Lights Dimming and Flickering


Old 09-02-00, 10:06 AM
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My lights dim when turning on any major appliance in my house. The lights even dim when I start the t.v. or computer. This is a new house(1 year old) and a new neighborhood. My lights in the room where I have a computer also flicker when running my laser printer. My power company has run tests from the ourside and say the problem is in the house. I have heard of power panels not being distributed properly. Mine is as follows:

Left Right

20 15
20 15
20 15
20 15
20 60
20 60
20 30
20 30
15 30
15 30
15 30
15 30
30 50
30 50

Is this my problem. The electrician that did the house says there is no problem in the house. Thanks!!
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Old 09-02-00, 01:01 PM
BoatMech's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Los angeles
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I suspect that you have one of two scenerios

You might have a bad connection or you might have a service that is too small or too far from you transformer.

The problem seems to be all over the structure. This tells me that you have a problem located in the main feed, or main breaker.

Check for loose connections in your panel on the line and load side of your main breaker.

Run you house with the major loads running for a 1/2 hour or so then feel the main breaker for any excess heat of the breaker. This would tell you that you have a faulty main or loose connection at the main.

Use a sensitve sweep style voltage meter and test the lines entering the main breaker each line side to ground.

I don't think you have a loose neutral because you are not complaining of lights getting brighter.

If all of these test show ok, then I would suspect the structure is starving for power because of a voltage drop or because of the service being too small.

To do a demand load of hte dwelling for a close estimate take this shortened format and calculate the demand load requiring the minimum service size of your service.

Square footage times 3 volt amps
add 1500 for the laundry and 3000 for the kitchen circuits
add all together then subtract 3000 from that answer then what you get multiply times 35% and then add back in the 3000. This will give you the general lighting load. Now add to that 7000 for electric range if electric and 5000 for an electric dryer if electric. Now add the loads in volt amps of all connected loads such as water heaters, garbage disposals, etc. Anything that is connected with a romex connector but no lighting loads. Add all connected loads together and multiply this answer by 75% if more than 4 connected loads or keep at 100% if less than 4 connected loads. Now add this to the running total with your general lighting and range a dryer. Now add in either your heat or you air conditioning which ever is larger. This is the total damand load in volt amps. Now devide that answer by 240 volts and that will give you the minimum service size required for you dwelling in anps. YOu main panel size should be at least that large. If it is smaller than that answer then chances are your panel is too small and needs to be upgraded.

If you calculte your service size to be ok then look for too much voltage drop.

Measure from the power company's transformer to your main breaker panel. This should not be more than 250' If it is more ask the utility company if they compensated and ran a large conductor to take care of voltage drop. the Voltage at your meter should not be less than 220 volts under full load. This can be measured at the main breaker.

Good Luck


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