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A Handyman Helping Hand


Posted By: Phil
Friday, 18 May 2001, at 12:11 p.m.


Light bulb flickering may be caused by (1) loose or defective socket in the light fixture (2) bulb not screwed all the way into socket (3) the a/c or furnace suddenly drawing a large amount of current (4) a sudden power fluctuation in the main feed line into your home. There is nothing one can do about (4.)I suggest that you (a) isolate the fixture that causes the flicker, (b) identify the circuit to that fixture and trip off the circuit breaker to cut off power to that bulb; (c) Go around the house and identify all the outlets or light fixtures on that circuit. Use a current tester which you can buy for a few bucks when testing outlets. I recommend spending a little bit more for a good one. Find out from each outlet/fixture the total watts consumed and add them up. Then use the formula below to determine if the circuit is overloaded. Amps = Watts / Volts. For example, if the light bulb is on a 15 AMP circuit and the line is rated at 120 VOLTS, the WATTS consumed should not exceed 15 X 120 = 1800 WATTS. This is equivalent to 20 90WATTS light bulbs. Some air dryers consume 1800 WATTS by itself. Light flickering is very common in older homes and, unless you have the entire house rewired, you may have to live with it. You may also wish to try replacing the light fixture causing the problem. Hope this helps.

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