Lights dim/flicker when refrigerator kicks on
java94
11:10a, 05/22/11
java94
1038 posts, joined 01/08/2008
I've always noticed, on occasion, the lights dim/flicker when the refrigerator compressor kicks on, but recently it seems like every time it kicks on, we notice it. The house is only 14 years old, as is the refrigerator. We notice it primarily in the living room, where we have incandescent recessed lights. I've also noticed it in other rooms where we have incandescent lights.

Is this something to worry about?

Is it simply my refrigerator getting old?

Maybe we notice it more now because the A/C is running more and it's the combination of the A/C running when the refrigerator kicks on, but I haven't been able to prove that theory.

Any thoughts?
Picard
6:22p, 05/22/11
Picard
11250 posts, joined 12/06/2004
Is your fridge on its own breaker? If not, it should be.

RoperJoe02
10:49a, 05/23/11
RoperJoe02
2315 posts, joined 08/25/2005
Probably has to do with the size of the primary feed from the electric company. Assuming its on its own breaker, there is prob not much you can do about it. Contact your supplier and ask them maybe?
tinker35
11:01a, 05/23/11
tinker35
998 posts, joined 03/12/2009
WOuldn't worry about it much. That being said fluctuations can be hard on electronics

a 14 year olf fridge should probably be changed out for reasons of efficency
helgs
6:18p, 05/23/11
helgs
11874 posts, joined 06/07/2006
quote:
The house is only 14 years old, as is the refrigerator.


Replace that fridge. It'll pay for itself in electricity savings in not too long at all. For some reason (probably gov't regulations), they became super efficient (and just as good) in the last 6-8 years.
java94
12:16a, 05/26/11
java94
1038 posts, joined 01/08/2008
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I've been working late and haven't had a chance to check if the fridge is on it's own breaker yet.

I am considering having an electrician come out to inspect and let me know what is causing this and see what can be done about it. Any recommendations? If it's something relatively minor, I can do the work myself, so it's really the troubleshooting I need help with.
yakman
5:38p, 05/27/11
yakman
2281 posts, joined 10/26/2006
quote:
Probably has to do with the size of the primary feed from the electric company. Assuming its on its own breaker, there is prob not much you can do about it. Contact your supplier and ask them maybe?


We had a house were the contractor put in such an inadequate feed from the pole to the house we had to replace it. It cured the dimming that was happen whenever anything kicked on.
yakman
5:47p, 05/27/11
yakman
2281 posts, joined 10/26/2006
quote:
Probably has to do with the size of the primary feed from the electric company. Assuming its on its own breaker, there is prob not much you can do about it. Contact your supplier and ask them maybe?


We had a house were the contractor put in such an inadequate feed from the pole to the house we had to replace it. It cured the dimming that was happen whenever anything kicked on.
LateAg
7:08a, 05/28/11
LateAg
2239 posts, joined 05/04/2000
The problem is most likely due to the voltage drop that occurs when the refrigerator's compressor energizes. When this happens, a large amount of current is drawn from the supply. While this is only for a very brief moment, it is usually enough to cause lights to dim or flicker. The same probably occurs when your A/C unit turns on.

You have a couple of options if it really bothers you. You can have the electrician investigate the size of the service entrance phase and neutral conductors, and also the total distance from the utility transformer to your panel - both information would be needed to determine if you have excessive voltage drop there. As previously mentioned, the refrigerator should be on it's own dedicated circuit, if it's not already. If the service entrance conductors are sized properly, putting the refrigerator on it's own circuit may solve your problem.
java94
1:40p, 05/31/11
java94
1038 posts, joined 01/08/2008
Thanks again for all the feedback. Hopefully it's now fixed! I didn't want to spend the money on an electrician so it was suggested I call CS Utilities first to see what they could do. After describing the issue and frequency, they had someone out within 15 minutes to check it out. They found low voltage at my meter then checked the transformer in my neighbor's yard (underground utilities). They found an old fire ant nest covering the neutral distribution block which had it corroded. They switched out the distribution block and I now have the correct voltage at my meter.

I'll be paying attention over the next few days to make sure it really is fixed.

Thanks and Gig'em!
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