Dimmer light switch trouble

Old 08-13-02, 01:18 PM
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Smile Dimmer light switch trouble

Hi, I just started having problems with the lights in my home and I hope someone can help. I have 4 rooms on the first floor. The 2 bedrooms and the living room all have dimmer switches, but the bathroom does not. There is a ceiling fan in the living room and in one bedroom & they are both controlled by a dimmer. So here's what's happening: When I turn on a bedroom light, the bathroom light goes out or gets very dim. If I turn on the living room light, the bedroom light won't work or gets dim. They all seem to be controlling each other, either getting very bright or very dim depending on which switch I try. I can't really figure out a pattern. Is there a short in one of the switches? Any ideas? Before this happened, I did notice some quick flickering in the living room lights. Usually just one very quick flick every once in a while. Thanks for any help. Vern
Old 08-13-02, 02:25 PM
Gary Tait
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Has this just happend, have you just done some wiring,
or has this condition always existed?
Old 08-13-02, 02:51 PM
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Hey Gary, this just started a couple of days ago. I moved in to this house about a year ago and I haven't done any wiring. I'm not sure about the previous owner. Any ideas? Thanks, Vern
Old 08-13-02, 04:03 PM
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Sounds like a loose service neutral, either in your panel or on the power company's side. I'd call the power company first, as that's less likely to cost you money. Ask if they'd kindly check this out for you to see if it's their problem. If they refuse, or say no problem, then you need an electrician to check out the wiring in your panel.
Old 08-14-02, 08:42 AM
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Check to see if you have a fused main. What I mean is to look and see if the box next to the meter outside has fuses in it.

It sounds like you have lost a leg into the house. Do you have an electric range, if so, does it work? Do you have an electric dryer or water heater? If you have any appliances that require 240 volts and they are not working, you definitely have a problem with one of the legs coming in.

If you do have fuses at either the outside disconnect or if it's an older home that uses the "screw in type" fuses you may have a blown fuse at the inside panel. If you do have fuses then you need to have a continuity tester so that you can remove the fuses and check to see that they all have continuity.

If you haven't done this before: the continuity tester will have two leads, touch one to one side of the fuse and the other to the opposite side of the fuse. The reaction you should get from the tester will be same as taking the two tester leads and putting them together. IE, if it beeps with both probes touched to each other, if the fuse is good it should do the same thing.

If you don't find any fuses and you have only breakers then I would follow John's suggestion about calling the power company first to see if they will check for any problems on their end. The troublemen are usually nice enough that if you ask they will most of the time tell you what they think the problem is.

Good Luck!! Post back with your findings.

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