Flickering Ceiling Lights

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All the ceiling lights in the house started flickering intermittently, as if there is a loose connection in the circuit. It's just the light - wall receptacles are fine.
It is not happening all the time or at a particular time of day. My first guess was a loose connection at the circuit breaker panel, but all the connections there are good, and the breaker is fully on.
I know this is not much info, but all I have at this point. I don't think we have rats, but I can picture a big fat rat chewing on a cable in the attic.
For the electrical folks, how would you go about troubleshooting this?
Thanks in advance.
Bob
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On Wed, 8 Jan 2014 18:39:36 -0800, "Guv Bob"

Just in case, I would try something simple first and pull out the receptacle (on the same circuit) closest to the lights and check. Or at least give it a wiggle.
Maybe the switch(s) next.
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On Wed, 8 Jan 2014 18:39:36 -0800, "Guv Bob"

BTW the problem is most likely going to be on the electrical panel side of the house.
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On 1/8/2014 9:39 PM, Guv Bob wrote:

One time when a friend of mine had this happen, the problem turned out to be where the double 100 amp breaker (incoming power) connected to the buss bar. We took flash lights in hand, I pulled the double breaker, and scraped and sanded the bus bar. Put some No-Al-Ox on, and put it back together.
Other thing to do, is tighten all the white and bare wires, in the bar where they all tie in. I've had a loose white wire result in strange behavior.
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Christopher A. Young
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On 1/8/14 8:39 PM, Guv Bob wrote:

Does "all" include the bathroom ceiling light if there is one?

You might try loosening and then tightening all the connections in the panel. That should get rid corrosion.

Are all the lighting circuits on either the left or right side of your breaker panel?
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On Wed, 8 Jan 2014 18:39:36 -0800, "Guv Bob"

One circuit or more?
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wrote:

intermittently, as if there is a loose connection in the circuit. It's just the light - wall receptacles are fine.

first guess was a loose connection at the circuit breaker panel, but all the connections there are good, and the breaker is fully on.

think we have rats, but I can picture a big fat rat chewing on a cable in the attic.

this?

Will check tomorrow and post what I find.
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On Wednesday, January 8, 2014 8:39:36 PM UTC-6, Guv Bob wrote:

if there is a loose connection in the circuit. It's just the light - wall receptacles are fine. It is not happening all the time or at a particular t ime of day. My first guess was a loose connection at the circuit breaker pa nel, but all the connections there are good, and the breaker is fully on. I know this is not much info, but all I have at this point. I don't think we have rats, but I can picture a big fat rat chewing on a cable in the attic . For the electrical folks, how would you go about troubleshooting this? Th anks in advance. Bob
ALL the ceiling lights??? Which rooms, bedrooms only, or bedrooms, kitchen , dining room, family room, front and back porches, etc???? Please be more specific!!!!
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On Wednesday, January 8, 2014 8:39:36 PM UTC-6, Guv Bob wrote:

as if there is a loose connection in the circuit. It's just the light - wall receptacles are fine. It is not happening all the time or at a particular time of day. My first guess was a loose connection at the circuit breaker panel, but all the connections there are good, and the breaker is fully on. I know this is not much info, but all I have at this point. I don't think we have rats, but I can picture a big fat rat chewing on a cable in the attic. For the electrical folks, how would you go about troubleshooting this? Thanks in advance. Bob
- ALL the ceiling lights??? Which rooms, bedrooms only, or bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, family room, front and back porches, etc???? Please be more specific!!!!
Yes, every ceiling light in the house flickers at the same time. Lamps plugged into receptacles are not flickering. I just got back to the house now. Breakers are not marked. I will ID all the breakers tomorrow and post what I find out.
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On Wednesday, January 8, 2014 8:39:36 PM UTC-6, Guv Bob wrote:

as if there is a loose connection in the circuit. It's just the light - wall receptacles are fine. It is not happening all the time or at a particular time of day. My first guess was a loose connection at the circuit breaker panel, but all the connections there are good, and the breaker is fully on. I know this is not much info, but all I have at this point. I don't think we have rats, but I can picture a big fat rat chewing on a cable in the attic. For the electrical folks, how would you go about troubleshooting this? Thanks in advance. Bob
- ALL the ceiling lights??? Which rooms, bedrooms only, or bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, family room, front and back porches, etc???? Please be more specific!!!!
Yes, every ceiling light in the house flickers at the same time. Lamps plugged into receptacles are not flickering. I just got back to the house now. Breakers are not marked. I will ID all the breakers tomorrow and post what I find out.
--

Half the lights are on one 15A breaker and half on another. Both are
next to each over on one pole and can use some cleaning up. Will remove
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On Thu, 9 Jan 2014 11:08:34 -0800, "Guv Bob"

The wire on one breaker is black and the other should be red. Right? Trace the wires from the breaker up to where they exit the panel. Then trace the white wire back to the neutral bus and make sure it is tight there.
If you are sure there are no receptacles on those circuits, then you may have to start looking in ceiling lights and switches for a loose neutral (white) connection.
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On 1/9/2014 2:08 PM, Guv Bob wrote:

at the same time. Lamps plugged into receptacles are not flickering. I just got back to the house now. Breakers are not marked. I will ID all the breakers tomorrow and post what I find out.

another. Both are next to each over on one pole and can use some cleaning up. Will remove all and clean them up and replace screws. Other circuits are 20A and are balanced. Turned all CB's off and on and no change in the flickering. Flickering only happens with a lot of the lights are on.
Please let us know what works out. My guess is you'll end up pull the offending breaker, and sand paper the metal where it clips on. Of course, switch off the mains, and work by flash light.
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- ALL the ceiling lights??? Which rooms, bedrooms only, or bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, family room, front and back porches, etc???? Please be more specific!!!!
Yes, every ceiling light in the house flickers at the same time. Lamps plugged into receptacles are not flickering. I just got back to the house now. Breakers are not marked. I will ID all the breakers tomorrow and post what I find out.
--

Half the lights are on one 15A breaker and half on another. Both are next
to each over on one pole and can use some cleaning up. Will remove all and
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On 1/9/2014 7:20 PM, John Grabowski wrote:

> Replace them with new ones. Clean the

Most breakers well under ten bucks at the local hardware. Well worth the cost.
Please shut off the power at the main breaker before cleaning the busbar. Check with meter, to be totally sure it's not powered, before cleaning. You will likely need flashlights and a light holder for this job.
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Christopher A. Young
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news:SI-dnTA1j-
<stuff snipped>
<Half the lights are on one 15A breaker and half on another. Both are next to each over on one pole and can use some cleaning up. Will remove all and clean them up and replace screws. Other circuits are 20A and are balanced. Turned all CB's off and on and no change in the flickering. Flickering only happens with a lot of the lights are on.>
Are these lights on dimmers? There have been similar reports of lights running through dimmers fllickering under heavy load.
--
Bobby G.










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On 01/08/2014 08:39 PM, Guv Bob wrote:

If *all* your lights are flickering but all connections in your breaker box are good, the problem could be outside you house and the power company would have to fix it.
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Good suggestion. I've had that problem. One leg of the three in the line from the pole transformer to the house developed a loose connection. Lights flickered, but nothing else TV, dishwasher, etc. had problems. Apparently that leg, for some reason, fed all of the permanently-wired light fixtures. After some prodding, the utility company came out and reworked the connections. They said that squirrels had been chewing on the wires too, but I don't see how chewing on the wire insulation could have loosened a bolt connector.
Tomsic
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On 1/9/2014 6:52 AM, = wrote:

Glad you managed to get that repaired. I'm with you, unless squirrel carries big spanner wrenches, might not be their fault. I'd more suspect the wind blows the wires and poles. A bit of motion, and wire swinging will tend to loosen bolts. I doubt any power company has the staffing levels to tighten all bolts preventively, so they wait for trouble calls.
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On 01/09/2014 06:24 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

The OP did mention that lamps plugged into the outlets are not flickering. If it can be determined that the "main" that feeds them is /not/ the same main that feeds the ceiling lights then my original guess very well could be right.
OTOH: If any of them share the same main wire then this is going to be a bit of a stumper.
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philo wrote:

Wouldn't a bad meter box, or the wiring in same, affect all the electricity in the house, not just one circuit?
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Bill
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