Dimming and Brightening of Lights

Old 01-30-12, 06:54 AM
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Dimming and Brightening of Lights

So, it appears we only have 15 amps to our entire upstairs (2 bedrooms and bathroom), which seems very strange for a 200 amp panel, but now explains why our lights dim and brighten when we use the clothes iron and my hair straightener, and why it shorts out when I use my hair dryer on high. We are going to have the electrician look at the circuit breakers to (1) see if we can just add a 20 amp one (if it's 12 gauge wire - best case scenario), or (2) if it's 14 gauge wire, get some costs on upgrading to a 12 gauge wire, so we can get at least 20 amps (which I'm afraid of, seeing it is very strange we only have 15 amps for the entire upstairs with a 200 amp panel).

Any ideas on what the pricing for both options will run us, and how long both of these things would take? Any other suggestions on how we can make this work? I'd love to not have to rewire the whole upstairs.

Old 01-30-12, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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A bathroom has not been allowed to be on the same circuit as bedrooms for as long as I can remember. Are you sure you only have one 15 amp circuit going to the upstairs? If so, you have multiple code violations and would need at least one more circuit run upstairs. I have no idea on the price or time it would take to get it done. Get a few bids from different electricians.
Old 01-30-12, 09:49 AM
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Dimming and brightening of lights, from what I understand, ussually indicates a poor neutral connection (for sure this is true for lights that become brighter than normal). Momentary dimming can also be a result of a drop in voltage in your panel at the Buss bar, (for your clearly over-loaded 15a circuit and code violation with regard to the bathroom) DUE to a heavy current draw from high amp draw devices causing a temporary voltage drop to other bus tabs at the panel. (this is from what I understand ussually due to high start up current draw from inductive devices however). Another possibility would be that you have a Multi-Wire circuit (shared Neutral circuit) with a loose Neutral connection (always a bad thing) as it can cause a whole range of voltages to appear at your outlet box/receptacle, often way over 200v (or way under) your nominal 120v. I do only a small amount of electrical work so this is just an input from a still (and perhaps always lol) an amateur electrician.

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