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Old 03-15-2008, 09:00 PM   #1
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


Hi,

I live in a rental apartment, that is likely 50+ yrs old now (not sure exactly). I have put a call in to my landlord but have yet to hear back. Really I am worried about even sleeping here tonight.

This issue started last night and there has been no work done to my unit or the building, that I know of, in the past weeks. Last night all of a sudden the lights started flickering, the would go very dim, the brighten again.
This has progressively gotten worse over the day today and is so bad now that my bathroom light is not even as bright as a candle when dim, as well all of my frozen food in my freezer has thawed, still cold but not frozen anymore.

I live in a 2 storey apartment, approx. 1200 square feet, this seemed to be only affecting 1 side of my apartment up until this evening but now seems to be moving its way accross to affect the entire apartment now. I have unplugged everything except my fridge (stove, washer dryer, microwave etc.) this is not helping even a little.

I am still going to have my landlord come and take care of it but am worried about whether we should even sleep here tonight. Sorry about the long question, just wanted to give you as much info as possible.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Danielle
PS. I also spoke to neighbors and no one else is experiencing this. Please note, I am not trying to fix this myself, but want to know how worried I should be about tonight, it is getting late and I dont know if I can even call an electrician in tonight

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Old 03-15-2008, 09:11 PM   #2
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


do you pay your own electric, or is it included in rent? i am wondering if somebody else is running something that is causing this. try unplugging your fridge for a little while and see if it still happens with nothing on but lights

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Old 03-15-2008, 09:23 PM   #3
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


Hi,

Thanks for the fast response

I do pay myown electric, but the only person that could tap into this is my 87 year old neighbor and I am thinking she wouldnt have a clue. I will try to unplug the fridge and see if that helps...cossing my fingers.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:30 PM   #4
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


Since you are in an apartment you likely have a failing neutral in your main feeder from the service equipment to your apartment panel. I say this because you say no one else is experiencing it. You need to get the landlord and the power company out asap this is a very serious issue and can cause damage to your electronics,tvs etc....I would unplug everything till they remedy the situation. If you have access to the main breaker to your unit only go there and trip it to the off position unless you see something scary like a red glow...if so 911 would be applicable.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:34 PM   #5
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


you could have a loose wire in the panel, but if it just started and no one has been working on it, it's somewhat unlikely. But you should call your utility company anyway

how long do they dim go dim for?

if it's a few minutes at a time, more than likely a motor is running and drawing power away. try to look for a pattern, does something happen when the lights dim? listen for a motor running. is the elevator moving at the same time?
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:42 PM   #6
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


Hi,

Thanks for the responses!!

OK, I went and unplugged the fridge (the only one that I had not done this to yet) and sure enough the lights came back to normal. This was only a few minutes ago, but we did try to pulg in the dryer and see if this happened again and it didnt. Seems maybe there is something wrong with my fridge?! LOL, I was so worried about the food spoiling I didnt think to unplug that one duh

I have called my landlord but have yet to hear back, even though I said it was an emergency, and unfortunitely the power companies standpoint is "all is fine on our end, call an electrician, and good luck" Frustrating, hence my worry.

Anyway I will monitor the lights now, they were dimming for 1-5 minutes at a time, and the only motor I could hear was the fridge stop when they dimmed.

Again, it seems ok now, but we will see...I am feeling a little better and may be able to sleep tonight now (I hope).

Thanks for all the responses, great help!!!!!
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:55 PM   #7
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


GREAT let's hope that solves the problem, and if you are real lucky the landlord is responsible for the fridge and this will only cost you the nervousness you already experienced.

good luck
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:33 PM   #8
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


Quote:
Last night all of a sudden the lights started flickering, then would go very dim, the brighten again.
Quote:
This has progressively gotten worse over the day today and is so bad now that my bathroom light is not even as bright as a candle when dim, as well all of my frozen food in my freezer has thawed, still cold but not frozen anymore.
Quote:
this seemed to be only affecting 1 side of my apartment up until this evening but now seems to be moving its way across to affect the entire apartment now.
I
Quote:
also spoke to neighbors and no one else is experiencing this.
Quote:
Anyway I will monitor the lights now, they were dimming for 1-5 minutes at a time
With all due respect this isn't caused by a bad fridge. If the fridge was at locked rotor (motor stopped but pulling high amperage))to pull the voltage down that much to dim the lights that severely for that long (assuming all those other circuits are on the circuit leg with the fridge) you would have either tripped a breaker or blown a fuse. Unless of course you are badly over fused or your breaker is bad.
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Old 03-16-2008, 07:40 AM   #9
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HELP~Lights dimming throughout house


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
I



With all due respect this isn't caused by a bad fridge. If the fridge was at locked rotor (motor stopped but pulling high amperage))to pull the voltage down that much to dim the lights that severely for that long (assuming all those other circuits are on the circuit leg with the fridge) you would have either tripped a breaker or blown a fuse. Unless of course you are badly over fused or your breaker is bad.

I agree. You should have an electrician come out and check the neutral between the panel and your meter, and between your meter and the service head.

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