Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,807 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
499 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
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....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,341 Posts
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.
When I saw your pics (have only just looked at this thread) I wondered why on earth you would have the big switch, given the other box does everything. So maybe it was just a hang over from the previous system. Great that you didn't have to pay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
When I saw your pics (have only just looked at this thread) I wondered why on earth you would have the big switch, given the other box does everything. So maybe it was just a hang over from the previous system. Great that you didn't have to pay.
Well, unfortunately two days later it started happening again, even more frequently! So they came back today and now think it's water in the consumer unit (odd because it hasn't rained since May). They are going to come back tomorrow and replace the rusty térmicos, for which we will have to pay.

I'm off to the UK tomorrow for two weeks so hopefully it will all be sorted by the time I get back.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Well, unfortunately two days later it started happening again, even more frequently! So they came back today and now think it's water in the consumer unit (odd because it hasn't rained since May). They are going to come back tomorrow and replace the rusty térmicos, for which we will have to pay.

I'm off to the UK tomorrow for two weeks so hopefully it will all be sorted by the time I get back.:)
My guess is an Earth leakage which needs special equipment to trace. Have you got any rats nibbling away at the insulation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
It could well have a "street light" issue... at my house, one of the power companies wires TO the meter broke way the hell up the pole and was unnoticeable… burned out my freezer, water cooler due constant "starts" but no "run".... I also got an electric bill for about three time the monthly average! IS, by chance, the street light connected to your meter or to your "pre-meter line"?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
81 Posts
fridges are notorious at tripping RCDs, on re-wires/new kitchens etc we used to install a dedicated radial circuit just for the fridge backed up with its own RCBO. Also while this might be unlikely in a domestic situation using a lot of IT equipment at the same time can also exceed the rating on the RCB (usually 30 mA).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
fridges are notorious at tripping RCDs, on re-wires/new kitchens etc we used to install a dedicated radial circuit just for the fridge backed up with its own RCBO. Also while this might be unlikely in a domestic situation using a lot of IT equipment at the same time can also exceed the rating on the RCB (usually 30 mA).
You haven't bothered to tell us where you are/came from/going to but I have never found that about fridges in all my years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I’m away at the moment but OH reports that a fleet of electricians went round the house and gave it the all clear. It looks like someone from the council may have disconnected the earth on a streetlight when changing a bulb. They are currently dismantling all the streetlights to check!

So my initial “sneaky feeling” was spot on.

Oddly, even though they were also affected, none of the neighbours reported it apart from an English couple up the road. Andalusian fatalism?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
81 Posts
I’m away at the moment but OH reports that a fleet of electricians went round the house and gave it the all clear. It looks like someone from the council may have disconnected the earth on a streetlight when changing a bulb. They are currently dismantling all the streetlights to check!

So my initial “sneaky feeling” was spot on.

Oddly, even though they were also affected, none of the neighbours reported it apart from an English couple up the road. Andalusian fatalism?
'' It looks like someone from the council may have disconnected the earth on a streetlight when changing a bulb'', dafuq!!!!!! I have got to say that in all my years working as a 'spark' i can honestly say that there isn't another trade that has as many cowboys as the electrical trade.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top