No recent wiring changes/additions, etc. Refrig is on its own circuit. Dining outlets on another. They both go out (after flickering several seconds in unison) no breakers tripped.

After an hour they flicker and both come back on. Nothing else is being done with any other switches. I can turn the dining breaker off at panel and ref remains running. When power comes back it does so sporadically blinking and then finally stabilizing on. This has happened 3 days in a row.

  • 1
    I think you need to check if this problem is affecting more than 2 circuits. When the fridge goes out for an hour, spend that time checking all other appliances, outlets, lights, and receptacles. You might find, for example, half the dwelling is out, which points to some possible problems. May 28, 2023 at 12:18
  • Thanks....I moved the ref. temporarily to another circuit...I'm also trying to eliminate that this modern circuit board refrig doesn't have some problem. I will pull ref receptacle next.
    – Scott Fair
    May 28, 2023 at 12:54
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    Well if they're flickering, lights are clearly involved. Be aware some LEDs (cheapies, particularly) are rather sensitive to slight voltage fluctuations that are of no consequence. I had one that came free with an Amazon goosneck lamp that "let me know" anytime the fridge started up. On the other hand, "fixing itself every hour" sounds like a lost phase, and the "fixing" is when the water heater comes on. Do you have an electric range or dryer? Will it "mysteriously fix" when you turn a burner on or start the dryer on a heat cycle (not fluff only)? Do the burners make heat normally? May 28, 2023 at 22:02

3 Answers 3


Are both circuits sharing a neutral? You have to figure out what both circuits would have in common that would interrupt current flow to each circuit. Since they may have a common neutral, you might have a connection or splice that has loosened overtime and is becoming disconnected then remaking connection for whatever reason. Verify that they do have a common neutral, then trace the circuit from the start to finish and look for a broken or loose connection. I would do this throughout the entire circuit and redo each splice.

The only other thing I can think of at this time is check the breakers in the panel. Are they side by side? This could be an indicator that the bus and the breakers are not making a good connection in the panel meaning, repairs and maintenance need to be performed on the panel.

Hope this helps and good luck.

  • I think you are right.....after going through the house we noticed no power in guest bedroom......2nd bath, some receptacles in master bath etc..........I concur with your poss. neutral problem. Have a call into company that last replaced elec panel box. Of course....It's Sunday. Will update when I have news. Thanks.
    – Scott Fair
    May 28, 2023 at 14:50
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    Losing the neutral connection is often considered an emergency. If you have an old outmoded 3-wire electric clothes dryer connection, you do not want to use your clothes dryer without a good neutral. Probably you should turn off the breaker for the dryer or unplug it until you get the neutral problem straightened out. The loss of a neutral could be in the service drop in which case your electric service repair should be called. They will come out on a Sunday for this. May 28, 2023 at 19:20
  • Do you have a plug in circuit tester to see whether the fault is in a hot or the neutral? May 28, 2023 at 19:21
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    The widespread nature of the issue suggests that it may well be the (external) service neutral, and that's a big deal, power company should be on it in minutes-to-hours if you're not in the midst of a widespread storm outage where their people are backlogged. They have crews on call to deal with things that need to be dealt with.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 28, 2023 at 20:39

Losing neutral is an emergency, but this I think might be losing a hot, which is less of an emergency but yet the same priority to the power company.

If half the house is solid, but the other half is flaky.... and if the breakers in question are in a pattern just like this (every other row of spaces which gets confusing where tandems are involved)... and if the problem mysteriously fixes itself when a 240V load is switched on... that's a lost phase/hot.

In that case, no appliances are in danger of over-voltage as would be the case in a Lost Neutral... however as far as the power company is concerned, the fix is exactly the same - get a boom truck out there and redo some splices.

"It's a Sunday"... Yeah we had the more insidious one, the Lost Neutral, and we called the power company immediately. They apologized and said they'd be about an hour, came out and fixed us up shipshape. In fact they fixed a neighbor, who had a flaky hot wire that was unreported - the worker had me notify them and cut their mains to avoid having to descend out of the bucket.


I appreciate the fast help here! This was my first post on this site. So....I did find that I had more circuits that were out than just the 2 mentioned... I turned the oven on and all the circuits that were dead came back......for a while. I had power co come out and he pulled the meter and checked the meter cam and showed me where the bottom right lug was burnt. He said that was my end so I have electrician replacing the box today. (It was the original) Hopefully he won't find any more problems after! Thanks all!!!

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