I had noticed, after taking a long shower last night before heading for work, my power to my condo unit was flickering on one side. I have a hot water tank, an older Fridge, and a 15,300 BTU 120 volt air conditioner all on the same side of my unit, thinking they may be sharing the same line in to my circuit breaker.

In any event, there was some major flickering, it lasted about 5 minutes, where the A/C was not turning on, but trying to turn on, my whole side of my unit, where the A/C is on, that side, my Fridge was turning off and on, I mean clicking very loud, my electric stove was beeping off and on (that was on off), my lights were dimming, and then shutting off and back on, it was if the one side of the house was possessed. I unplugged my A/C because I couldn't power it down normally, and flipped all the circuits off and back on, and in about 10 minutes, the power seemed to be okay. This happened ONLY on one side of the condo, the other side had a steady stream of electric, the lights were all okay.

Do you think I had too much on one side of my unit pulling too heavy a load, or do you think the power company pulled back a bit from a larger load in my neighborhood, or is this something I should be totally concerned about?

  • I made some assumptions on editing your post. I have never seen a 15,000 watt AV or air conditioner for that matter.
    – ArchonOSX
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 9:36
  • Yes, i meant 15,300 BTU using a 110
    – David
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 10:01
  • One of the problems with the term "flickering" is that it's meaning is very different to many people. What I call flickering is most often caused by a loose wire causing a connection that is arcing and producing heat. An important question to ask is: do you think that it's flickering 'brighter' or 'dimmer'? While both are situations that deserve attention if your answer is 'brighter' you need to get service from your power company and/or an electrician very soon. Start with the power company as its most likely a problem in the meter.
    – Tyson
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 12:48
  • What do you mean by "side"? One side of the building? Are you one of the rare individuals who actually knows what split-phase poles are, and knows which pole his loads are on, and saying one pole is having problems? Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 14:21
  • There was a brown out, I had confirmed with National Grid at that exact time, however, I have moved my AC electric chord to an outlet that isn't shared with other major appliances and all seems to be working well. In fact, the AC unit itself works better, when the compressor comes on, it isn't having to draw as hard, I can hardly hear the compressor come on. Thanks for all the advice.
    – David
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 4:21

1 Answer 1


Late in the afternoon on a hot day is when the power company has the highest load. Later in the evening the load tapers off.

So, either your air conditioner is malfunctioning and drawing way too much current, or the power company was experiencing a brown out, or a little of both.

If you plug the A/C back in and it works fine then maybe it was the power company.

If you continue to have problems I would suspect the A/C is going bad. The only way to tell is to take ammeter readings on the unit while it is running to see if it is exceeding its rating.

There are other possibilities but if you don't experience any problems without the A/C running I wouldn't pursue them.

Good luck!

  • See above, I used the wrong format to reply, sorry about that, and thanks for your advice.
    – David
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 9:59
  • 3
    I confirmed with our local power company, National Grid, and there was a brown out for a brief period of time at the same time I had flickering and power issues. Before I left the building, I had unplugged as many major appliances, just to be safe. When I returned, the power was okay. I did move the power chord to the bigger AC to an outlet that only has lights shared with it, and a computer, and that was a smart move, when the AC compressor turns on, I see no dimming or flickering of lights whatsoever, and the AC itself seems to perform better. Thanks so much for the advice.
    – David
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 4:32

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