Lights blinking. Blame electric company or breakers?

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-07-13, 07:51 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Exclamation Lights blinking. Blame electric company or breakers?

Hello, every now and then (like today) the lights have been blinking and causing the AC's thermostats to make a rattling noise for a while. It seems the whole house isn't immune to it, but some rooms do it worse.

Should I blame the breakers and get an electrician ? Or call the power company ? They put in a new transformer around a year ago when we got new neighbors.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-07-13, 09:00 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,587
This sounds like it may be a problem in the panel that is going to take some troubleshooting skills while working in a hot panel. I would suggest calling a professional.

Lighting should not affect air conditioning loads.
 
  #3  
Old 09-08-13, 12:26 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Hm. I remember last time I flipped this breaker it made a pop and shot out sparks. Maybe the breaker went bad/melted ?
 
  #4  
Old 09-08-13, 04:48 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,051
It could be loose on the bus bar or the busbar could be coroded or pitted. Isn't a Federal Pacific or Zinsco panel is it?
 
  #5  
Old 09-08-13, 07:30 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 6
I really have no idea what it is. I probably could look later today. We heard no sizzling like when a breaker melted on us and started sizzling though. We still have plastic built up in there from where the hot water heater breaker melted against it.
 
  #6  
Old 09-08-13, 07:41 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,051
We still have plastic built up in there from where the hot water heater breaker melted against it.
Beginning to read like you need a new panel.
 
  #7  
Old 09-08-13, 07:42 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Yikes. We were quoted at $600-800 on replacing the whole thing with better breakers.
 
  #8  
Old 09-08-13, 07:47 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,051
We were quoted at $600-800 on replacing the whole thing with better breakers.
About half the usual price in my part of Texas but maybe you are in a small town. Where I am only a Master can pull the permit. Was this a licensed electrician? That's more of a bootleg price where I am. We need to know the make of the panel and some pictures with the cover removed. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...-pictures.html
 
  #9  
Old 09-08-13, 07:53 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 61
Your AC unit draws higher amps when the compressor kicks in which pulls amperage away from the light circuit causing lights to flicker.
This can be caused.
By a low amp main breaker, such as using a 100 amp main breaker when the house itself is wired in such as way as to need over 100 amps when multiple 220 volt circuits are used.

By a bad or going bad main breaker, which can be both legs of the breaker or only on one side.

The AC being connected to the same breaker as the light circuits that are affected. Have seen it done in some older houses with small circuit panels.
 
  #10  
Old 09-08-13, 07:59 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Yeah the whole room is on one breaker. Actually 2 rooms, I have yet to see if the other AC is doing the same thing and the lights in the other room.
 
  #11  
Old 09-08-13, 08:04 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 61
What kind of AC are you using?
Window units I would guess.
If so, are they 110 or 220 units?
 
  #12  
Old 09-08-13, 08:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 6
110 in the bedrooms, and a 220 in the living room and kitchen.
 
  #13  
Old 09-08-13, 08:57 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
We heard no sizzling like when a breaker melted on us and started sizzling though. We still have plastic built up in there from where the hot water heater breaker melted against it.
That sounds a whole lot like a failing Zinsco/Sylvania panel. I tend to agree with ray, it is starting to sound like time for a new panel. Can you look at the panel and see if there is a name on the door?

Your AC unit draws higher amps when the compressor kicks in which pulls amperage away from the light circuit causing lights to flicker.
For lights to dim slightly as a compressor starts is somewhat normal, to flicker is not normal.

This sounds like it may be a problem in the panel that is going to take some troubleshooting skills while working in a hot panel. I would suggest calling a professional.
I hope you follow this sound advice from pcboss.
 
  #14  
Old 09-08-13, 08:58 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 61
O.K.
Then which rooms are being affected?
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes