We've been having problems with our lights dimming recently. We've had similar problems with bathroom fans slowing, plus the TV and dishwasher will reset.

I have a suspicion that it caused by the fridge. It's been making bad motor sounds and freezing up. When we unplug the fridge, it seems to stop our issue with the lights dimming. When we plug the fridge back in, the lights immediately dim for a second and then the periodic light dimming starts back up.

My question is whether a fridge can draw enough power to cause dimming throughout the house. I know there's an initial surge when you plug in a big appliance, but shouldn't it immediately settle down? If it's causing further periodic dimming, then is there something wrong with the fridge? Or could this be a wiring issue?

I know this is hard to diagnose from afar, but looking for some opinions to point me in the right direction (new fridge or call an electrician).


3 Answers 3


I agree with Aviator, the electrician is the safest bet. From your description though, it sounds like the Compressor motor on the fridge is either seizing up or has a short in the motor winding. Why it is not tripping breakers or blowing fuses is a concern worth looking into. A qualified electrician will be able to put an amp meter on the Fridge and measure how much current draw there is and determine if it is pulling too much. Only two general possibilities really exist. either the Fridge is pulling too much, or your panel is not providing enough. or the two combined (okay, 3 possibilities)...


The problems got worse today and the power started going out for minutes at a time, so we called in an electrician (as people told me I needed to). They quickly found a cable in the meter that was completely loose. It seems like it hasn't been tightened down since the house was built 20 years ago. They were stunned it hadn't caused problems, but said it's probably because we don't have an electric range or electric dryer.

It seems like I was wrong about the fridge being the culprit. Maybe the fridge is even a victim of these power issues.

Thanks for everyone's tips.


In your case calling an electrician is the safest course of action. If you have such intense dimming that even you TV resets there must be a connection/wiring issue or something wrong with the fuses installation. If it would be a overload of your fridge a fuse should go off normally. And if so your fridge is to blame.

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