Help me not die in an electrical fire.
June 19, 2008 9:44 PM Subscribe
What is wrong with my electricity? Lights started to flicker, circuit breaker didn't trip, circuit started to buzz, now afraid the house is going to burn down.
posted by quin to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
What I believe to be the offending circuit is now turned off.
The story. A couple days ago, I noticed some lights in the bedroom flickering. After some investigation, I thought it was due to a weed wacker being used outside (our house is wired weird, so this made sense). Didn't notice again until tonight. Computer was off, lights were flickering in the bathroom. Turned off lights, everything seemed fine, turned lights back on, and the bathroom lights and the bedroom lights started flickering (have compact fluorescent lights and a mercury vapor light for a tortoise). Turned off bathroom light, turned back on again, this time the whole area of the house went dark, then lights started to flicker and come to life. Lights continued to flicker for a good 30 seconds after the bathroom light was flipped off before coming on fill power, like the couldn't get enough draw to fire.
Moved on to phase two of testing, unplugging non-essentials, but leaving lights on because they seemed to be an indicator of the problem. Turn off circuit, turn back on, no flickering. Turn on Mercury Vapor light and could hear the circuit making buzzing noises, but the circuit did not trip. Manually tripped, unplugged mercury vapor light. Reset circuit, nothing comes on. Reset circuit again, nothing comes on.
So now that circuit is off, and I'm a bit freaked out. Husband says its probably fine, I'm afraid that maybe we started a fire in the wall. Can that happen since we were quick to shut it down? I'm also concerned that the circuit breaker didn't trip, so if its not limited to that circuit, could the house burn down? And what could possibly be wrong that the circuit didn't trip?