Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why do Lights Dim and What does it Mean?

We would all like to think that dimming lights signals the start of an exciting movie or show. However, there are frequently times in our daily lives that our lights dim at home or work while electronic devices thankfully continue unabated. Given recent weather events in the East--the June derecho and the October hurricane, not to mention the occasional passing wind gust (not gas) or thunderstorm, many of us have experienced a lack of electricity, stopping us in our tracks so to speak.

Power or electricity is delivered to our homes and workplaces for the most part on a multi-phase basis. Oftentimes, power loss is preceded by a dimming of lights--followed by a complete blackout, or for the fortunate, immediate restoration to full power. If one line goes down due to tree limbs or other debris, human or animal damage or gusts of wind, single-phasing comes into play resulting in dimming until full power comes back or all power goes out, meaning an event has caused complete interruption. In other words, dimming of lights could be called "single-phasing", the loss of one phase feeding lights but perhaps not a phase affecting electronics or vice versa. In this day and age it is safe to say that most people would rather lose phasing to the former rather than the latter.      
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