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nebil17 08-15-2008 04:02 AM

Flickering Lights
Hello I'm a newbie to this forum; I am wondering if I could get some advice on a 'flickering lights' problem that I just recently started having. :)

The problem:
Recently, all the lights in my 20 year old home began to flickering intermittently during the course of a day (more so in the evening than during the day). At first, I thought it was because my a/c compressor, but after some observations I noticed that this problem occured regardless if my a/c was running or not. I called my local electric company about the problem and they sent someone out to run a test on the meter at my house, but no problem was found.
Also, the electric company just changed my meter from analog (at least i think it was) to digital and my problem didn't begin to occur until after this change was made. Moreover, when they changed my meter the fuses for my a/c compressor actually got burned out and needed to be replaced.

Any idea on what the problem may be? Or what I should do? Thanks for any advice that you can give me.

Piedmont 08-15-2008 09:17 AM

If they are all flickering it could be a poor neutral to the main panel, typically happens when it's windy. If that's what it is, it's dangerous as wait long enough and have the neutral fail it can glow from the heat building up in it, and will if it completely fails you will likely blow out a lot of things in your house.

I really can't explain the neutral very well, but as I understand it keeps your house at 120V by balancing the two other legs coming in. If it's not fully connected (it carries a lot of juice) or has periods it's connected and times it's not (windy days) it is not maintaining 120V and the power instead is fluctuating on half the legs to over 120V and the other half under 120V causing things to "flicker". The more it starts to fail, the more pronounced and eventually will cause things to start to blow (like TV's, lights, etc). It can cause a lot of damage and risk fire if it's a failing neutral... but it depends on the loads of each leg. Do you notice at all if some lights get brighter and others dimmer? That's usually a sure sign of a failing neutral, as some circuits are getting over 120V and some under and will becomes more & more pronounced until you have a catastrophic failure. You don't want to be around if you have a total neutral failure.

HouseHelper 08-15-2008 09:40 AM

If this didn't start until after the meter was replaced, I would contact the POCO and have them check the connections inside the meter base. When our utility replaced meters (analog to radio signal), there were several instances of improper installation where the meter connections were damage and the entire meter base had to be replaced.

Piedmont 08-15-2008 09:42 AM

I found a post talking about when lights were flickering at my house if you're interested.

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