I love living here, but I have a serious problem that I hope you can help me find a solution for.
I get my water from a well, and every time the pump turns on my lights dim and other strange things happen.
I don’t know why but it’s causing my light bulbs to blow on a regular basis. I’ve also lost three TVs (all used if that makes a difference), several phone chargers, a wireless router and two computers.
Needless to say, I need to get this fixed as soon as possible. I called an electrician and they want $85 just to come out and check it.
I’m hoping you can tell me what I need to do. What do you think is causing it, and how can I fix it?
Rick’s answer: Anita, your water pump contains a powerful motor, and every time any powerful motor kicks in it creates a simultaneous voltage drop/current spike on your house’s power grid. And as you found out the hard way, these electrical issues can cause some very serious problems.
I do think you need to pay an electrician to come out and check your wiring just to ensure own personal safety and the safety of your home. If your electrical system is over-loaded you could end up having a house fire.
To answer your specific question, there are several things you can do to help prevent your valuable electronic items from getting fried by the power surges being generated by your water pump:
1 – Have an electrician install a whole house surge protector. These devices are installed either inside your home’s electrical panel or very close to it, and they can help protect your sensitive electronics from power surges.
2 – While the electrician is on the scene, ask him/her to check out the wiring inside the electrical panel to make sure everything is properly connected and well-grounded.
3 – If your water pump is quite old, you might want to consider replacing it with a new, more efficient model. A new pump would probably save you quite a bit on your electric bill while introducing less instability into your home’s electrical grid.
4 – Purchase an inexpensive battery backup unit / UPS for every expensive electronic device in your home. These devices provide effective protection against power surges and brownouts. In fact, when used in conjunction with a whole-house surge protector, they provide the best protection your money can buy.
Bottom line: As long as there is a water pump connected to your home’s electrical service, you will have to deal with power surges. The best way to prevent those surges from damaging your electronic equipment is to follow the steps listed above (and as soon as possible).
I realize that you are facing a substantial investment when you do these things, but if you don’t do them you’ll probably end up losing a lot more in the long run, especially if bad wiring is involved.
If you do nothing else, I strongly suggest that you have your home’s electrical panel checked out by an electrician right away.
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