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Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2837
Experience:  29 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 5 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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Hi, we have a fairly new custom house, completed in Oct 2010.

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Hi, we have a fairly new custom house, completed in Oct 2010. Since moving in we have been replacing a large number of light bulbs – approximately 4-6 fluorescents and 1-3 pot lights every month. They are on several different circuits.
We have also noticed that when the living room pot lights are dimmed they noticeably dim briefly when the furnace kicks in. They may dim slightly when on full, but I can’t tell.
Also, and something that may be unrelated, we have been having issues with our built-in fridge; the company has had to replace the computer in addition to other parts twice.
We called Hydro, they say everything is fine outside the house and the electrician who did the install says he can’t see anything wrong inside.
Any suggestions as to what the issue might be? Anything I can check or look for?

Hello name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!


1) The problem that you indicate is typically caused by "over-voltage". Over-voltage can either be caused by the local electrical utility transformer or the over-voltage may be smaller types of electrical surges that are occurring out on the utility distribution lines. Often, surges are storm related during strong lightening storms. Surges can also be attributed to the utility electrical distribution equipment and are not always caused by a lightening storm.


2) Do any of your neighbors experience similar problems with frequently replacing light bulbs? Ask the neighbors on your side of the street if they are experiencing similar issues.


3) Some light bulb manufacturers actually manufacture incandescent bulbs that are rated as 130 volts and not 120 volts to compensate for this problem. Incandescent bulbs are more prone to burning out prematurely due to over-voltages delivered from the electrical utility. All electrical utilities have a % voltage tolerance to deliver electricity. Even though your service is rated as 120/240, at any given moment in time, the voltage is constantly fluctuating. One second it will be 120 volts, next second down to 117 volts, next second up to 123 volts, etc. This changing occurs all of the time in any electrical distribution system.


You may also want to try changing light bulbs to CFL type or possibly a different light bulb manufacturer to determine if the problem stays or goes away. Although, since you are also experiencing problems with the fridge, I suspect over-voltage is the problem and possibly not the actual light bulbs.


4) Since you have also experienced problems with the Hydro, I would speak to your local electrical utility and request that they perform a power quality analysis at your service meter in order to determine that they are supplying you with the correct voltage levels and within the % tolerance. The utility has a power quality monitoring device that they can connect to your electrical main service for a 1 or 2 week time period and the testing device will record any voltage fluctuations. If the problem is on their end, it will most likely be with their transformer. There is no cost to you for the utility to temporarily install the power quality monitoring device. Explain to them the frequent problems that you have been having.


5) If your furnace is a gas model, it should be on its own dedicated 20 amp circuit and not shared with any other parts of the house. Check your main electrical panel circuit breaker and determine if the furnace is on its own dedicated circuit and not shared with the living room can lights.


6) You may also consider installing a whole house panel surge protector as well as local surge protectors on your expensive electronics. All it takes is 1 good strong surge and it can destroy thousands of dollars worth of sensitive electronic equipment.




Hope this helps.........If you have any additional questions, let me know and I'll be glad to answer them for you.


Otherwise, don't forget to rate me before you log Off.


The next time you have an electrical question, you can also request for me at:

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks I'll call Hydro and talk with the neighbours although we are out in the country and most are older houses.Our furnace is gas, I'll check the circuit when I get home and we had been considering a whole house surge protector, maybe I'll get one sooner rather than later.



Thank you for the positive service rating as well as the bonus Dan.............much appreciated!


Take care and have a great day..............Thanks....................Kevin!

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