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Old 08-30-2010, 12:39 PM   #1
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Lights Dim - Mystery


My inlaw's house is a 60's era split level with 100amps service. The load center was replaced in the early 70s with a push-button style breaker unit. Frequently throughout the day the lights dim in the house. It is every circuit and not isolated to a single circuit. The dimming does not seem to be dependant upon a high load device like the A/C starting either. 2 electricians have come out and looked at everything and can't find anything wrong. The electric company has also come out and says power to the house is also fine.

I think if the power is heavied up to 200 amps and the load center replaced with a current unit the problems will go away. This is around $2000.

Does anyone have any idea what this might be?

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Old 08-30-2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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Lights Dim - Mystery


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Originally Posted by slipgate View Post
Frequently throughout the day the lights dim in the house. It is every circuit and not isolated to a single circuit. The dimming does not seem to be dependant upon a high load device like the A/C starting either.

The electric company has also come out and says power to the house is also fine.
Have PoCo put a recording voltmeter on line for a few days. They seem to hate doing this.
With one customer, PoCo denied finding a problem with their recorder but the dimouts stopped afterwards. The tech they sent out was furious.

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Old 08-30-2010, 06:00 PM   #3
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Lights Dim - Mystery


Could be a neighbor who is using so much power as to lower the voltage (and dim your lights as well as his).

Are the dimouts for just a few seconds or do they last for minutes or hours?

Do the dimouts happen simultaneously on all circuits (or maybe two groups of circuits with the same circuits in each group dimming simultaneously)?
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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Lights Dim - Mystery


If it's not load related as you have said, a new 200 amp service is probably not going to solve the problem. It sounds more like a supply problem. 2000 sounds a little high. I have an estimate to upgrade from 60 to 200 watt with a new breaker for 1200 in upstate NY.
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
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Lights Dim - Mystery


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If it's not load related as you have said, a new 200 amp service is probably not going to solve the problem. It sounds more like a supply problem. 2000 sounds a little high. I have an estimate to upgrade from 60 to 200 watt with a new breaker for 1200 in upstate NY.
This is the DC metro area, take a reasonably priced job and x4 it. When this happens, it is momentary and effects all lights that are on at the time on multiple circuits. I think the problem is in the main circuit breaker of the 40 year old load center.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:13 PM   #6
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Lights Dim - Mystery


I had a push-o-matic panel.

THe main bus bar was buzzing whenever there were heavier loads running, so I'd suspect the panel in your case.

A bad ground can cause weird problems to, so I've read.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:19 AM   #7
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I had a push-o-matic panel.

THe main bus bar was buzzing whenever there were heavier loads running, so I'd suspect the panel in your case..
Turn off the heavier loads. You could have loose connections in the panel and sparking inside can ruin the entire panel.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:21 AM   #8
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Lights Dim - Mystery


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I had a push-o-matic panel.

THe main bus bar was buzzing whenever there were heavier loads running, so I'd suspect the panel in your case..
Turn off the heavier loads. You could have loose connections in the panel and sparking inside can ruin the entire panel.

Have an electrician come quickly and tighten up all the screw connections in the panel.

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