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Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3196
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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2 days ago my father in law change a wall switch that turns

Customer Question

2 days ago my father in law change a wall switch that turns on a porch light. It had been a fancy timer switch and he replaced it with a on off switch. The light switch was the first of three switches that shared the same face plate. The other two switches control the living room lights and the other switch controls a ceiling fan. Now yesterday all of a sudden a circuit that controls part of the kitchen and a bedroom went out. I went to the breaker box and the breaker for that circuit was still on. I eventually realize that a gfi outlet needed to be reset. I went to the breaker and turned off all the breakers one by one and then the main one i flipped two or three times and then turned on all the single breakers. Everything worked fine after that.
Now to the problem that arrised today. We now noticed today that all the living room lights are flickering. It also appears the hallway lights are doing it as well. The living room lights which span between a chandelier and two different wall lights will at the same time flicker or turn off and on for a real quick second. But it was doing too much that we decided to turnn off the lights. Did my father in law loosen something? Or did I loosen something when i flipped all the breakers. What could be the problem and answer?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Flickering lights indicates a loose wire connection or a faulty splice somewhere within the branch circuit. Often the flickering is caused by a loose hot conductor.

2) I recommend that the switch terminations inside the 3 gang wall switch box be double checked. If the light switches were wired using the "back-stab" insert holes, it is recommended to re-wire the switches to the side screw terminals. Install "pigtail" jumper wires if needed.

"Back-stab" insert hole connections on receptacles and switches are widely known to become loose and fail.

3) Doubtful that the problem is at the circuit breakers. More than likely the loose connection resides within the wall switch box.

4) How many circuits are affected by the flickering? Just one breaker or more?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Same circuit breaker. The three switches are not back stab they are side screw. Once we turned off the lights we were just using the small light the is connected to the ceiling fan. We noticed that this light is flickering too. Flickering from two differnt switches. The porch light is on and not flickering. Any ideas why there is flickering on two switches and not all three?
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) Since the switches all reside on the same circuit breaker and they are all side screw wired, that means there is a wire nut splice in the box with pigtail jumpers for the hot wire feed into each switch (assuming they are single pole switches). Flip the breaker to the OFF position and double check that splice. On a properly spliced connection, the wires need to be twisted around each other using a pair of lineman pliers and the plastic wire nut needs to be tightly secured to the copper wire splice.

Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

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