Lights Dimming on 1 Circuit?


Old 12-17-08, 11:31 PM
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Lights Dimming on 1 Circuit?


I've offered advice to some on this forum, and have helped a few.

Now I need some help.
I have 60amp (yes outdated) service.
I have a cartridge main, and 4 screw in fuses for my house.

My porch, bathroom, and parlor/living room all have flickering lights. I think I understand that the lights will "Feel" the effect before anything else as they are more sensitive, but do I need to clean contacts in my fuse box?
Do I have too many things on the Circuit?
(Really just house lighting) and there is no descernible pattern to the flickering. (e.g. heater is not causing it, nor is the fridge. which is on a different circuit anyway.)

Does this make sense?
I plan on upgrading the service, but....
Any Ideas for the immediate future (besides upgrading to 100A or better service?)

Thanks in advance,

Old 12-18-08, 05:47 AM
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A loose connection may be somewhere in that circuit. Heat can cause marginal connections to loosen. I think I would check the fusebox first. Look for loose or multiple wires under one screw head.

Loose connections can lead to fires.
Old 12-18-08, 08:21 PM
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Hi Aces, If everything on the circuit if flickering, it points back to the first junction box or as you suggested the fuse or fuse box. Be careful as you well know, but do clean up the fuse and contacts and tighten the wire connections. Might even try another fuse. Then follow the circuit and check each box up to and including the first one that is flickering.

While you are in each box, watch for burnt spots. There is a very slim chance that one of the hot wires is intermittently shorting out, thus the flicker. Either a loose connection or a hot wire grounding out, they both, as pcboss suggested, can cause a fire. I know you know that, I just have to say it.

Good Luck,
Old 12-26-08, 11:52 PM
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Found It. (I think)

Bud, and PC,

The fuse box was fine. A little corrosion, but the type that can be scraped off with a screwdriver... (40 yr old fusebox here so not bad.)

Turns out my boys broke the outlet in thier room and hid it by replacing the broken wallplate and saying nothing.

I found that when the tv in the boys room was on, the lights flickered. The outlet was bad. (and I mean BAD!!)

It was an old 2 prong outlet. I've since replaced it with a 3 prong outlet (Ground up) and I ran a ground wire from the outlet box to A copper Water pipe. I then added a new wall plate.

Should I ground somewhere else? or do you think I have it covered?

No sign of burning on the wires, and there has been NO flickering ever since.

I didn't realize that electrical outlet was on the same circuit as the lights were, but I hope this info may help someone else in the future.

Bad outlet.... Old wires... (No ground on old outlet)..

I'm now checking EVERY outlet/light/switch in my house.

Sorry for the delay in response, but it was X-mas time.

Thanks to you both, and I hope this helps someone else too!!

Many thanks again to you both!

Old 12-28-08, 12:23 AM
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Don't be to quick to dismiss the fridge or heater as the cause. If ther circuit is at or near capacity, it can case the neutral conductor to make the lights dim by loading up.
And if you are goig to upgrade you service, don't bother with 100 amps.Put in at least a 150 amp, so if you upgrade other things in your home(ie. central air or new furnace, etc.) you will have adequete power available.
Old 12-28-08, 08:01 PM
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I'm definately going to upgrade to the highest I can get in my current structure (1 story 3bed ranch). I'm also going to make sure it's breakers and not screw in fuses.. LOL

Anyway, I know it's not the fridge or heater.
I've already gone through the drill of pulling fuses and checking what is on or off...

The circuit in question ONLY ran lights in my Porch, bathroom, Parlor/living room and as I found out, lights and 2 outlets in the back 2 bedrooms.

The other outlets in the rest of the house are on another circuit. (Quite odd IMHO)

The appliances in the kitchen are on a circuit of thier own.
(Most are natural gas, but fridge and dishwasher are the biggies there)

The 4th is for the washer/Dryer area.

Also, I did find there is another box with a screw in fuse.
Found this 5th one is for the furnace and central A/C (which I already have...)

I'm surprised the service is handling this all to be honest...

In any event, I just want to be sure that my fixes for now are safe (Grounding to a water pipe).

I'm going to have the upgrade done this summer, and will be hiring a pro to go over the WHOLE house to be sure.



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