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Old 10-13-2008, 11:44 AM   #1
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Help With Flickering Lights!

I've read through the other threads about this topic, but I don't know what to do next. Our lights started flickering intermittently about 2 months ago. At first we thought it was an appliance, but when everything was unplugged, the lights still flickered. And it's the whole house, not just certain circuits. I called our power company and reported the problem. It took them 5 days to come out (gotta love Con Ed!) and of course it was when no one was home. And of course, when the guy came, there was no flickering and his readings were wonderful. 3 days later they started flickering again so I called and reported it again. This time it took them 11 days to get back to my house, but at least I was home. Of course, he came when the lights weren't flickering, but he hooked up his meter to our box, had me turn on everything and checked for fluctuations. Everything read normal. 2 days later they started flickering again so I called...again. It's now been 6 days since I've called and I expect they'll come out again, but the question is if they'll come when I'm home.

Anyway....part of the problem is that we have underground power lines so he can't "go out to the poll" to check things.

In the mean time, my husband has decided to check the voltage coming into our house over a period of time and got the following results:

We have dips down to 103 volts and spikes up to 124. It's intermittent ... at times going hours or days with no problems...and then 12 hours with constant spikes.

I'm really frustrated since I know we have a problem...and I know it can be dangerous. What can I do to demand this problem get fixed asap??





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Old 10-13-2008, 12:37 PM   #2
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It really isn't dangerous and fluctuations are part of life especially on the east coast.

But they can burn out your electronics. I suggest that you get QUALITY surge suppressors for everything you care about or can't afford to replace.

Keep at it and get ConEd to track your electricity over time. Insist on it. Tell them you are getting a defective product. It might turn out to be a problem in your house and nothing to do with ConEd but rule that out so you can focus on other things.


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Old 10-13-2008, 01:46 PM   #3
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I had a problem with under- and over-Voltages at my apartment too. LIPA was less helpful than ConEd and said that they wouldn't do anything (not even send a guy) without at least 3 complaints from different apartments in the same building. My neighbor had noticed lights flickering also, but didn't want to get involved. (The apartment complex managment didn't really care either).

I was getting sustained Voltages as high as 137 (recorded by my UPS, verified by a multimeter). I started getting suspicious about this when I was changing all the lightbulbing in my living room every couple of weeks.

Originally Posted by Marvin Gardens
But they can burn out your electronics. I suggest that you get QUALITY surge suppressors for everything you care about or can't afford to replace.
AFAIK, surge surpressors will only protect against larger over-Voltages (300Vish in quality models), e.g. Base-_-Voltage Regulation-_-TRIPP LITE-_-TRIPP LITE Isobar Premium Surge Suppressor, UL 1449 Clamping Voltage 330 Volts

They won't protect against smaller over-Voltages (like my 137V), or under-Volts. I ended up picking up a few voltage regulators on eBay for cheap: sh=item190258507048&_trkparms=72%3A1205|39%3A1|66% 3A2|65%3A12|240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14. I use those for my LCD TVs and my Wii.. all of my computers are on UPSes which also do voltage regulation / surge surpression.

Note that some electronic equipment (especially laptops and other portable devices) have power supplies capable of accepting 90-240V. Those would have less of an issue in your case, but should still get a surge surpressor for 'em.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:09 PM   #4
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Do you have neighbors with the same problem or is it just your house?

If just your house, forget your utility company. Call an electrician and have him "re-torque" the main lugs in your electric meter base and on the main panel(s).

These main wire connections can come loose. It can also be a loose connection at the utility end or other power problems, but if you get your wiring checked and lugs tightened, then you will have this to back you up if you still have the problem and need to "do battle" with the utility company.

If neighbors have the same problem, then utility company problem. Tell them which other houses have the same problem.
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Old 10-14-2008, 11:34 AM   #5
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If your neighbors don't have this problem, I would have an electrician go check out the "lugs" in the main panel and the meterbase, the "lugs" are bolts that can loosen up, if you wait any longer, the wires could melt, and arc. Possibly raising the cost of repair. I would turn as much things that you can (ac, computers,lights,fans,etc.) and feel the main breaker, keep one hand in your pocket, for safety.
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