Outside lights Flickering

Old 12-07-06, 05:59 AM
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Outside lights Flickering

New Detached garage built last summer.

Electrical installed by certified Electrician with permit and inspections by the City.

Main power source to garage is from a 30amp two pole Circuit on main panel in the house to load centre in the garage. All Lights are on single circuit - three flourescent cold weather fixtures inside and three incadscent fixtures outside (single 40w bulbs in each). Inside lights are on one switch, and two outside lights (adjacent to garage door) are one switch while the third outside fixture (adjacent to passage door on side of garage) is on its own switch.

Two of the outside lights are flickering - one of the lights on the two light switch and the one that is separate.

I think it may be faulty fixtures (they were cheap, but CSA Approved outside fixtures), there is no other fluctuations in power in the garage, either on the outlets or the flouescent fixtures. The fixtures were installed and caulked as per installation instructions - flush mounted and a continuous bead around with 1/4" gap at bottom to allow for drainage of any water that might infiltrate.

I can replace the fixtures myself, but if the thought here that there might be a bigger problem, I would call in the original electrician.

Other factors that may or may not be relevant:

Uninsulated / unheated garage. It's cold and wet in my area. Regular wind driven rain up to a few weeks ago, now snow. Average daytime temp is about -3C, nighttime as low as -10C, but usually about -5C. The outside light fixtures are about 1'6" below the eave, and the eave extedns well beyond the light fixtures. No eave gutters. NO signs of water penetratrion inside the garage.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by Davis_NF; 12-07-06 at 06:02 AM. Reason: typo
Old 12-07-06, 08:35 AM
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if the lights flicker in harmony, i would tend to think a wire joint may be bad. Since of the two lights on the same switch, only one is flickering, I doubt a hot wire.

Without knowing the sequence of the circuit, it's impossible to tell from here but I would suspect a neutral connection that would be common to only the lights that are flickering.

Sometimes temp and humidity changes do things like this if the joints were questionable to start with.
Old 12-07-06, 08:51 AM
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Flickering lights is caused by either a loose connection or a heavy load cycling on.

Any motor load that kicks on can cause flickering like a freezer, sump pump, air handler, etc. If you can eliminate that as the cause, then you should look for a loose connection. The easiest place to start is the light fixtures themselves; the contacts in the bulb sockets may be bent and not provide a good connection to the bulb. Next, I would check the connections at the lightswitch; make sure the wires are securely fastened around the screw terminals and that all of the wirenuts in the box are tight. This is the most likely place for the problem I think.

Next, the fixtures themselves; the wirenuts that come with light fixtures are junk make sure the fixtures are connected with good wirenuts. Continue checking connections working your way back toward the main panel until you find something loose.

Last edited by ibpooks; 12-07-06 at 09:02 AM.

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