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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    1

    Default Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    I had a 200 amp breaker panel, meter, entrance and village lines to the pole installed in and to the house. Some circuits had to have new wire due to the longer distance to the new panel location. Some of those circuits were lengthened with a junction box and the preexisting wire while some had a whole new run of wire.
    All was fine for 6 months. Then, I noticed the lights in the kitchen would blink (dim) once at night. Since then other lights blink in the house on other circuits. Its circuits with lights on BOTH sides of the panel.

    I tightened all the connections on the buss bar (neutrals and grounds). Checked the panel ground wire. I then proceeded to systematically turn off all possible sources of the dimming. I started with the obvious motors and big draws as it looks just like that when a big motor fires up and the lights dim for a second. When the weather changed and no need for A/C or heat both of those units were off. No 220 dryer or stove. That left the water heater. I replaced the breaker and re- tightened all the connections. Still dimming and still the same lights.

    There are no sources of big draws on to cause dimming now and everything is new. What have I missed?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    It sounds like you've done a lot of investigating. What does your electrician say? Have you checked with your neighbors to see if they experience the same things?

    It could be in your house, or...

    It could be out of your control: weather conditions, surge in demand for electricity, capacity control or even problems in power plants. Maybe it's time to call your power company.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,617

    Default Re: Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    Another possibility is back-stabbed outlets or loose bundle connections where the new was added onto the old. If any of these points are arcing, that can cause your dimming lights.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    Quote Originally Posted by mreddy View Post
    I had a 200 amp breaker panel, meter, entrance and village lines to the pole installed in and to the house. Some circuits had to have new wire due to the longer distance to the new panel location. Some of those circuits were lengthened with a junction box and the preexisting wire while some had a whole new run of wire.
    All was fine for 6 months. Then, I noticed the lights in the kitchen would blink (dim) once at night. Since then other lights blink in the house on other circuits. Its circuits with lights on BOTH sides of the panel.

    I tightened all the connections on the buss bar (neutrals and grounds). Checked the panel ground wire. I then proceeded to systematically turn off all possible sources of the dimming. I started with the obvious motors and big draws as it looks just like that when a big motor fires up and the lights dim for a second. When the weather changed and no need for A/C or heat both of those units were off. No 220 dryer or stove. That left the water heater. I replaced the breaker and re- tightened all the connections. Still dimming and still the same lights.

    There are no sources of big draws on to cause dimming now and everything is new. What have I missed?
    Both good answers guys.

    When you say "blink" is this just while a big load is starting or just random?
    If when a big load is starting it could be just due to voltage drop because of long wires or poor connections.

    If some lights and some get brighter it could be due to a loose neutral at your service drop outside. Which is very serious.

    First off call your power company and explain your problem. They will check out their connections ..free of charge, before you have to recheck yours.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,335

    Default Re: Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    Do have your power company check this out- most of them will 'unofficially' check the tightness of the connections into your panel while they are there with the meter out if you ask them to, even though this is not their responsibility. Looseness or corrosion here can lead to ashes where a house used to be so it's well worth checking!

    Phil

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    I have the same issue except my problem seems to stem from a small drop when the neighbors central air conditioner turns on. We are connected to the same transformer and apparently this is enough to cause an issue. If you or a neighbor have central air it's one thing to also taken into account which can otherwise be forgotten when trying to pinpoint a problem like this.
    My advice and opinions come from hands on knowledge...and This Old House Hidden Content

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    Quote Originally Posted by dcalabro View Post
    I have the same issue except my problem seems to stem from a small drop when the neighbors central air conditioner turns on. We are connected to the same transformer and apparently this is enough to cause an issue. If you or a neighbor have central air it's one thing to also taken into account which can otherwise be forgotten when trying to pinpoint a problem like this.
    Have you contacted your utility company?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    Quote Originally Posted by dcalabro View Post
    I have the same issue except my problem seems to stem from a small drop when the neighbors central air conditioner turns on. We are connected to the same transformer and apparently this is enough to cause an issue. If you or a neighbor have central air it's one thing to also taken into account which can otherwise be forgotten when trying to pinpoint a problem like this.
    I believe you nailed it dcalabro. If the transformer (typical) feeding both homes has a number "10" stenciled on it it is only rated for 10,000 Watts (10 Kw). A typical emergency heater (heat strip) in a home is 10 Kw, the next largest loads are the heat pump 7.2 Kw), the range (5 Kw) and the water heater (4.5 Kw). So this is about all the load one transformer can handle.

    If two homes are fed from the same 10 Kw transformer and two or more big loads come on together you can expect dimming to occur, normally. During peak hours of heating or cooling during meal time this can easily happen, especially since starting current is often 1.5 times running current, for a motor.

    The power company will usually feed users with wire which is too small for modern loads. #6 aluminum wire is only rated for 69 Amps but the power company will often use it to feed a home with a 200A service.

    If the distance between the transformer and the house is 100 ft or more and connections are not perfect, dimming is inevitable.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,419

    Default Re: Dimming/ Blinking Lights - Everything is New - Tried everything I know to fix it

    If it was good for 6 months and then this just started, it is possible that the wires connected to the LV bushings on teh transformer were installed dry instead of using the conductive grease. Now there is some corrosion.

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