Lights dim when Outlets are used


Old 07-25-07, 11:09 AM
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Lights dim when Outlets are used

My garage had extra outlets installed by the previous owner and it appears that he tapped these outlets off of the overhead light.
Whenever I run one of my power tools from an outlet the lights dim slightly, this also happens when the wife plugs in her iron for ironing clothes.

Is this a safety hazard? What could be causing this to happen?

I did find that apparently, the original wiring for the garage lights, etc are tied to the same breaker that also feeds half of the Living Room outlets, which means that the living room (1/2 of it) and all of the Garage are on the same breaker. Is this the Problem?

I am open to any and all suggestions.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:16 AM
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The problem is voltage drop.

As the current gets higher the voltage drops off. This makes the light dimmer. it also makes the motors on the tools work harder. It may be enough to damage them, over time.

I would be especially concerned about the living room, especially if you have an expensive television set or home theater.

The solution, of course is to run a new circuit to the garage.

Some dimming is common, and is why in more expensive homes the lighting and receptacles are segregated to separate circuits.
Old 07-25-07, 02:04 PM
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> Is this a safety hazard?

As long as the dimming only happens when you use a high current device like an iron, vacuum cleaner or power tool it is not a safety hazard, but can have detrimental effects on motors and electronics. It is an unfortunate consequence of voltage drop as described by Bob. As you suspect, this problem develops as a result of having too many things on one circuit which is very common in older homes.
Old 07-26-07, 10:29 AM
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Thanks ibpooks & racraft for the advice. I was planning on hiring an electrician to run a separate circiut for the garage.
Hopefullit won't be very expensive.

Again Thanks

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