electricity issues...almost figured out?

i've asked about 7466 questions regarding our electricity, and have had aep/contractors/etc. out to our apartment building of about 8 connected. we have been experiencing dimming/flickering lights, especially when major appliances i.e. washer, dishwasher, microwave are on. also, our 2 flat screen's have had a low hum, and purple/green lines running through them. Anyways, today, after the electric men came to the house, they said they had done everything they could, and that it must be an inside issue? they said to call someone to deal with the inside. my 2 questions are:

a.) what could be the problem coming from the INSIDE now, and will an electrician be able to identify/fix?

b.) when the electricity is fine (this flickering/dimming) because it happens intermittently, there is still a VERY faint hum, and very light line running up and down the tv screen. im assuming this just mean it has ruined the tv, and we must buy a new one?

bear with me for all of these questions, i am a 19 year old girl with NO knowledge of electrical issues. i am frustrated because no one wants to fix the problem themselves, they keep saying to "call someone else". one person actually told us all of this happening was normal. yeah, no its not. thanks everyone!

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You need a certified master electrician. And if your apartments were built before 1976, they probably have aluminum wiring. That is very dangerous and a fire hazard. You have to get this solved quickly.

    Do not setle for anything less than a certified master electrician.

    Source(s): Former electic company worker.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I can only offer you some general thoughts: Dimming and flickering lights usually indicates something else on the circuit is temporarily drawing excess power. This could be something like a dishwasher, washing machine, electric heater, microwave ovens, fridges, anything that uses heat and/or electric motors. If you are OK with removing fuses or flipping circuit breakers (to re-engage those you may have to flip all the way to the opposite side and then back again, not simply flip them back again), then try this:

    Kill one circuit at a time by removing the fuse or turning off the breaker. (do not stand in water, or dampness and wear thick rubber soles shoes or boots when doing that.) Go around your home and mark down everything that is now "dead". Are any of those appliances like I described? If so, when they kick on, they momentarily draw current away from other devices.This dims the lights and may cause flickering, esp. in florescent lights. You may be able to identify a(ny) heavy duty appliances causing toruble. If possible relocate them to another circuit.

    If you're in a building like an old house carved into apartments, you may be dealing with another tenant's appliances. Have to talk to the landlord about that. Note that NEW wiring requires separate circuits for things like fridges, microwaves, freezers, etc. But older wiring need not be upgraded and there may be nothing you can do about it.

    As for the line on the TV, if it is an LCD screen and the line is there all the time, AND it is solid, it MAY be a dead line of LCD pixels. This is rare these days but could happen. (If it's a small TV, take it to another building and see if the line is gone. If so, it's not a permanent problem with your TV) If the line is in motion in any way, I'd suspect something called a ground loop which are often hard to figure out or fix. Try disconnecting all cables that plug in to the TV- if the line disappears, it's likely a ground fault . If it does not, it might still be a ground fault somewhere in the building power which is allowing 60 hertz hum to leak into your electronic components. Ground faults are tiny voltage differences between the circuitry of multiple devices. When the devices are connected together (ie DVD player and TV or stereo) the differences result in hum which can be heard in audio, and seen as a "bar" on some tvs.

    It's very complex- sometimes. Other times it can be simple. Try to have all your entertainment devices on one power bar or at least on the same circuit. Adjacent wall plugs are not necessarily on the same circuit- check by disconnecting the fuse/breaker. Different circuits can have small voltage differences in and of themselves. If no luck, unplug all devices attached to the tv and stereo and then reattach them one at a time and see if the problem appears when a particular device is attached. If you can isolate it (no guarantees at all!) try new cable(s) or at least be sure all cables are attached properly. If you still get the problem, AND it seems to be from an audio cable, you might be able to get an "isolation transformer" from Radio Shack/the Source or similar. This is put between the two devices and passes the audio signal but removes the ground (not the electrical appliance ground which must be intact for safety, but the signal's ground path between each device) . You may need adapters depending on the type of connection. Expect to pay about 415 to 20.00 for an isolation transformer. There are more expensive ones but those should do the trick if that's where the problem is.

    Good luck! (You may need it!)

    PS- just saw Life Coach's comment about aluminum wiring. It's a good point. Aluminum is fine if maintained. However it tended to expand/contract too much though and can cause arcing and potentially, a fire. Most common points are at wall receptacles and switches. If you get any flickering if you wiggle a cord plugged into a receptacle or at a wall switch, it is time for an electrician. If you do not get flickering then, there may be other poor contact points elsewhere. If you can see any cause and effect of heavily power drawing appliances as I described above it may be only that, or a combination of poor (aluminum) connections and too much power being drawn temporarily.

    If you are a tenant, the landlord should pay for an electrician but talk to her or him first of course.

  • 1 decade ago

    Wow,, Al wrote you a book, which with a few more pages could probably qualify you as an electrician yourself, if you understand all of it,, however, considering as how you said you really don't get electricity, and how it works, I'd say you need to get into the yellow pages of your local municipality, find an electrician's union number and call them. Tell them your problem, and that you'd really appreciate having a master electrician come take a look to see what could be done to correct the problem. They should be happy to help. That way you'll know that you have someone who knows what they're talking about.

    Source(s): 40 + years of home building, remodeling, repairing, and maint.
  • 1 decade ago

    Sounds to me you are either having voltage drop or a loose neutral or ground at the meter. I would call the company that provides the electricity and tell them what is happening. Ask if they can check voltage output at the transformer that feeds the 8 apartments.It is possible that they need to move what is called the tap so to keep the power up to the correct voltage..Good Luck

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  • 4 years ago

    energy x time = power Kilowatt hours are units of power. So, this means that the figures you have describe the power used in the entire ear of 2005 not per hour.

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