Why Dimming Lights Indicate You Have Some Electrical Issues in Need of Repair

November 24, 2020

Have you noticed lights in your house that dim and then get brighter again? This is a common element used in horror movies, but if it happens to you in real life, don’t worry—you probably don’t have a haunted house. Instead, this is indicative of some sort of electrical issue, quite possibly in the wiring or in the electrical panel, that you’ll need to have repaired. If it’s a regular issue, it’s a good idea to get a professional electrician out to your home to check out the problem and explain why dimming lights in Carlsbad, NM mean you have important electrical issues on your hands.

If lights are dimming in just one room, this usually means there’s an overloaded circuit, something that’s relatively easy to fix. But if you’re having the problem throughout your house, then it’s going to get more complicated to determine what’s happening and how you can resolve the problem.

Here’s an overview of what you should know.

Residential electricity and potential problems

The high-voltage electricity in power lines leading to your home get changed into a lower 240 volts by a line transformer. A pair of hot wires from that transformer connects to your home’s main electrical panel. The hot wires are black and red, and there’s a white neutral wire that goes from the panel back to the transformer, as well as a bare wire that connects the panel to the ground via a ground rod.

While the voltage between the two hot wires is 240 volts, the voltage between each of the hot legs and the neutral is 120 volts, and all of the 120-volt circuits in your home get connected to the panel via a circuit breaker. During normal operation, power runs through every 120-volt circuit independently of each other. But if the neutral path gets severed, then you can start to have some strange things happening with your electricity.

The current won’t just stop flowing if the neutral path gets interrupted. Instead, it will try to complete the circuit through the ground, but may also use the other hot leg, turning all 120-volt circuits into 240-volt ones. This could result in the lights getting dimmer or brighter based on the balance of the loads between black and red legs. If the load on one leg is greater than that of the other, the voltage drop will cause the lights on that leg to dim, while the lights on the other leg get brighter, in accordance with that imbalance.

This is a problem that can only be repaired by a professional electrician. You should never mess with wiring or electrical issues if you do not have the proper training or equipment to do so. At the very least, you could make circumstances worse. But it’s also important to note that it’s extremely dangerous to mess around with electricity if you don’t know what you’re doing. This isn’t something where you can watch a DIY video on YouTube and then get to work—you need a skilled pro to handle the job.

For more information about resolving electrical issues that cause lights to dim, reach out to JB Electric LLC today to speak with an electrician in Carlsbad, NM.

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