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Electrical Repairs for Lights that Flicker or Dim
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How to Identify the Cause of Flickering or Dim Light Fixtures: There are a few causes of dim or flickering lights that will be identified as you consider the following questions about the condition and occurrences. Does it seem that all of the home power is affected or just one circuit…
Flickering or Dimming Lights
Should I call the electrician back?
Also last week we had our air conditioner fixed but even with that off the lights still dim and flicker.
What do you think the problem might be? Any suggestions will be appreciated.
This electrical wiring question came from: Lakeisha, from Cleveland, Mississippi.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Lakeisha.
How to Identify the Cause of Flickering or Dim Light Fixtures
Skill Level: Advanced – Should be performed only by a Licensed Electrical Contractor and may require the Local Utility Company or electric service provider.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester or Multimeter.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and troubleshoot and inspect electrical circuits and electrical system components.
Precaution: Depending on the symptoms, identify the main panel or panel circuit in question, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Burnt or damaged electrical wiring and circuit components should be replaced with new electrical materials of the same voltage and amperage rating.
There are a few causes of dim or flickering lights that will be identified as you consider the following questions about the condition and occurrences:
- Does the flickering happen all the time, or just during certain times of the day?
If the home is located near a large city then you may be experiencing voltage levels that are dropping due to electrical loads on the utility grid. An electric power recording meter may be installed on the main power line for a few days to record the levels of voltage and determine if adjustments are needed within the local utility grid. Typically the local electric utility company will provide this service.
- Do the lights dim when specific equipment is started, such as an air conditioner or the furnace.?
This is typically an indication that a dedicated circuit may be required for the larger equipment or that the main home electrical panel may need to be upgraded.
- Does it seem that all of the home power is affected or just one circuit?
If all of the home power is affected then all of the above should be considered, however if the problem is mainly flickering lights then there is most likely a problem with the main electrical panel or the service from the utility company to the house panel, and special attention should focus on the utility cable service entrance splice, terminal connections at the main lugs, and the electric meter socket. If the electric utility service checks out OK then all the main service cables of the main house panel should be carefully checked. Note that most electric utility companies ate responsible for the service wiring to the primary connection to the home or to the primary side of the electric meter socket, find out the specifics from your local electric utility company.
- If the flickering and dimming seems to affect only one circuit then the circuit needs to be identified and all of the devices of that circuit, including light switches and the light fixtures. These identified devices will all need to be checked starting with inspecting the junction box wiring of the ceiling light fixtures. Ceiling light fixtures with standard incandescent light bulbs create heat which can cause the wire spices inside the ceiling light fixture junction box to become brittle and deteriorate and cause intermittent circuit performance to the point of circuit failure, and in some cases this can even cause a fire.
Repairing Damaged Electrical System Components
Damaged electrical components and electrical wiring will need to be properly repaired to avoid further electrical failures and damage.
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