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Rinnai R53i damaged from power surge from utility power

jc1972jc1972 Member Posts: 1
Hello,

A power surge from a neutral being disconnected at the xformer when my neighbors tree fell has damaged several items in my home. We lost the control board on the furnace, an alarm clock, malfunctioning water filter and the Rinnai won't work. Here's what I know so far: The R53i has an optional wired control "remote" and it was dead. Consumer tech support (as much as allowed) advised to disconnect and retry. I still have no water and no attempt to ignite when water is flowing through the unit. I looked in the paperwork and the obvious thing seemed like the surge protector, but I checked the terminals for continuity as described and I do have continuity. I checked the glass fuses and they are intact. I realize a component on the board has failed or perhaps a sensor but I wondered if anyone could advise of any other common things to check and the procedure. I am somewhat familiar with electricity but no electronics expert. I am trying to repair myself to save money and I always find that I do a better job than paying someone else. I've had a remodel business for 12 years but I don't have a sub that I know personally to hire this out to but I did make contact with a local Rinnai certified business which I will go to if this is too much trouble. Just wondered if anyone had any tips/tricks on what might be wrong. I appreciate your time.

Comments

  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,106
    Your homeowners insurance should cover that.

    It's probable some things saw a lot more than 120v if the neutral became disconnected so something in the circuitry has probably been fried.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    edited March 2015
    BobC said:

    Your homeowners insurance should cover that.
    ...

    Bob

    Depends on the policy the homeowner has. HO-1 won't cover power surges. HO-2/HO-3 will.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    The neighbor's insurance may be on the hook for at least part of this.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Understand that when the Neutral is lost, the other two feeds become an alternate neutral. They try to balance off each other. Normally, each leg of 110 volts caries that voltage and the other side goes to ground or the neutral. When they are paired together on a 220 volt circuit,, the other leg becomes the neutral. They alternate during their 60 cycles. When you loose a neutral, it creates an imbalance and one side can rise to 180 volts while the other side drops to 60 volts. Two appliances can be side by side, each one on the opposite sides of the 220 volts in the panel. Sparks can jump from one appliance to the other looking for the ground. You can sit in a room with two lighting circuits on separate sides. One light bulb is as bright as the sun, another is barely lit. Anyone that notices such a thing is wise to not touch anything, not even the telephone (unless it is a cell phone) and call the power company. Tell them that you think you have lost your neutral and the lights are alternating. There will soon be skid marks in front of your house from a line truck.

    If you lost your neutral, your heater needs a lot of careful care. And any other appliances like Microwaves, TV's and refrigerators. You never know where it went or what happened.

    Sometimes, if you are in the presence of a lost neutral in a house, the hair on your neck or head will stand up. Scary.

  • Larry_52Larry_52 Member Posts: 181
    icesailor said:

    Understand that when the Neutral is lost, the other two feeds become an alternate neutral. They try to balance off each other. Normally, each leg of 110 volts caries that voltage and the other side goes to ground or the neutral. When they are paired together on a 220 volt circuit,, the other leg becomes the neutral. They alternate during their 60 cycles. When you loose a neutral, it creates an imbalance and one side can rise to 180 volts while the other side drops to 60 volts. Two appliances can be side by side, each one on the opposite sides of the 220 volts in the panel. Sparks can jump from one appliance to the other looking for the ground. You can sit in a room with two lighting circuits on separate sides. One light bulb is as bright as the sun, another is barely lit. Anyone that notices such a thing is wise to not touch anything, not even the telephone (unless it is a cell phone) and call the power company. Tell them that you think you have lost your neutral and the lights are alternating. There will soon be skid marks in front of your house from a line truck.

    If you lost your neutral, your heater needs a lot of careful care. And any other appliances like Microwaves, TV's and refrigerators. You never know where it went or what happened.

    Sometimes, if you are in the presence of a lost neutral in a house, the hair on your neck or head will stand up. Scary.

    Wtf..
  • JackJack Member Posts: 1,044
    Larry said:

    icesailor said:

    Understand that when the Neutral is lost, the other two feeds become an alternate neutral. They try to balance off each other. Normally, each leg of 110 volts caries that voltage and the other side goes to ground or the neutral. When they are paired together on a 220 volt circuit,, the other leg becomes the neutral. They alternate during their 60 cycles. When you loose a neutral, it creates an imbalance and one side can rise to 180 volts while the other side drops to 60 volts. Two appliances can be side by side, each one on the opposite sides of the 220 volts in the panel. Sparks can jump from one appliance to the other looking for the ground. You can sit in a room with two lighting circuits on separate sides. One light bulb is as bright as the sun, another is barely lit. Anyone that notices such a thing is wise to not touch anything, not even the telephone (unless it is a cell phone) and call the power company. Tell them that you think you have lost your neutral and the lights are alternating. There will soon be skid marks in front of your house from a line truck.

    If you lost your neutral, your heater needs a lot of careful care. And any other appliances like Microwaves, TV's and refrigerators. You never know where it went or what happened.

    Sometimes, if you are in the presence of a lost neutral in a house, the hair on your neck or head will stand up. Scary.

    Wtf..
    Well, there is a lot going on electronically in that situation, which Ice has alluded to, and his point is, you don't know where it is going to squirt out. Quite literally that is what happens and what Ice said, I think
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    WTF?

    If you've never been in a building that has lost its neutral, and it is active, looking for a place to go, it will scare the crap out of you. Listen to a refrigerator motor run and speed up and down. Sometimes a big hum. Lights alternately getting super bright, then dim. From my personal experience, I consider lost neutrals just a step below lightning strikes. Both can severely injure you or kill your @$$. Lightning after strikes hurt like hell.
  • Larry_52Larry_52 Member Posts: 181
    edited March 2015
    If the neutral floats and your gound is incapable of providing the return path, the neutral potential will raise to a phase to ground volts. So the L1 & L2 of a standard 240V incoming feed will lose their 0V reference on the neutral and you end up with half the panel at reduce voltage and the other half high. Also if the neutral break is at the xfmr and there are multiple houses fed your ground could become your neighbor's return and vice versa (depending who has the best return to earth). This is what breaks equipment, and it is not a surge per se.

    So sparks jumping from appliance to appliance or the hair on neck standing up is a bit off base. Considering it takes on average 10,000V's to jump 1/2 inch from conductor to conductor in air. The sparks you would see would be melted insulation causing a short circuit between conductors.

    The mystisim behind this is that the electrical loads are looking for return paths. So if your ground to the water pipe and ground rod is incomplete or bad you can end up with coax cable or other electrical natured utilities that are tied to your homes ground system raising potential. This just leads to burning of insulation with the amperage exceeding the ground paths, coax or other type low voltage utility bonded to the houses ground.

    The real danger is having old BX style cable without seperate ground conductor (now called MC which has a seperate ground) where the neutral conductor raised to line voltage and a bad bond on the BX to a box will cause the metal shield to raise to line voltage. This will then seek a return to ground and you could be its victim.

    There is no lightning or ionizing of the air around you ice.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    I'll take your word for it that what happened, didn't.

    That an owner had a Square D 100 amp panel with the old cloth SE cable and an outside weather head connections. That water did NOT travel UP the wire through capillary attraction/action, run down and drip on to the neutral bad, corroding the connection of the neutral. The owner called the boss and said that something was wrong, that there were sparks jumping from the dishwasher to the refrigerator and that he had called the electrician and the power company. When I got there, the power was off. The old dead linemen told me that they always cut a slit in the insulation to let the water out of the insulation so it didn't travel up the wire and into the panel. I saw a lot of white scuzz on panels. I didn't question the owner as to what happened.

    he old long dead head of the line department where I worked used to say to all that listened. It only takes Millivolts to kill you. Stops your heart. Maybe in retrospect, it was Milliamps. I don't care. I'm not touching it.
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