pulsing can mostly seen in the light fixtures however you can hear it in the vent fans aswell

I live in south Jersey and for the last two weeks my house's electrical grid has been wanky. I had pseg (utility company) check they said they don't see an issue from their side. I then had a local electrician come to assess the issue and he said the issues is from the melted mane neutral wire in the breaker box. see attached photo. Im not an electrician but can that be the issue? enter image description here enter image description here

  • What's the question? Where's the attached photo?
    – popham
    Jan 25 at 22:49
  • Did they actually come out and check? Or did they poll their meter electronically?... Is their meter 5-jaw (unlikely)? Because if it's not 5-jaw, the meter does not have access to the neutral wire, and has no idea what's going on with neutral. Any chance you own a Kill-A-Watt power monitor? It's a simple, safe way for 100% unskilled people to take voltage measurements. Check voltages all over your house, are some above 120V and others below 120V? Jan 25 at 22:50
  • thanks I'm new to the updated version
    – Joseph Wit
    Jan 25 at 22:57
  • they came out the first time, told my wife they tested the meter with some device that checks.
    – Joseph Wit
    Jan 25 at 23:00

2 Answers 2


melted mane neutral wire in the breaker box

Assuming no horses were harmed in the writing of this post, you've got a serious problem.

A melted neutral is not a normal thing. If your electrician actually saw that, he had a responsibility (morally if not legally) to either:

  • Shut off your power for safety


  • Tell you roughly how much it would cost to fix it and fix it


  • If he felt confident that the problem really came from the utility side, contact the utility to get them out there to fix it.

And could actually be a mix of those - e.g., cut power and call utility, or get utility to fix their part and then proceed to repair the panel.

A "lost neutral", which can be a broken wire, loose wire or melted wire (which can start as a loose wire, heats up, melts) is a serious problem.

The problem may be as simple as an improperly attached neutral in your panel. If that is indeed the case, the solution is simple:

  • Disconnect power somewhere upstream - that may be a main breaker in a meter main, it may be pulling the meter (though if that's the way to cut power then this should a Rule of 6 panel, and it doesn't look like one) or it may be a disconnect somewhere.
  • Remove the neutral wire.
  • Cut off the burnt/melted part and cut off enough insulation to expose sufficient replacement wire.
  • Insert the neutral wire and torque it to the specification on the panel label. If the label is gone, contact Eaton to find out the correct torque.
  • Reconnect power.
  • None got hurt I hope 🤔 I thought that's what it was 😆
    – Joseph Wit
    Jan 26 at 0:42

I then had a local electrician come to assess the issue and he said the issues is from the melted mane neutral wire in the breaker box. see attached photo

Your description is absolutely consistent with a "Lost Neutral". 90% of the time that's in the overhead service drop, but it looks to me like your electrician found the problem. Fix that and Bob's your uncle.

Not sure why he didn't just fix it, there should be no current on it if the main breaker is off.

  • so you're all agreeing that bit of gunk is causing this whole issue...he said he's not certified to work on the panel and his boss will be back next week
    – Joseph Wit
    Jan 25 at 23:12
  • 2
    @Joseph The "gunk" is probably noalox paste, which is fine. The fellow seems to be indicating that the neutral wire is burned up with possible thermal damage and annealed or burnt wire strands. It may need to be cut back a few inches. If there's no slack, a Polaris connector may be needed to pigtail it. None of this is a huge job. So on the off chance it isn't here, can you walk your service drop wire (from pole to your house) and look closely at the bare carrier wire and see if it is broken or hanging by the other 2 wires on either end? That's the usual suspect. Jan 25 at 23:28

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