Flickering lights, Fluctuating Power
Flickering lights can be annoying, but fluctuating power can be an issue, to both electrical systems and the appliances and devices that are powered by electricity. For one, it may signify that there is something wrong in the electrical set up in the home, and secondly it can damaged the devices and the appliances.
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Australia’s University of Wollongong – School of Electrical, Computer, and Telecommunications Engineering came up with a paper on the causes of power and voltage fluctuations. In the technical study, they explained the technical side of the voltage fluctuations, what the reasons are, and how this can be prevented to minimize damage. American Lighting Association
“Voltage fluctuations can be described as repetitive or random variations of the voltage envelope due to sudden changes in the real and reactive power drawn by a load. The characteristics of voltage fluctuations depend on the load type and size and the power system capacity. Figure 1 illustrates an example of a fluctuating voltage waveform. The voltage waveform exhibits variations in magnitude due to the fluctuating nature or intermittent operation of connected loads. The frequency of the voltage envelope is often referred to as the flicker frequency. Thus there are two important parameters to voltage fluctuations, the frequency of fluctuation and the magnitude of fluctuation. Both of these components are significant in the adverse effects of voltage fluctuations.”
See figure 1 from the original text of the technical study here.
Causes of Power Fluctuations
Hunker.com meanwhile shared in one of its articles, possible reasons for power fluctuations in and around the home. Master Electrician
“A steady flow of electricity into a home’s wiring ensures all of its lighting, heating, cooling and personal electronics function properly. Power fluctuations change the amount of power available for those devices to draw. Finding and fixing the cause of the fluctuations prevents serious damage to sensitive televisions, computers and other equipment.”
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Check out the reasons that they mentioned here.
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EC&M also explained the reasons behind power fluctuations, and flickering lights.
“Voltage fluctuations in power systems can cause a number of harmful technical effects, resulting in disruption to production processes and substantial costs. But flicker, with its negative physiological results, can affect worker safety as well as productivity.
Humans can be sensitive to light flicker caused by voltage fluctuations. Generally speaking, flicker can significantly impair our vision and cause general discomfort and fatigue.”
Download their whole article here.
Flickering lights and fluctuations definitely need the attention of the homeowner, and in some cases, that of a licensed electrician contractor.
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