances and equipment for loose or damaged plugs, outlets and connections. Repair or replace them as needed. Call an electrician if you don't know how to safely replace these items.
- Make sure your sensitive loads (computer, stereo, television) aren't sharing a circuit with your large switching loads (appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, microwaves or large, motor-driven equipment) and that they are properly grounded.
- Label fuses and circuits, showing which equipment is on which circuit. Minimize interference from motors and other large loads by placing sensitive equipment on separate circuits. Contact an electrician to change or add new circuits.
Report the problem
Report your voltage problem online or call 800.477.4747 and use our automated system.
Help prevent voltage problems
- Be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing a new appliance or equipment.
- Older buildings may not be adequately wired to handle all of today's modern electronics. Ask your electrician to check your electric system to ensure your wiring and grounding are in working order and meet electrical codes. Proper wiring and ground can clear most power problems. Proper grounding of your entire home or business is essential for electronics to operate.
- You may find that a disturbance log helpful in diagnosing and resolving many power quality problems, particularly if you own or operate a business. Place the log in a convenient location near the process or equipment affected by the problem, and update the log sheet regularly. The log contains information that will help determine power disturbance patterns and frequency. Combined with power monitoring, this log can be used by your electrician or our technician to diagnose electrical disturbances.
- There are several devices available that may help alleviate the effects of some power disturbances on the appliances in your home. Some power variations, such as harmonic distortion, are much more difficult to protect against. Use the link at the right to learn more about Surge Suppressors and Uninterruptible Power Supplies.
- When buying appliances or equipment that depend on an internal clock or timer, buy one with a battery backup. Mark your calendar to replace the battery on a yearly basis.