Help & advice

Originally Posted By: mhenderson
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I have a few questions I need answered…recently my sister called & said that her lights would flicker just once when she turned on the washer or dryer…or microwave(which is on a different outlet & circuit upstairs)… I went to her house & checked the outlet for the washer/dryer& it had an open ground but was all hooked up properly?It only flickers once at the initial start…same with the micowave… The panel is a squareD split busbar with a 60 amp disconnect used as a shut-off somehow.The panel is rated for 125 amps…& the service wire is #2 aluminum…1st can I upgrade to 100 Amps…(I dont see any problem there)...if I do that,will that help the 1x flickering stop..seems like those motors draw initial amps that may flicker the light that 1x...she also has an electric stove.. the fridge motor doesnt flicker the light…nor does turning on the stove… just those 2 circuits… the open ground near the washer/dryer is a safety concern…& so is the 1x fickering.


I`m confused about whats happening icon_rolleyes.gif & need alot of input from the experts out there…Help me …OB1 Kenobee your my only hope


Mike


Originally Posted By: Robert Patterson
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Mike,


Some thoughts and questions.
You said the washer/ dryer, they should be differrent circuits.
The microwave should have a dedicated 20A circuit.
How old and what size is the microwave? An older M/W can build up dust on the working portions and draw more power.
What size circuit is the washer on, possibly 15A?
Which had the open ground? Washer or dryer, I'm assuming washer since dryer should be on 240 circuit.
How old is the washer and/or dryer? Older motors will pull more power.
How old is the house and wiring? An older home may not be designed for the modern loads.
How big is the house? The total load may not be correct for the size of house.
Is the system properly grounded?
You may need to upgrade (especially at 100A), but I recommend that if you do, get it done by an electrician to 200A.

Lot of unknowns.

Bob


Originally Posted By: mhenderson
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Bob,


Thanks for the quick reply.The house is a little over 900 sq.ft however, the basement is fully finished & the garage is wired also. Don`t know the age of the house but I think it was built late 60s or early 70s… The dryer is gas… not electric… the microwave is on a 20amp circuit…but not dedicated…I think the same line as the fridge( which should be on its own dedicated line) yes the washer/dryer outlet is only on a 15amp line & that is the outlet with the open ground…My guess is washer is 15+yrs & dryer is @ least 2yrs old.There is another 240 line outlet next to dryer…I assumed last owner had electric)however,she is using a gas dryer. I guess I can get rid of that 240 line & make (2) 120 dedicated cuicuits for what I need…The panel is grounded/bonded properly… can I upgade to 100 amps even if it is a slpit busbar (looking for the cheapest out I can) or should I get a new panel & start from scratch…How much would that cost off-hand?


Thanx alot


Mike


Originally Posted By: Robert Patterson
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Mike,


Did some quick calcs on your load with some assumptions. I came up with a demand load of +/- 68A. #2 AL is appropriate for the SE. Even tho' you're using a gas dryer I calculated with an electric dryer, so the demand is probably higher than your use. Without the dryer it's more like +/- 50 A. I would look at an upgrade to 200A. If you're going to do it, do it right for future value. And get an electrician to do it.

However, I don't see a problem with upgrading the current panel to 100A based on what you tell me. But, read the label and be sure you do not exceed the # of breakers allowed. I would leave the 240 dryer circuit alone, mainly for future value. If you're not using it there should be no amp draw. Replace the washer/dryer line with a dedicated 20A 12 ga circuit,, put the M/W on a dedicated circuit (20A, 12 ga), put the fridge on a dedicated circuit (20A, 12 ga). The other thing is that you may have a bad motor on one of the appliances, a motor has a large pull when it first starts.

As you can see, I don't believe in #14 wire. Also, repairing the open ground, putting the W?D on a dedicated circuit, putting the M?W on a dedicated circuit may solve the problem (any one or a combination of). If it was me, I would do the open ground first, then the M/W, then the W/D. Checking to see after each step to see if it solves the prob.

Remember, I'm making a lot of assumptions, so if you can, get an electrician to evaluate.

Bob


Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Bob,


I know this is a difficult concept for most to understand but start at the beggining and swap a few of those breakers. If you swap the breakers you can proceed from there. If the lights stop flickering replace the breakers. If the lights don't stop flickering you know it is the circuit and you can take it from there.

I think you are going to find that it is the circuit and there is something along the line of a loose wire and/or wire nut somewhere on that circuit.

Anyway...you know me, simple solutions for simple minds! ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif)

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: Robert Patterson
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Hi Joe,


Yea, Ok, I'll give you this one. That is a place to start. But, I still say to put the appliances on dedicated circuits, especially if they're on 15A circuits. I feel that the open ground is one problem and the M/W dimming is another problem. Also,depending on what his actual load demand is will determine if he needs to up the main, remember, I made a lot of assumptions, one way he's ok, the other he needs to up it.

Bob

Took you a long time to come on. Been out working? ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif)


Originally Posted By: lfranklin
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Could this be an overload in the circuit itself. Like when they first start they pull 14.99 amp on the 15A circuits


Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Mike,


I think you should start at the beginning and switch a few wires to different breakers. This would help you determine if it was the circuit or the breaker.

If it turns out the lights flicker on another breaker you can be pretty certain it is the circuit. Assuming it was the circuit and the lights still flicker I would check for loose connections and especially loose wires under the wire nuts. You should make sure all the connections on both circuits are tight, like the dryer, the plug for the dryer if it has one, the neutrals both at the panel and the device, the load wires, any and all j boxes in-between the circuits. Don't assume they are running alone and check everything from switches to receptacles.

If all that does not work I would check for damage at the wires that may be rubbing against anything.

Washers especially have a habit of loosening connections since they vibrate when they do the spin cycle. Sounds to me like you are catching this situation at the beginning before it gets bad. I don't think the open ground would make a light flicker but then again I have seen crazier things happen.

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Bob,


This is really strange, I just checked this post a minute ago and the one I posted earlier was not there. Now after I posted it again it reappears. What gives? Am I just working too much? I think I am losing it! ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif)

Oh, had two jobs yesterday. Nice to make some money for a change. Now the little lady is not going to kick me out again.

You should have seen me skiing off that roof. Thank God it was close to the ground. People think I am nuts and I say yeah, so! Are you going to pay me now? Those that learn to entertain well always get paid well, just look at Hollywood.

BTW....Yeah upgrade. I would go to the 200 amps sevice. The price difference is well worth it since it is not much more than the 100 amps.

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: Robert Patterson
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Joe,


Making that kind of money will allow you to buy a NEC from this century>

Bob ![icon_lol.gif](upload://zEgbBCXRskkCTwEux7Bi20ZySza.gif)


Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Bob,


I would do it everyday if I could. Unfortnately the little woman can not take the kids all day long so I have to settle for what I can get when I can get it! ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif)

Anyway...I really would like to move to Florida. The more I work the sooner I will get there.

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: jremas
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I figure I might as well throw my 2 pennies in here too:

  1. check the appliance tags for their rating

  2. make sure the wire to the appliances is correctly sized

  3. before the breaker swap, check to see how many large draw circuits are on the same phase

  4. do the breaker swap with another one on the same phase then use another breaker on a different phase

  5. check for loose connections, oxidation and corrosion, re-torque all lugs and breakers, neutrals & grounds (electrician & power off)

  6. do an amp draw on start up of appliances & while running. (start up current on motors can temporarily exceed 3 times the rating for a short period) A breaker does not trip instantaneous.

  7. upgrade to 200 amp (electrician)


    icon_cool.gif ignore everything I am rambling about.


I like to be careful to even out loads on the different phases. It is just something I try to pay attention to & is often the fix when someone sees a light flicker or dim a little bit every time a large appliance kicks on. It should not happen, but it does. If everything is wired correctly, the motors are good you can just swap around the phases and it cures the problem. The quality of your electric company can also affect this. Check your voltage at night in the fall, then during the week on a hot summer day and you will be surprised the difference in the reading. There is a large list of variables that come into play from the outlet all the way to the turbines at the power plant. There! Hows that for some rambling? I love to make a mountain out of a mole hill.


--


Jeff Remas
REMAS Inspections, Inc.
Northeastern PA & the Poconos
www.NEPAinspector.com

570-362-1598

Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Jeff,


How can anyone possibly say so much yet so very little. ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif) (just kidding)

Good suggestions Jeff, so we will forgive ya!

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: jremas
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I know I could always count on you for a good “ribbing”. Just wait until we hit a subject I am passionate about. I will write a novel.






Jeff Remas
REMAS Inspections, Inc.
Northeastern PA & the Poconos
www.NEPAinspector.com

570-362-1598

Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Jeff,


You are going to make a good inspector. Inpsectors that have a sense of humor, like yourself, always do well! Anyway, you have to be careful when writing novels, most don't have the time to read them! ![icon_smile.gif](upload://b6iczyK1ETUUqRUc4PAkX83GF2O.gif)

How did you make out with the inspection on the vacant property up in the boonies?

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: jremas
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The inspection is not done yet, I have to coordinate it with the potential buyers and the agent has to get back to me about the sellers decision to turn the water on. Thanks for asking.






Jeff Remas
REMAS Inspections, Inc.
Northeastern PA & the Poconos
www.NEPAinspector.com

570-362-1598

Originally Posted By: John Davco Jr.
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Mike.


I would have a Lic Electrician check the service feed and neutral wire from the point of attachment to the main breaker. This sounds like a high resistance connection (oxidation betweeen the wire and the connector)or a possible loose connection.

Jack.


Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Mike,


Are you going to give us an update here. Or do you just like to keep all of us guessing?

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: John Davco Jr.
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Joe,


Looks like Mike is busy shoveling snow,or the lights went out all together.


Jack ![icon_idea.gif](upload://6VKizmOm2U7YYmfXNtFW4XTwFVy.gif)