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Why would the electrical voltage in your house fluctuate?


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Wiki User
2015-07-17 17:37:07
2015-07-17 17:37:07
for USA, Canada and countries using similar 60Hz household electricity supplies

First, get the circuits around the house tested to make sure it's happening everywhere.

You should call the power company to check the connections where your electrical service enters your house. (Meter base and breaker panel). It could be a loose connection. Do not check this yourself without getting it approved by the power company, and only if the service has been disconnected at the pole.

Removing their meter seal yourself can result in disconnection of service, fees, and criminal prosecution for theft of service. Also, it's much safer to let them check it, since they are qualified professionals.

The amperages in a service conductor can burn you to death if they are accidentally shorted, even momentarily. Electric arc flash can reach 30,000 degrees F.


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 breakers.

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 electrician's 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 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




Service Voltage fluctuation may be a Power Quality problem for your electric utility to review and correct. There are some items for you to go over and help narrow the source of the anomaly. First take the middle of the road, average service composition; it is a 200 Amp, 240 Volt, 3-Wire service. Your service may not fit this description to a tee for the following reasons:

  • Maybe you live on a trailer park and your home is equipped with a 30 Amp service
  • Maybe your home is far away from the service transformer
  • Maybe only the lights, installed on the same breaker, experience the fluctuations
  • Maybe nearby commerce or industrial users are causing voltage sags
  • Maybe the problem was always there, but your new equipment does not work

As already suggested, find out if the problem is in one circuit (breaker), the service panel, or the service drop.

  • A problem in a circuit breaker can be isolated by noticing voltage only fluctuates there
  • A problem service panel problem can be isolated by voltage sags on all circuits
  • A problem in the service drop can be identified if your neighbors also have the voltage sags

Related Questions

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Why would you want to do that -where would you obtain a lower voltage supply suitable for supplying a residence.

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A short to voltage is when a wire that should not have battery voltage has battery voltage. This would happen if a wire had rubbed through another wire. The other cause would be an electrical component failing and sending voltage down a wire that it shouldn't. NOTE: Shorts to voltage are very uncommon. I specialize in electrical automotive repair, and I can not even recall one time I have seen a short to voltage.

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You would get a shock if you provided a path to ground.

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