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What would cause the house lights to flicker at times even when no major appliances are on?


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2015-07-17 17:34:47
2015-07-17 17:34:47

for USA, Canada and countries running a 60 Hz supply service.

Call the utility company to check the supply to the house. If it is ok to the meter base and breaker panel, your house wiring is to blame


Ask the utility company to feel the transformer wiring connections. They can be extremely hot because of corrosion and this will cause flickering power sometimes.


Check the circuit breaker.

I had a friend who's lights were flickering. He had several people look into it. Electrician, Utility etc. No luck. We spent some time turning off breakers and we came to the realization that the circuit breaker's contact was bad. Replaced the breaker and voila no flicker.


Troubleshooting is the height of the art

The only reason there is "not enough voltage" somewhere is because there is a partially open connection providing resistance and a location to allow a voltage drop [bad splice, bad switch, bad breaker, broken wire, burned splice, ...].

It is the knowledge of how electricity works, and of the methods and materials used to create a functional wiring system, that enables a skilled troubleshooter to locate the problem and repair it.

Where should the "voltage" be, and how does it get there?

When you understand that, you will understand what is keeping it from getting where it should be...


As previously mentioned, a loose connection is often times the root of the problem. Are the lights in question all on the same circuit? If so, start at the panel and verify you have a solid connection to the breaker with the wire, and also from the breaker to the bus of the panel.

If all is good there, I would suggest looking in switch boxes for loose connections, starting at the one closest to the panel. Be sure to check both the hot splice and the neutral splice.

If all is good there, I would move on to the lighting boxes, again, starting at the light closest to the panel.

You may find as you do this, that the power is taken to the fixtures themselves, rather than to the switch boxes first. If this is the case, you may skip over the switch boxes.

Fixtures with non-dimmable compact flourescent lights will also flicker when put on a dimmer.

SAFETY FIRST: Turn off the breaker to minimize the risk of electrical shock!!


If you have any doubts about an answer that you get, check the answerer's bio by clicking on their name to check their qualifications.

As always, if you are in doubt about what to do, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician to advise what work is needed.

Before you do any work yourself,

on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,

always use a test meter to ensure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized.





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