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Old 02-13-2013, 12:53 AM   #1
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Mini-Fridge and flickering lights

Hey All,

I recently decided to place a mini-fridge in my room. However, whenever the compressor turns on, the lights and a few electronics such as my TV have a brief moment of interrupted power. In the case of the lights, they dim for a short second and the TV does a sort of soft reset. Anyways, I fairly certain this won't be too good for my devices in the long run.

I live in an older home, possibly circa 1970's, but I am renting it so I am hesitant to call any professional assistance just for a mini-fridge. I'm pretty sure the room is on one breaker as it is a small room. Someone recommended replacing with a higher rated breaker. Is this even possible in regards to a higher rated breaker?

I have read the fridge may draw max current when the compressor starts, thus causing this. I have also read this is just how it goes with older homes and other components like the AC turning on also causing this in many cases.

What could my options be?


I also want to say that the fridge is a very new and recent black & decker, so I doubt it is any issue with the unit itself or that it could be improved.


Last edited by mikemania; 02-13-2013 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:01 AM   #2
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Only thing you can do is call the landlord and see. What he will do. You can't put a larger breaker in there and you can't fix anything since you don't own the place.

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With Electricity there is the right way to do it and the dead way. Just because it works does not make it safe.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:35 AM   #3
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I dont think a bigger breaker will help !
The fact that it effects other circuits in the house
says that the problem is the main supply area.
Could be a loose connecttion or undersized cables.
check all joints look clean and tight,
and the panel doesn't show signs of heat stress !

If it is not your house there's only so much you can do,
Ask the land lord to get the system checked out.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:37 AM   #4
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You have definitely observed that lights on other branch circuits in your home are also affected, no?

A larger breaker will not change the situation.

Parts of the electrical system common to all circuits:
1. Where the main breaker is attached to the bus bars that run under all the branch circuit breakers,
2. The main breaker itself.
3. The lugs where the service wires are attached to the main breaker.
4. The service wires.
5. The meter socket at the other end of the service wires.
6. The wires and service drop from the meter socket out to the utility pole.

Do any lights elsewhere in the house get brighter? (Most noticeable with incandescent lights) This means that the "neutral" has a bad connection somewhere and you need to unplug all electronics and get it fixed immediately. Otherwise overvoltage will damage equipment and could cause a fire.
The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-13-2013 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:36 AM   #5
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Voltage drop should not be a problem as much with in home wiring. The max runs are usually under 75-100ft.

What else is in the circuit that draws a heavy load? If it's just some lights and TV, then this really shows a loose wire. A typical mini fridge uses about 1-2 amps running, and its surge is 5-6 amps. A household circuit is minimum of 15amps.

This sound like a loose hot or neutral wire somewhere down the line. Meaning, every time a heavy load is drawn, it will arc and loose contact for a half o second= The reset in your TV, and brownout of you lights. A mini fridge should not cause this much of a power surge, at the most, just a little dim surge in incandescent lights if even that.

Time to call the owner of the home. If they are renting the house out, it is there responsibility that the wiring is safe and at bare minimum code. This can be a safety issue. Whether you use the fridge or not. God forbid, what would happen if you plug a vacuum cleaner in? (10 amps!) Or even a different renter if you decide to move out?

Last edited by seansy59; 02-13-2013 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:44 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the responses.

So it seems its an issue of bad wiring. I should clarify that only the electronics in my room are being affected.

So hypothetically speaking, if ya'll were the electrician and you concluded that this was the issue. What would your plan of action be? Tear apart the walls?
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:52 PM   #7
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I would start by pulling out all switchs and recepticules
and checking for loose/dirty connecttions.
Then work back from there.
Do you have your own circuit ?
Or do you share a circuit ?
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:25 PM   #8
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Most likely the tenant cant touch a thing, nor the landlord, only a licensed electrician...


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