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Old 12-13-2008, 05:07 PM   #1
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Lights dim


Ok so we had this problem for a while and then it went away and now its back. The lights in our kitchen and bathroom seem to be very dim but when I turn an appliance on like the kettle they actually get brighter, then the lights in our bedrooms get dimmer with the kettle on.

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Old 12-13-2008, 05:24 PM   #2
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Lights dim


Sounds to me like you've some wire connections somewhere that are loose. Could be in the panel box (don't enter it unless you know what you are doing; this prevents getting killed!), wire connections at fixtures/appliances, in a junction box, etc...

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Old 12-13-2008, 05:26 PM   #3
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Ok so we had this problem for a while and then it went away and now its back. The lights in our kitchen and bathroom seem to be very dim but when I turn an appliance on like the kettle they actually get brighter, then the lights in our bedrooms get dimmer with the kettle on.
This is most likely a loose service neutral. Call an electrician.
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Old 12-13-2008, 05:57 PM   #4
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Lights dim


Lights getting bright is not good.

What you have is a bad neutral connection somewhere. It could be in a junction box, inside your home. It could be in your panel/service. It could be on the power company side.

Call your power company first. They will test it for free.

Call a good electrician second.

Worst case, the neutral cionnection goes completely out and you end up with 240 volts at all of your 120 volt receps and lights. That is when it gets expensive.
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:49 PM   #5
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Lights dim


Now is the time to physically unplug anything you care you, i.e. your computer. A standard power strip will be of no protection as you watch your electronics sizzle wile they are fed 180vols.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:22 PM   #6
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Lights dim


So I need to contact BC Hydro before I have an electrician come round and check out my service neutral then?
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:25 PM   #7
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So I need to contact BC Hydro before I have an electrician come round and check out my service neutral then?
You don't have to, but they will check some stuff out for free. An electrician is going to charge you, even if the problem is with the power company.
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Old 12-13-2008, 08:04 PM   #8
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Lights dim


Ok sounds good to me I will have them come round first then.
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:57 PM   #9
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If the neutral goes out doesn't he end up with nothing except 220 outlets with no neutral and no power on the 110v outlets. Where would the 220 to the outlets come from if the neutral breaks?
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:01 PM   #10
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Lights dim


It comes through any 240 volt device he has hooked up. With out the neutral the imbalance makes the voltage uneven. One leg will be low the other will be high.
You need to get this looked ASAP. Unplug all your electronics or you may be replacing them.
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:10 PM   #11
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Lights dim


Sometimes water gets in those butt splices, turns to ice and loosens them.
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:10 PM   #12
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If the neutral goes out doesn't he end up with nothing except 220 outlets with no neutral and no power on the 110v outlets. Where would the 220 to the outlets come from if the neutral breaks?
As far as I know, correct me if I am mistaken here, You don't end up with actual 220v service readings. The brightness / dimming is due to changes in voltage, so the brighter one is using / getting more voltage than the dimmer bulb. It depends on what acts as a resistor and how much resistance applies to the line, causes the voltage to fluctuate.

You have 2 lamps, one on each leg of the panel, your service neutral goes out, but both lamps are still connected to the panels bus bar. The lamps now kind of look like they are wired in series, they are each then getting power from different sides of the panel. One lamp has a 40wbulb and one has a 100w bulb. Once the service neutral is gone the 100wbulb acts as a resistor, and the 40w bulb gets much brighter than the 100w bulb was. The 100w bulb gets very dim. They burn for a while like this in my "lab" setup. (not sure how long, I only left it on for a few minutes at a time, but my test bulbs never burnt out.). I have not taken voltage readings off of the bulbs during this test, but you can make some educated guesses as to what the readings might looks like and what that would do to your electronics.

So you can see when you lose the service neutral how you can end up with weird voltage all over the place.

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Old 12-13-2008, 11:20 PM   #13
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Lights dim


Whats odd is it appears to have stopped doing this again, it started last night and has stopped as of now. I guess the wires must have a bad connection.
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Old 12-13-2008, 11:22 PM   #14
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Whats odd is it appears to have stopped doing this again, it started last night and has stopped as of now. I guess the wires must have a bad connection.
Heating probably.
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Old 12-14-2008, 07:45 AM   #15
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Whats odd is it appears to have stopped doing this again, it started last night and has stopped as of now. I guess the wires must have a bad connection.
Electrical problems never fix themselves. A bad connection may be intermittently bad, but it will never repair itself.
I would take all the advice you have been given here very seriously!

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