# hair dryer slower in new house

Sorry for the amateur question ahead of time :).
I recently moved from an apartment to a house and my wife mentioned that the hair dryer doesn't 'blow' as hard as it did in the apartment.
I laughed at her and said it was her imagination. Later, I tried it and she was right! The apartment complex was probably built in the 80's while the house was built in the 50's. I'd always thought 110vAC was 110vAC regardless of where you were. Is this a common phenomenom? Any suggested solutions?
-Kevin
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110 is not 110 everywhere. In fact, the standard value these days is 120 V. It doesn't take much difference in voltage to do what you are observing, maybe 5 to 10 volts lower. Or maybe the apartment complex had a higher voltage than normal. Perhaps now in the house you will find that incandescent bulbs will last longer!! By the way, when motors turn on and off, do your lights get either brighter or dimmer? --Phil
kevincw01 wrote:

--
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
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On Tue, 31 Jan 2006 12:54:10 -0800, kevincw01 wrote:

Measure the voltage under load. I'm not certain, but 50's COULD mean aluminium wiring (I'm not sure when aluminium was most common, it may have been slightly later, the building I lived in had aluminium wiring and was built in the early 60s).
Aluminium wiring is prone to "loosening" of connections, which could manifest as a voltage drop when drawing alot of current.
Even if you don't have aluminium it's still a good idea to measure your voltage with no load and with full load.
Are you noticing any other weird effects (i.e. lights dimmer or brighter then they should, lights dimming alot when you turn the TV on or the fridge starts up, etc)?
TTYL
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Yes, I notice that when I switch on the hair dryer, the lights in the bathroom dim for a split second. Also, in the garage the same happens with a 110v dryer or washer.
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Sorry the AL craze was mostly the 70's. '50 would definately be copper.

All wiring is subject to loosening over time. Unless a compression tool is used.

Check all the connections in the panel/service especially the ground connection. See if that helps.
Just turning the screw another half turn is the wrong concept.
If your not familiar with this best to call a pro or your landlord. Heavy loads on older wiring can be an issue. Houses in the '50's did not have many circuits like today's requirements.
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SQLit wrote:

In what I have read major use of aluminum branch circuits started about 1965. 1971 UL removed its Al listing on wire and devices. 1972 UL had new alloy wire and CO/ALR devices (which didn't fix oxide problems).
Failing connections don't necessarily produce flickering lights or large voltage drops. (And an AFCI won't see an arc, if there is one, since they don't detect series arcs - a feature that will be required starting 2008).
bud--
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My current home is 1977 and all AL. Another home I had was circa 1971 and all AL. When I first started running wire for homes in the late 60's everything was copper except for large loads. It was about 1973 ish when AL romex became prevelant.
AL devices are sold with UL at lots of places, I just bought some at ACE Hardware.

Arc Faults are required now in all bedrooms in new construction.
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SQLit wrote:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission investigated aluminum wiring to the point they apparently tried to force a recall. Their pamphlet says:
"Homes built before 1965 are unlikely to have aluminum branch circuit wiring. Homes built, rooms added, and circuits rewired or added between 1965 and 1973 may contain aluminum wiring.
"In 1972, manufacturers modified both aluminum wire and switches and outlets to improve the performance of aluminum wired connections. Sale of the old style wire, switches and outlets still on dealers' shelves however, continued after 1972."
The CPSC estimates 2 million homes were wired with aluminum wire. IIRC something caused the price of copper to spike (maybe a strike) making aluminum very attractive for a while. My understanding is that copper prices coming down plus the bad reputation aluminum wiring got killed its use for branch circuits although it remained on the market back then.
bud--
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wrote:

IAEI magazine has an article on aluminum this month. It is from Alcan so there may be some bias. http://magazine.iaei.org/magazine/06_a/hunter.html
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Information derived from CPSC research centers quite a bit on oxide problems, maybe because todays aluminum wire still has an oxide problem, same as "old technology" wire. And also that properly installed aluminum connections can fail. But I don't think there is any major conflict between the CPSC research and the IAEI article.
The article says "installing aluminum building wire as simple as installing copper" which I think is untrue because of oxide problems. It says oxides form on copper like aluminum, but IIRC copper oxides are not an insulator and certainly are not the problem aluminum oxides are. And to wirebrush copper (which I have never heard of anyone doing) and apply antioxide paste to copper (ditto). I would attribute this to "some bias".
Other than that I thought the article was really interesting and I learned a few things. Thanks for posting it.
bud--
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OK, I'm going to have to go buy a multimeter because this morning my wife and I couldn't get the wrinkles out of our clothes using our iron. It felt hot, but it obviously wasn't because my shirt's wrinkles wouldn't come out. This was on a different outlet in a different room too!
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You may also have problems even if you determine you have copper wiring. Consider that you may have undersized wiring, overloaded circuits, a general state of bad or corroded connections in the devices (receptacles, etc.), or even an undersized electrical service. A good electrician will be able to determine the source of the problem. Keyword here is good.
A few things you can do:
1. Stick a voltmeter in the outlet where the hairdryer is plugged in, note the voltage difference while starting and running the hairdryer. More than 5 volts drop is abnormal and you are in risk of starting a fire.
2. Turn on all the lights and turn the hairdryer on an off a couple of times to see which lights dim; this will indicate how much of your wiring is on this circuit.
- If just the bathroom dims, you may have a single weak or undersized circuit (should be 20 amps at the breaker panel #12 AWG wire).
- If the whole house dims, you probably need an electrical service upgrade. You can double check this by turning on the stove, oven, dryer, all the lights, plug in the iron and hairdryer, toaster, microwave... JUST KIDDING. You DON'T want to do that prior to having an electrician inspect your wiring.
- If a large number of lights dim, but not all, this outlet may be on a overloaded or overconnected circuit. You may need to get an electrician to run some dedicated 20 amp circuits for: bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, etc. where you use high power appliances.
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Fisted Crapper!!!!
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