Ask Angie

Flickering, dimming lights requires electrician’s diagnosis

 

www.AngiesList.com

Q: My main-floor lights flicker and dim whenever something is turned on, such as the coffee pot, microwave, refrigerator or dishwasher. What should I do?

Eileen W., Greece, N.Y.

A: Some problems around the house, however annoying, don’t require an expert’s immediate attention. This is not one of those.

Because electrical issues pose a danger to people and property, I recommend that you call a qualified electrician as soon as possible. And while an expert should address the source of your specific situation, and its solution, several highly rated electricians offered our researcher possible reasons for flickering lights:

• Overloaded circuits: According to standard electrical codes, major appliances, such as a dishwasher or range, should each be on a separate circuit. Smaller appliances, such as coffee pots and toasters, should be grouped on one circuit.

• Loose or faulty connections: Another cause could be a loose connection in a light switch or outlet, or possibly in the meter box or electrical panel. Terminals in the main breaker panel can become loose over time, stressing circuits and the circuit breaker.

• Arcing: Arcing occurs when separate connections are too close, causing a spark and sometimes allowing electricity to jump from one line to another, which can cause a fire.

Whatever the cause, it’s best to leave the diagnosis and remedy to an experienced, licensed electrician.

In checking with service providers and reviewing related member reviews, our researcher found that the price to deal with situations like yours could range from $70 to $300. Of course, your actual cost will depend on your specific problem and the complexity of the solution.

Read more Home & Garden stories from the Miami Herald

  • Washington Report

    Stuck in the credit score logjam

    Homeownership is now at its lowest level since 1995, in part because so many buyers can’t get past lenders’ severe underwriting requirements.

  •  
Dormify's Black Diamond and Stripe Bed Set is reversible with grey diamonds on one side and bold stripes on the other at $69. For a loft look, install temporary brick wallpaper ($98/roll) and hang graphic posters with washi or painter's tape.

    Home away from home

    How to furnish and decorate a dorm room

    Today, creating a dorm-away-from-home requires little more than a simple college try. Many university dormitories are often more akin to collegiate cells, with white walls and institutional furniture design that doesn’t always make the grade.

  • Ask Angie

    How to check a contractor’s references

    Q: When I contact contractor references, what should I ask?

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category