Tenant claims three TVs have burned out

7 Replies

One of my tenants says that the power supply on three of his televisions have burned out. Would the electrical in the house cause something like this or are they just buying cheap TVs? Could it be the fault of the local electrical company? The tenant says there are grounding issues, but I do not see how this could be true. Thank you in advance for all constructive help.

Have you checked the output voltage?  Low ? High?  

Certainly could be grounding issues.  You can check those with an "idiot cube" tester.  Those won't guarantee its correct.  They're pretty easy to fool.  But if they show a problem there is one.

Does he have his TV's on surge protectors?  If not, he should.  Yes, electrical issues can cause failures.  These could be coming from the power company or could be getting generated inside the house.  But in either case a surge protector will help.

Originally posted by @Jon Holdman:

Certainly could be grounding issues.  You can check those with an "idiot cube" tester.  Those won't guarantee its correct.  

Jon, I can do basic wiring, but I am certainly not an electrician. My understanding of ground is that if a fault occurs in a metal object like say those old clunky drills the electricity will use the third copper wire, which must be grounded to something like the water entrance pipe, instead of shocking the person holding the metal tool.

I just do not see how grounding or lack of grounding would cause a TV to burn out. I need to understand all this before I go to the rental property. Thank you.

Originally posted by @Martin Scherer:

Have you checked the output voltage?  Low ? High?  

 Not yet.  Will use my voltmeter when I go there.

If the outlet isnt grounded, that will send the surge right into the tv, instead of what it was supposed to be grounded to.

@Steve Might  I didn't mean to imply the lack of a ground would burn out the power supply.   You said:

The tenant says there are grounding issues, but I do not see how this could be true.

I was trying to point out that grounding issues are indeed possible, not that they could necessarily be the source of the problem.

But bad wiring, which might show up as a bad ground, could cause power supplies to be damaged.  Many other things could, too, though.

I went to my rental property and measured the current as recommended. The current is consistently 119 to 121 regardless if something is plugged into the circuit or not. This is not a MWBC. It is older ungrounded two wire circuit. The insulation and wires appear to be in good shape. This city does not require it, but I had complied with the requirements of another city that makes me protect all ungrounded circuits with a GFCI. Yes I labeled this outlet “GFCI protected.” When I test the GFCI the TV outlet goes off as it should. There are only about four outlets on this circuit, and two are not being used as they are behind his couch.


The TV, VCR, a clock radio and some speakers are also plugged into this outlet via a power strip. I told him to use a true surge protector instead of just the strip. None of the other electronic units are burned out. He says there is no dimming of lights or loss of power in other appliances.
I replaced the outlet even though the old one looked fine.

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