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Outdated Electrical in Older Home - New Appliances causing flickering

Outdated Electrical in Older Home - New Appliances causing flickering


  #1  
Old 09-20-22, 10:51 AM
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Outdated Electrical in Older Home - New Appliances causing flickering

We live in a home built in the 1940's and most of the electrical is pretty old BX cable and cloth wiring. I'm not certain what has been updated and when as we've only been in the home for about 7 years. In our time here, we've upgraded almost every major appliance, with the last one being a new dryer. Shortly after we started using the new dryer, many lights throughout the house began flickering while the appliance was in use. This happens with both regular and LED bulbs in the house. Now it's happening every time we use the dryer especially if the washer or dishwasher are running at the same time.

I called a professional to come troubleshoot and he said that they were not allowed to work on the old BX cable due to it's fragility. He basically said the only way they'd touch it is if I agreed to rewire the house in a worst case scenario. We cannot afford to rewire the house at the moment, but I got a quote anyway which was almost $25k ($17 per sq ft) - is this something most companies do or were they just trying to squeeze me for rewiring? I am planning on contacting some other companies, but I don't want to waste money on them coming out to not to anything.

My first question is, how dangerous is this situation? We have 2 dogs and a toddler at home and I am above all concerned about their safety in the home. Is there anything I can do for a short term fix or to make it safer? Does not running appliances at the same time actually help? I'm attaching pics of my main breaker box, it is a 100 amp.

Edit: Forgot to mention I did already have the utility company come out and check things on their end which there were no issues.

I realize this isn't necessarily a DIY situation, but I am trying to make things better any way I can. Thank you for your help.


 

Last edited by TJRussell24; 09-20-22 at 11:37 AM.
  #2  
Old 09-20-22, 11:19 AM
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One thing to do is check wire connections at panel and outlets to make sure there are no loose connections.
 
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Old 09-20-22, 11:39 AM
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@pattenp

I will try to check the connections inside the panel. The electrician that came over kind of scared me out of messing with anything, but I did see inside the panel and there are tons of wires, very disorganized. I'm not sure if they just didn't want to deal with it because it's more of a headache or there is actually a chance that I make things worse.
 
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Old 09-20-22, 11:45 AM
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House wide problems are usually caused by faulty utility connections.

I see that you did call the power company. I still would consider it possible unless you're sure you got a competent man.
 
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Old 09-20-22, 11:47 AM
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Get a flashlight (or two). Then turn off the main breaker. Some things inside the panel will still be energized but the breakers and wires connected to them should be dead. This will take a lot of the nervous factor out of working inside the panel. Just do NOT touch the bare metal bars in the back near the top of the panel. To check the tightness of the wires to the breakers you don't need to remove anything. Just go down the rows with a big screwdriver and make sure all are tight.

Dimming or flickering of things all over the house could be a problem upstream of the breaker panel. An electrician should check those connections as there is no easy way to disconnect them from power. They might check the large wire connections to the breaker panel and the other end where they connect to the meter base.
 
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Old 09-20-22, 07:04 PM
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The first issue I see is that you have 2 - 2 pole 30 amp breakers that are not rated for your panel. (Challenger breakers in an ITE panel) I am not saying that this is your issue but it surely does not help.

I would also recommend checking the connections in the panel.

Is the dryer gas or electric? Can you plug in a meter when running the appliances to see if the voltage is dropping?
Please post a picture of your existing wiring. I have worked on a lot of BX/AC cables with no issues.
 
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  #7  
Old 09-21-22, 07:43 AM
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@Tolyn Ironhand

If you're talking about the 2 breakers in the bottom right, one of those is actually connected to the dryer so maybe that is my problem? I checked all the connections in the panel and none were lose. The dryer is electric. I don't have a meter to check, but I may have to look into getting one.
 
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Old 09-21-22, 10:19 AM
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A meter is a great tool for a homeowner to have. I like inexpensive analog, the type with a needle that moves or get a simple voltage tester that lights up for 120 or 240 volts. They do not display phantom voltage like a inexpensive digital meter can.
 
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