Strange goings-on with the electrics

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Strange goings-on with the electrics


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Old 19th September 2019, 10:52 AM
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Default Strange goings-on with the electrics

For about a week now, our electricity supply has been tripping twice a day - once at 8.45 p.m. or thereabouts, and once between 4.30 and 5.30 a.m. (damned inconvenient). We have a potencia of 4.6 and have never had any problems before: air-con, oven etc all on and it's fine. When these trips occur, the only things running are the fridge and a light or two.

The electricity company is sending someone round but they insist it can't be anything outside the house, and we'll have to pay. I have a sneaky idea it's got something to do with the street lighting, but they say that's impossible.

Do any of you clever people have any ideas?

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Old 19th September 2019, 11:08 AM
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For about a week now, our electricity supply has been tripping twice a day - once at 8.45 p.m. or thereabouts, and once between 4.30 and 5.30 a.m. (damned inconvenient). We have a potencia of 4.6 and have never had any problems before: air-con, oven etc all on and it's fine. When these trips occur, the only things running are the fridge and a light or two.

The electricity company is sending someone round but they insist it can't be anything outside the house, and we'll have to pay. I have a sneaky idea it's got something to do with the street lighting, but they say that's impossible.

Do any of you clever people have any ideas?
Can't comment on the timing but those trips 'wear' I believe - become more sensitive over time. Could be that.

It happened to us a fair bit when it rained and the local electric shop sent a man around who spent at least an hour identifying the problem - a damp junction box somewhere in the house - and fixing it.

That cost 30 Euros - so worth it.

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Old 19th September 2019, 11:21 AM
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If it's confined to just your property then must be you, there is no other logical alternative.

Sneaky feelings or not unless they are somehow being fed via your breaker it is impossible for it to be down to the street lighting.

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Old 19th September 2019, 11:33 AM
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Can't comment on the timing but those trips 'wear' I believe - become more sensitive over time. Could be that.

It happened to us a fair bit when it rained and the local electric shop sent a man around who spent at least an hour identifying the problem - a damp junction box somewhere in the house - and fixing it.

That cost 30 Euros - so worth it.
We used to have that problem - had the whole thing replaced and embedded into the wall about three years ago, and all new térmicos.

But yes, I don't mind paying I'm just fed up with getting up at 5.30 a.m. to turn the damn thing back on!

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Old 19th September 2019, 01:12 PM
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Is it the main breaker that is tripping? Or just one individual circuit breaker?

If you had an electrical fault (a short circuit in an unfused appliance / junction box / wiring) you could expect the individual circuit breaker to trip before the main breaker would go.

The main breaker is, normally, only sensitive to a current draw beyond that permitted by the rating, and this is usually spread across various circuits (hence the individual circuit breakers in your distribution box usually don't trip).

So, I think it is unlikely that you have an electrical fault in your home that is causing this, unless as has been suggested it is a distribution box fault affecting the whole system (or a wiring fault between the main breaker and the distribution board).

And on that last note, is there any way that someone may have tapped into your supply between your meter / main breaker and your distribution board?
Have you noticed any increase in electric consumption recently?
Any smell of "fragrant herbs" coming from neighbouring properties???

You wouldn't be the first victim of electricity theft, and the regularity of the times it trips makes me think of a large current draw on a time switch....

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Old 19th September 2019, 02:09 PM
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Is it the main breaker that is tripping? Or just one individual circuit breaker?

If you had an electrical fault (a short circuit in an unfused appliance / junction box / wiring) you could expect the individual circuit breaker to trip before the main breaker would go.

The main breaker is, normally, only sensitive to a current draw beyond that permitted by the rating, and this is usually spread across various circuits (hence the individual circuit breakers in your distribution box usually don't trip).

So, I think it is unlikely that you have an electrical fault in your home that is causing this, unless as has been suggested it is a distribution box fault affecting the whole system (or a wiring fault between the main breaker and the distribution board).

And on that last note, is there any way that someone may have tapped into your supply between your meter / main breaker and your distribution board?
Have you noticed any increase in electric consumption recently?
Any smell of "fragrant herbs" coming from neighbouring properties???

You wouldn't be the first victim of electricity theft, and the regularity of the times it trips makes me think of a large current draw on a time switch....
Thanks for this. I've attached a photo showing the one that trips (top row second from left). There is also a much bigger switch above the box (second photo) which usually trips at the same time but not always. I assume that's the mains breaker?

There's no way anyone could be stealing it deliberately, I know all our neighbours! But the fact that the trips occur just after the street-lights are scheduled to come on seems like a strange coincidence. The whole street-wiring here is pretty ramshackle, with cables strung across streets and alleyways, and the street-lights themselves break down from one day to the next.
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File Type: jpg 1-t2.jpg (57.1 KB, 8 views)

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Old 19th September 2019, 02:35 PM
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Thanks for this. I've attached a photo showing the one that trips (top row second from left). There is also a much bigger switch above the box (second photo) which usually trips at the same time but not always. I assume that's the mains breaker?

There's no way anyone could be stealing it deliberately, I know all our neighbours! But the fact that the trips occur just after the street-lights are scheduled to come on seems like a strange coincidence. The whole street-wiring here is pretty ramshackle, with cables strung across streets and alleyways, and the street-lights themselves break down from one day to the next.
The top row second left is the earth leakage circuit breaker. You have a minor earth leakage which needs a competent electrician to test all the circuits. It might just be a bit of damp but it could be a sign of something serious building up.

When we came back from holiday, we found that ours had tripped and all the fridges/freezers had partially defrosted. Since the cleaner had been in to water the plants and she usually hangs her bag on a hook over that c/b, I am assuming, in the absence of any other evidence, that she caught the trip button.
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Old 19th September 2019, 02:43 PM
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The top row second left is the earth leakage circuit breaker. You have a minor earth leakage which needs a competent electrician to test all the circuits. It might just be a bit of damp but it could be a sign of something serious building up.

When we came back from holiday, we found that ours had tripped and all the fridges/freezers had partially defrosted. Since the cleaner had been in to water the plants and she usually hangs her bag on a hook over that c/b, I am assuming, in the absence of any other evidence, that she caught the trip button.
What a pain! I hope you didn't have to throw out much food.

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Old 20th September 2019, 10:37 AM
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What a pain! I hope you didn't have to throw out much food.
No, most seemed to still be pretty solid.

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Old 20th September 2019, 01:51 PM
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The guys from the electricity company came last night and disabled the big switch above the consumer unit, saying that it doesn't actually serve any purpose. No charge. Since then we haven't had any trips, so fingers crossed it has done the trick.

Thanks for your suggestions everyone.
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