How to deal with low voltage
The main causes of the malfunction
First of all, briefly consider why the voltage in the network can be lower than the permissible values (according to GOST 29322-2014), after which we consider what to do in each of the above cases. So, the main causes of low voltage in a private house or apartment are:
- Insufficient cross-section of the input cable, branched from the main power line to your housing.
- Poor connection in place branch wires from the power line.
- Incorrectly selected cross-section of conductors, busbars for connecting protective devices and branching of wiring lines, unreliable contact of connections in the input distribution panel.
- Transformer overload at a serving substation.
- Insufficient cross-section of the main power line.
- Phase imbalance - the load on each phase of the transformer is uneven (for example, one phase is overloaded, the rest are underloaded).
- Insecure contact or zero break on the supply line. In the event of a violation of the integrity of the contact connection of the neutral conductor of the main power line or with its complete breakage, a significant voltage imbalance will be observed in the network: some consumers will experience an excessively high voltage, while others will be below acceptable values.
These are the most common causes of very low voltage in the network of private houses and apartments. As you understand, the first 3 reasons apply only to you, and you will have to solve the problem yourself. As for the latter situations, they need to be addressed collectively with neighbors, by writing complaints to the relevant authorities. Next, we will tell you what to do for self voltage boost and where to call, so that the cause of the malfunction can be eliminated by higher authorities.
Ways to solve the problem
In order to enumerate the causes of weak voltage in the network, we will also consider methods of troubleshooting.
The first thing you should check is whether there is a weak voltage in the neighbors or if a low voltage is present only in your area. If it turned out that there are no problems in neighboring houses (or apartments), we begin to look for a problem in the home wiring.
First you must turn off the input circuit breaker and measure the input voltage: at the terminals of the circuit breaker where the input power cable is connected. If it is already below the norm at this point (according to GOST 29322-2014 (IEC 60038: 2009) ± 10% of the nominal value - 230 Volts, i.e. 207-253 V), then it is necessary to contact the power supply, since the problem may be in the supply network (reasons - p. 4-7). You can read more about permissible voltage deviations in the article: https://my.electricianexp.com/en/kakoe-otklonenie-napryazheniya-v-seti-schitaetsya-predelnym.html.
According to the above, there may be 3 reasons if the voltage is low only for you. Start troubleshooting by checking connecting circuit breaker. If the upper clamp has poor contact with the wire, this may well be the cause of weak voltage. Visually inspect the case of the machine, if it is fused (as in the photo below), it is necessary to replace it. After this, do not forget to connect the new circuit breaker properly - tighten the wires in the clamps well.
Also pay attention to the cross section of the conductors and busbars used in the switchboard for connecting protective devices and branching of the wiring lines - it must correspond to the load that flows through a particular section of the electrical circuit.
Is the machine connected correctly and there is no visible damage? Make sure that the cross section of the lead-in wire is enough for consumers to work in your house or apartment. About, how to calculate the cross section of a wire by power we told in the corresponding article. The fact is that with an insufficient cross-section of conductors, the voltage drops when an increased load is connected.
If the cross-section of the home wiring cable is sufficient, check how the branch of the line from the trunk to your input is made. If this twisting, then it can be said with great confidence that the low voltage in the house is due to poor-quality branching wires. With poor contact, the resistance in the problem area increases, which leads to a decrease in voltage. Even if the branch is made with special clamps, inspect them too (condition of the housing). You can also check the clamps by connecting the load - if it starts to spark in this place, or if the clamp case starts to heat up - you need to replace the product.
Things are worse if the low voltage in the electric network is not your fault, but the electricity supplier. In fact, fixing the problem in this case is quite difficult. Next, we will tell you where to call and complain to solve the problem, and now we will provide a measure that will help increase the voltage in the home electrical network.
You probably know what’s best connect the stabilizer, which can increase the value from 140-160 Volts to the required 220. From personal experience I can say that this is the best option for troubleshooting most often the voltage is low in the autumn-winter season due to the use of electric heaters. The stabilizer is not so expensive and can protect your household appliances even when overvoltagewhich is also very important. If you have money, we recommend that you also purchase an uninterruptible power supply, which during a voltage drop can eliminate the problem, because Offline will supply electricity. Emergency power systems from 140 Volt work, which is great in our case. The only drawback is the high cost. For the model, a power of 5 kW will have to be paid at least 35 thousand (price for 2019).
Given the cost of the stabilizer and the fact that at an excessively low voltage (below the operating range of the voltage stabilizer) it can quickly fail, so before you buy it, it is better to contact the supplying organization to solve this problem. Moreover, the reason may be in an emergency - a violation of the contact connection of the neutral wire on the trunk line, and this is fraught with even greater voltage imbalance in the case of a complete zero break.
The stabilizer is shown in the video:
Some experts also recommend combating low voltage in the mains using transformers or additional grounding, but we advise you to avoid such measures. The fact is that the consequences of such manipulations can be disappointing - overvoltage up to 300 Volts or network short circuit!
Where to call and complain
When the reason for the low voltage is an insufficient cross-section of the main transmission line or the weak power of the transformer at the substation, things are worse. Millions are needed to upgrade the substation and power lines, so complaints have no effect, even if they have been written for years. However, you are nevertheless obligated to state that you are dissatisfied with the quality of electricity in order to move the issue of reconstruction from the spot.
If you do not know where to call and write a complaint with a low voltage, we recommend that you read the following list:
- Write a written complaint to the energy supply company.
- If no action occurs within 30 days after registration of the appeal you wrote, the prosecutor’s office will help to attract energy sales, which we also recommend contacting.
- Administration of the city (district or village).
- Energy Supervision.
- Public Chamber.
We draw your attention to the fact that all these bodies have their own official sites, which are not difficult to find on the Internet. It is not necessary to hang around the walls and stand in lines, just write to the appropriate authority in the mail that you have a low voltage and that you have already tried to solve the problem with energy supply. It will be better if you present all the evidence in an email.
Another useful advice is when you write a collective complaint about energy sales, refer to GOST 29322-2014 (IEC 60038: 2009), according to which the deviation from 230 Volts should not exceed 10%.
We hope that now you know what to do with a low voltage in the network, where and to whom you need to complain so that the malfunction is eliminated! Once again, we draw attention to the fact that the process of resolving the conflict with the energy supply can take a long time, so immediately you need to buy a stabilizer so that all household appliances in the house do not burn out.
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