How can I repair an electrical circuit that keeps switching on & off?


I have a house built in 1939. A few electrical renovations have been made over the years. One circuit now seems to be acting up. Lights flickering, power going out. My electrician contractor can’t provide an answer or solution. Any suggestions out there?

  6 answers
  • Laura Cooper Laura Cooper on Jul 27, 2019

    My guess is that you might have a junction somewhere in the wall that is shorting out. (extreme fire hazard) Whenever two wires are joined, they are to have a wire nut, electrical tape and be housed in a junction box with a cover plate. Often what I've seen happen is that during a remodeling sometimes junction boxes get dry walled over and hidden. I've even seen wires left without a junction box dangling amongst the insulation.

    We found this very problem in a house we were renting. They had multiple electricians out to investigate with no success. But my husband was able to find it. The studs were charred and the insulation was black. Fortunately, there was no fire.

  • Seth Seth on Jul 27, 2019

    Laura is on the right track. Call another electrician if you are not able to follow the line from your circuit breaker and test it along the way. Look for places in your ceiling or walls that have inconsistencies in the plaster like they were repaired at some point. It might be a place where there was an old fixture or switch. There could be a buried junction box there. Sometimes you can take down a light fixture and be able to see a junction box just sitting there not attached to any framing that someone tapped into. Also look for places where old wire is tied into new wire.

  • Mike Mike on Jul 27, 2019

    Thank you all.

    I’m following up on your suggestions.


  • Sharon Sharon on Jul 29, 2019

    I have a 1940s house and I have found having an old handyman who has worked on these houses for decades are the best at fixing all my problems. The young guys want to replace everything.

    Do you still have the old round fuses? in your fuse box?

  • Pat Pat on Jul 29, 2019

    We have the old round fuses....that said. We found that we had too many outlets, plugs and lights on one circuit.....for instance we have a plug-in at one end of our kitchen and one on the other side. When we have a slow cooker on one of the plug-ins and put another on the other plug-in, it will blow the fuse. We found out (and an electrician can help) to see just what part of your house is on one circuit and maybe change it out so that it is more even and not blowing fuses or blinking lights or whatever.

  • Mike Mike on Jul 29, 2019

    Thank you to all of you who posted suggestions.

    Follow Up:

    I had my electrician back today looking for possible solutions to my problem. After troubleshooting a few areas he mentioned that quite possible the incoming wires to my house could be the problem. After he looked he was almost positive there was an issue with the wires. I contacted our Power Company to check it out. They concluded that we had a Copper to Aluminum connection from their pole that wasn’t good. New connections installed. No “charge” from the power company ......still got a bill from my electrician guy. 😀Hopefully now the case is closed.

    Cheers and thank you. Mike