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Old 09-15-2006, 09:00 PM   #1
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


I am having a problem with dimming/brightening lights in every room of my house for the last couple of weeks. I checked the wires coming in the panel and one hot wire that goes to main breaker was loose so I tightened it down but I am still having the same problem. I have searched google and it sound like that it is a open neutral. I changed bathroom vent fan shortly before dimming started. Fan has copper stranded conductors connected to Romex solid conductors. Do you think that this is the problem?

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Old 09-15-2006, 09:04 PM   #2
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


NO. This is your service neutral causing the problem. I can't believe no one has told you to call the POCO (power company).

DO IT IMMEDIATELY! Have them come ASAP!
You should NOT have waited so long!

If you checked the lines at the main breaker you did ALL you can do. The POCO will check the connections at the meter pan, top of the riser and at the pole.

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Old 09-15-2006, 09:09 PM   #3
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


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NO. This is your service neutral causing the problem. I can't believe no one has told you to call the POCO (power company).

DO IT IMMEDIATELY! Have them come ASAP!
You should NOT have waited so long!

If you checked the lines at the main breaker you did ALL you can do. The POCO will check the connections at the meter pan, top of the riser and at the pole.

I called power company already , everything is fine on their end.
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:05 PM   #4
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


There is a problem somewhere between the pole outside and the main panel. You need to find it.

The whole house is affected. The problem is NOT in the bath fan.
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Old 09-16-2006, 06:02 AM   #5
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


How long have you lived here?
What amperage is the main panel? (60,100, 150, 200)
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Old 09-16-2006, 12:10 PM   #6
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How long have you lived here?
What amperage is the main panel? (60,100, 150, 200)
6 yrs. 100A
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Old 09-16-2006, 07:05 PM   #7
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


Listen.

LISTEN!

I am not an alarmist, and I seldom use phrases like "burn your house down", but this is a genuine emergency. This is nothing to fool around with. Peter has tried to give you a subtle warning to solve this ASAP.

A loose netural causes dimming on one phase, and brightening on the other. This "brighter" phase is actually receiving a higher voltage. As this problem worsens, light bulbs will explode and your electronics can spontaneously go ablaze. No kidding.

That said, put in another trouble call to the power company for a suspected loose neutral. Call an electrician!

This is nothing to fool around with. If you choose not to take my warning seriuosly, please PM the site administrator with the name of your favorite charity so that we can send memorial contributions upon your death.
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Old 09-17-2006, 12:43 AM   #8
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Listen.

LISTEN!

I am not an alarmist, and I seldom use phrases like "burn your house down", but this is a genuine emergency. This is nothing to fool around with. Peter has tried to give you a subtle warning to solve this ASAP.

A loose netural causes dimming on one phase, and brightening on the other. This "brighter" phase is actually receiving a higher voltage. As this problem worsens, light bulbs will explode and your electronics can spontaneously go ablaze. No kidding.

That said, put in another trouble call to the power company for a suspected loose neutral. Call an electrician!

This is nothing to fool around with. If you choose not to take my warning seriuosly, please PM the site administrator with the name of your favorite charity so that we can send memorial contributions upon your death.
It's not that I don't take your warning seriously, I just thought that I could save some money but doing it myself. I had an electrician come out tonight and he said that the neutral between the meter and the disconnect in the basement was faulty. He will come back Monday to give me an estimate. Thanks for your concern and advice.
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Old 09-17-2006, 03:11 AM   #9
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


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It's not that I don't take your warning seriously, I just thought that I could save some money but doing it myself. I had an electrician come out tonight and he said that the neutral between the meter and the disconnect in the basement was faulty. He will come back Monday to give me an estimate. Thanks for your concern and advice.
And meanwhile the power is still on in your home over the weekend? Hope you sent that PM
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Old 09-17-2006, 05:20 AM   #10
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


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I just thought that I could save some money but doing it myself.
Quote:
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I had an electrician come out tonight and he said that the neutral between the meter and the disconnect in the basement was faulty.
You should have said DO IT first thing in the morning!
It is a great surprise that; a) nothing in your home has burned up, and b) nothing in your home has burned up.

Sorry, this is a touchy topic for us when folks put less importance on serious things like this than we do. And it is YOUR house!
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Old 09-17-2006, 10:25 AM   #11
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


HomeRepairNoob. The others have alread said what needs to be said, but this is real and I feel compelled to not only agree with them, but also suggest you hasten a fix.

First, You are risking loosing your computer by using it right now. Dont just turn it off, unplug it. Then unplug all your electronics..
Next unplug the fridge and only open it when needed to keep the food cold.

Call a real electrician.. A good one would not have put the fix off till monday. I know this will cost, but this one time it is worth it.

If you must survive the night under these conditions get out the candles. Turn off all the single pole breakers.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:00 PM   #12
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


I curently have a dimming probleb with my place as well turns out i have a bad ground on the main pannel theres a tiny wire attatched to the water line and thats it
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Old 09-17-2006, 03:24 PM   #13
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


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I curently have a dimming probleb with my place as well turns out i have a bad ground on the main pannel theres a tiny wire attatched to the water line and thats it
No, that's not why you have a dimming problem. I can say with 1000% certainty that whoever related your dimming problem to an undersized grounding electrode conductor to the water line was a complete electrical idiot.

A dimming only problem is either a loose hot wire, bad hot wire tap, overloaded utility transformer, or undersized service conductors. None of these items present a hazard. Just an inconvenience.
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Old 09-18-2006, 08:51 PM   #14
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


This is slightly OT but still relevant.

My friend was asking me about a multiwire branch circuit that his father had come across in his own house. His family room has two independent receptacle circuits and when his father found two hots and one neutral in the same box, he became confused. I explained what he was looking at and described how the neutral from the panel should be physically wired so that it can be safely disconected from one circuit w/o compromising continuity to the other. He was suprised (and somewhat skeptical) when I drew the circuit and demonstrated how his father's 120V appliances could be subjected to 240V if the neutral to the panel became disco'd. Well, seems like the lesson came a little too late...

Seems that while we were discussing the issue at work, his father went ahead and started rewiring the family room. Disconnected the neutral connection from the panel and POOF went the TV. POW went the bulbs in the table lamps. CRACKLE-POP-PLOOOP went the stereo receiver. A few other appliances bit the dust as well. His father was, er, uh, quite suprised!

Anyhoo, I cannot agree more with the others that made the cautionary posts.
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Old 09-18-2006, 08:59 PM   #15
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Lights dimming randomly in my house


Yes, indeed. A multiwire branch circuit is a smaller version of your service to your home.

This is the main reason why the code requires each netural conductor in the panel to be in a hole in the neutral bar of its own. That way, you can't accidentally disconnect a multiwire neutral when you're servicing another circuit.

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