Is upgrading a circuit panel the answer?

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Old 01-02-10, 04:09 PM
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Is upgrading a circuit panel the answer?

I recently purchased a home, and when I use any of the major electrical appliances (washer/dryer, microwave, and garbage disposal in particular- which are all located on different floors but in the same area of the house), all of the lights in the house flicker. Since the furnace has been on this winter, some of them don't work or don't work at full power when the furnace is running. I have a 100AMP circuit panel. Do you think that increasing to a 200 or 220 would fix this problem, or does it sound like something else is at work? Thanks!
 

Last edited by pcboss; 01-02-10 at 04:21 PM. Reason: changed title for better responses
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Old 01-02-10, 04:25 PM
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Several questions, How old is the electric service to the house? Overhead or underground?

How long has this problem been going on?

How do you know that thing are not running at full power?

Do the lights get brighter or dimmer?

WHat brand is the panel?

None of the appliances you list create that major of a draw on your system to create problems. A gas furnace only has a blower motor that only draws a few amps.
 
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Old 01-02-10, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by gmh2175 View Post
I recently purchased a home, and when I use any of the major electrical appliances (washer/dryer, microwave, and garbage disposal in particular- which are all located on different floors but in the same area of the house), all of the lights in the house flicker.
Ok if the light flicker if one of the major appliances kicked in even you use the vacumm cleaner do the flicker or just get brigher or dimmed ?

Since the furnace has been on this winter, some of them don't work or don't work at full power when the furnace is running. I have a 100AMP circuit panel. Do you think that increasing to a 200 or 220 would fix this problem, or does it sound like something else is at work? Thanks!
Maybe maybe not all it depending on how well is the exsting system as PCboss cover the basic question but some case you may have loose connection but it can happend one of few locations before I get too far with my answer first answer PCboss question first then deal with my answer next after this.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 01-02-10, 05:38 PM
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PC Boss and French277V-
1) I don't know how old the electrical system is, but I'd guess not older than 20 years. It is a circuit breaker system, not fuses. The electrical wiring into this house is overhead.

2) the problem of lights flickering has been going on since I bought the house, about 6 months. The appliances not working at full power has only been about two weeks, since I've had the heat on full time. Basically what happened is that the washer stopped and wouldn't spin (but didn't have a total electrical failure), and then the dryer made a sound like it was trying to start but the engine wouldn't turn over. They're plugged into separate outlets on opposite walls in the basement. To me it seemed like they just weren't getting enough power to work correctly. A similar thing has been happening with the microwave. It just doesn't sound like it's working at fill power and it takes longer to heat things.

3) In the kitchen, the lights lower when I use the garbage disposal or the microwave and then come back on full strength when I stop. When I use the vacuum or the refrigerator fan turns on, the lights throughout the house, not just near the appliance brighten for a second and then return to normal. This also happens when the furnace kicks on. When the washer or dishwasher are on, the lights flicker differently according to the cycle that the machine is on.

4) The panel brand was hard for me to figure out. I think Crouse-Hinds.

Someone suggested the panel upgrade, but he wasn't 100% sure it'd fix the problem, so I wanted to do a little research before making any decisions. Thanks for any help!
 
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Old 01-02-10, 06:18 PM
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Ok now that pretty classic sign now .,

First part what you should do is call the POCO to check their side to verify the connections is good if not they will have to fix it if all good then we will give you the guideline what to do next.,

Oh by the way tell the POCO you have loose netural connection issue or partal power outage they will come out pretty fast and useally not charge anything on that one.

once the POCO verify the system on their side then we will tell you what to do next this part is very important to follow our safety advise here if you feel not confotabale we can understand and just call the electrician to come out and they can take care of that for you if you want to go that route but for now let take care the POCO side first that is free and let us know how it come out.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 01-02-10, 06:21 PM
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I agree with Marc, call your power company. sooner is better, before you lose electronics and shorten motor life.
 
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Old 01-02-10, 06:38 PM
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Main electrical connections to a house or building can work themselves loose over time!

These are "high amperage" connections and are sort of in a world of their own. They even need to be installed with a torque wrench to a specified tightness or they many not make a good enough connection. (Then the connection will become warm/hot with electric use, then cool down when everything is shut off. So warm, cool, warm, cool, etc. Then they work themselves loose.)

A not uncommon problem.

So I agree, have the electric company "retorque your lug nuts"!
 
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Old 01-02-10, 06:40 PM
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Thanks to you both, I'll call the power company on Monday and follow up from there!
 
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Old 01-02-10, 07:00 PM
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No need to wait. The power company should be able to send a trouble truck around the clock.
 
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Old 01-02-10, 07:05 PM
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Just call them they never close the door at all so they will come out anytime.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 01-04-10, 08:24 PM
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Smile Fixed!

Hi all,
Just wanted to say thanks for the advice. PECO came out tonight and said the connection was bad (old). The guy replaced it and it seems to have fixed the problem. I'm so glad I found this forum!
 
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Old 01-04-10, 08:39 PM
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I second that. This forum is great! Yeah, I have to agree with everyone else that's given you a solution...never hesitate to call the power company when it's a potentially critical problem. Issues with the whole house power system are usually indicative of something major being loose, or failing. Those things can and will end up in disaster, most of the time.
 
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