Is there an electrician in the house?

27 Jan

In the Peace Factory we have 3-phase supply but we don’t have any equipment that uses 3-phase.

For some reason the supply trips out and we have to go the box by the meter to reset the switch. This is directly where the supply comes in from the grid.

The loading is 2 water heaters, 6 electric radiators, lights for 6 rooms and occasionally a dishwasher and a washing machine.

Clearly the installation is capable of handling much bigger loads (it used to have a foundry on the ground floor!).

So my question is: what could be causing it to trip? Could the trip be faulty? Could the problem be on the supply side? Do we have some faulty wiring?

Any advice would be appreciated before we call in an electrician.

3 Responses to “Is there an electrician in the house?”

  1. George (Cantuarian) 29 January 2013 at 23:54 #

    Richard, all Mains (AC) electricity is 3 phase: however in UK the phases are separated , usually one phase in each street or to a group of houses, except in industrial buildings. In th continent, however, it is not unusual for a house to have all 3 phases, often with different phases on diferent circuits, so for instance ground floor could be on Phase 1, 1st floor on Phase 2, 2nd floor on phase 3, though I have seen (in the balkans) a house with 3 sockets in a room, each one on a different phase: potentially dangerous as at any one time due to phasing, the difference in potential between 2 sockets could be 480 volts.

    Peace Factory is an old Mill isn’t it? if so it is likely to have 3 phase all over it. One of the issues in converting an indistrial building to domestic use.

    In a 3 phase system, tripping can be caused by imbalanced loads across the phases, but also in France on each phase: the mains power loads can be set at differing wattage levels. In an older house the trip level is often set quite low as it is only recently that we have used high current/wattage machines like tumble dryers etc. Thus they will trip out if, for instance you have a wasnhing machine, tumble dryer and iron on at the same time You need to get a sparky from EDF to come and check it: he will add up what your maximum load is and reset the trips or upgrade them to cope (as long as the wiring is up to it). I think that in France there are diffeent tariffs depending on what power loads you require for your supply. Freind of mine had the same problem with an old french house when he put all his moderrn electic stuff in: the EDF chap came along and reset the levels and all was fine and dandy.I think the standards are 3KW, 6 KW, 9.5 KW and 12 KW. You are probably on 3 KW and need to go to 6 or 9.5.

    At the same time it would be worth discussing how the phasing should work around the building, and whether the wiring circjuits should be re-aligned to even out the phasing. Alternatively they effectively shut off 2 of the phases (but in a way that won’t unbalance the phases).

    If it is a large building with several apartments in it, they will probably reccomend each of the apartments husing one of the phases.

    • Richard Romain 30 January 2013 at 09:12 #

      Thank you George. Very useful. When are you moving to France?

      • George 31 January 2013 at 01:15 #

        Well I am not an expert leccy but hopefully that helps you ask a professional the right questions. Hopefully we will be there in June (in 16210) so we’ll take a run down and see you. Will keep in touch

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