Last May, I replaced/upgraded our service panel, meter base, etc. from
the 35 year old Federal Pacific 100A panel to a 200Amp SquareD Q0
series. The service entrance cable running down the house to the
meter pan, then to the service panel in the basement was replaced with
4-0 Aluminum SE cable. I used NoAlOx, worked into the conductors with
a stainless steel brush, and torqued the connections down to the value
listed on the panel and meter box. The lugs are rated for Copper or
I did get a permit, and the installation was inspected and approved
before the electric company re-attached the overhead lines.
Assuming I did everything correctly, once an aluminum service entrance
cable is installed, do the connections periodically need checked and
tightened? If so, would the two months since the installation be
enough for them to have worked loose? Everything else in the house is
copper; this is the first time I've worked with AL wiring.
The reason I'm asking is that a few times a day our lights flicker.
It's only a fraction of a second or so, the kind of effect you get
when something high current powers up (hair drier, etc.) It's similar
to, but much shorter than the effect when our A/C starts. It isn't a
consistent time and it doesn't seem to coorespond with any item in our
house starting up. I think it just started in the last couple of
weeks, but it may be that I just noticed it. They get dimmer, not
brighter, so I don't think it's a floating neutral. I've noticed it on
two or three different circuits.
There are several houses off of the same pole mounted transformer and
I'm going to check with the neighbors to see if they are experiencing
similar things. We moved in last fall, so we weren't here last
summer; it may be normal for our neighborhood when everybody's running
the A/C and stuff.
I've tried various newsgroup and web searches and have found some
info, but nothing that seems to fit my situation. Most of the
comments point either to a loose connection (which prompted this
message), the pole transformer, or the problems associated with
aluminmum wiring inside the house.
Since I just did the work recently, I wanted to try to eliminate all
that I could before I contact the power company.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.