08:58AM | 01/09/05
Member Since: 01/08/05
6 lifetime posts
We recently bought a slight fixer upper house in Florida. We are having problems with the kitchen and front room lighting. The lights flicker in the kitchen and eventually trip the breaker. Also the front room, if we are watching television, eventually the breaker trips and TV goes off after about 30 or 45 minutes. It seems that some of the outlets in the front are attached to the same circuit breaker in the kitchen and some of the outlets in the kitchen do not go to the same breaker? Any advice would be appreciated. Also, we have a 100 amp main circuit breaker, can we, or should it be a 200 amp? Also, the stove and dryer are attached to 30 amp breaker is this correct? Thanks!


Tom O

11:51AM | 01/09/05
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts

Flickering lights is usually due to a loose connection. That symptom, coupled with the fact the breaker trips leads me to believe that the loose connection could be at the circuit breaker. When you re-set the breaker is it hot to the touch? If so, the loose connection could be where the wire attaches to the breaker, where the breaker makes contact with the busbars or connections inside the breaker. Unless you have some experiance and can work inside the breaker box in a safe manner, call an electrician.

If you attempt this yourself, check the tightness of the wire connection, pull the breaker & visually examine the busbar for signs of arcings (pitted metal & discoloration). If the busbar is OK & the connection is tight, then try a new breaker.

Unless a local code prohibits it, putting front room receptacles on the same circuit as lights is permitted.

Do you need a 200 amp service? Answering that question takes a detailed calculation and a good bit of data. If you're not tripping the main, then I'd say tht 100 amps is enough for now.

Are the stove & dryer on the same 30 amp breaker? If so, that would not be code compliant.

Dryers circuits are typically 30 amp & there used to be some dryers that needed a 40 amp circuit.

Most electric stoves I've come across required a minimum of 40 amps.



08:20PM | 01/09/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts
Bert, Is the home you bought a very old home, say from the 40's? In those days folks had drum type lighting fixtures in the kitchens in which they would put oversize bulbs. The rubber wiring in the junction box above the fixture would dry out from the heat and falloff causing shorted wiring and loose connections. You can check this easily by just dropping th ekitchen fixture and seeing if the wire insulation falls out of the ceiling. This is a common problem I run into quite often and can be an involved job to correct depending on the number of cables entering that box.

If you do check the circuit breakers as Tom advised make sure you also check all the neutral connections. You may even see the end of one showing discolorization (brown) caused by heat. It may be a good idea to turn the main off and tighten all connections. Hope this helps.



01:09PM | 01/11/05
Member Since: 01/08/05
6 lifetime posts
Thanks for your imput. I'm going to check all that out. The circuit breaker is not hot to the touch when I turn it back on. But most of the time, it wont come back on until I wait a few minutes. (Like it has too cool off or something?). I think we have a loose connection somewhere, cause if the dog jumps on the floor in front of the wall that separates the kitchen and living room, the lights will flicker or the switch will trip. I'm just very worried about fire if you know what I mean. There is a board behind the stove where the connection for the stove is at. When we pulled the old stove out it was "straight wired" in. We put in a real plug but I'll just bet there is a loose connection behind that board somewhere. There is a lot of street traffic in front of our house at times, and when it gets busy around rush hour it seems to trip the breaker from vibration. Sometimes the stereo in the living room comes on by itself, spooky! Sometimes when the lights etc., go out in the kitchen, they come back on by themselves after a minute, which leads me to believe the breaker may not be working as it should either. Whew....what a deal. I appreciate all the help and advice. I sure could use it. Thanks!



07:19PM | 01/11/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts
Burt, it sounds like you do have some loose connections and the dog might be trying to help you find it. Turn on all your lights in the area affected by the outages. Then wherever there is a receptacle or switch pound on the wall around each and see if the lights flicker. When they do you have found one of the loose connections. A loose connection will not trip the breaker, instead it just cooks and starts to melt connections. It is possible that you have a connection that is so loose that it is hanging loose in the box and vibration causes it to hit the side of the box and trip the breaker. Good luck on finding the problem but do it as soon as possible.



04:44AM | 01/14/05
Member Since: 01/08/05
6 lifetime posts
Hi All

I tried to post a Thank you to all of you, but I guess it didnt go through, so here goes again. Due to all your help, I found the loose connection. Actually it was a bare wire in the ceiling, in the kitchen light fixture. Someone had wired the light, and I guess when they pushed it back up it slit the insulation off the wire and there was a nice size slit in the wire. That took care of the tripping of the breaker as well as the flickering of any lights. You guys are great, thank you so much! You probably saved our family from a fire. I thank you so much and hope you all have a great New Year! By the way, the dog DID know where it was just like someone said, but I wasnt listening. Best dog I ever adopted from the County Humane Society. Tehe!



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