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  • Flickering Lights

    My son is a third year electrical apprentice and he came home tonight and was puzzled by something he saw today. He was on a service call with his boss and they went to a house where the lights flickered anytime a meaningful load occurred. They flickered when the fridge cut in, they flickered when someone turned on the stove, and most puzzling the flickered when the home owner was running or walking on their treadmill. My son said that the lights flickered perfectly to every step made on the treadmill.

    The treadmill wasn't anything huge, he said it only was a 3Amp draw.

    His boss has said that it might be a loose neutral - does that make sense?

    The house was built in the early 1980's, has a 100 Amp panel, and the house is wired in copper.

    I'd love to be able to play this smart alec with my son and come up with the solution to the problem. I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have that may be causing the flickering lights.

  • #2
    Re: Flickering Lights

    Originally posted by STU View Post
    My son is a third year electrical apprentice and he came home tonight and was puzzled by something he saw today. He was on a service call with his boss and they went to a house where the lights flickered anytime a meaningful load occurred. They flickered when the fridge cut in, they flickered when someone turned on the stove, and most puzzling the flickered when the home owner was running or walking on their treadmill. My son said that the lights flickered perfectly to every step made on the treadmill.

    The treadmill wasn't anything huge, he said it only was a 3Amp draw.

    His boss has said that it might be a loose neutral - does that make sense?

    The house was built in the early 1980's, has a 100 Amp panel, and the house is wired in copper.

    I'd love to be able to play this smart alec with my son and come up with the solution to the problem. I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have that may be causing the flickering lights.
    I'm not a sparky, but a loose neutral sounds right. When you have loads going on and off the voltage will fluctuate. If the loads are balanced the voltage will be 120, but if they are not balanced; one leg will be higher than the other (hence the flicker). It is an unsafe condition that needs to be corrected.

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    • #3
      Re: Flickering Lights

      Yep, had one on Monday. The lights flickered when you closed any door near the kitchen. It was a loose wire nut on a pair of neutrals in a two gang box controling lights for the kitchen/dining room.

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      • #4
        Re: Flickering Lights

        I would go with loose nuetral as well.

        If it is the whole house doing it, I would go right to the panel and or meter enclosure. If that doesn't fix it, it could possibly be a corroded nuetral connection at the service entrance point of connection.

        Jeff

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        • #5
          Re: Flickering Lights

          Thanks for the replies - you guys are great. Yes, all of the lights in the house would flicker so it sounds like his boss was on the mark.

          Your comments were truly appreciated,
          Stu

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