One Pole (phase) of main panel goes in and out.


Old 12-09-04, 09:53 AM
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Question One Pole (phase) of main panel goes in and out.

I've been experiencing very strange behavior with the electrical service in the house.
Intermittently (who cycle seems to take about 2 hours) the power to portions of the house will go out. No breakers have tripped and manually switching the "dead" portions on and off at the breaker has no effect. After about 2 hours or so the power will flicker a little and then come back entirely. It will then stay on for several hours. There is no apparent relationship to demand. After some troubleshooting it appears that all the failing circuits are mounted to the "left" phase (200 AMP 2-phase svc to the house) and that all of the circuitstes on the left fail at the same time (essentially the left phase has gone dead). What the heck can cause this? there's no smell coming from the service panel or anything. I'm actually beginning to suspect that the Powercompanies transformer on the pole is bad or failing...
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Old 12-09-04, 10:24 AM
jughead's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Davenport, Iowa
Posts: 597
You are on the right track. It sounds to me like either the power companies' pole transformer is going bad, or more likely, you have a problem with the drop to your house. The symtoms would be typical of an intermittant open on a single leg of the power company feed. It's time to call the power company and have them investigate. My pole transformer feeds all my neighbors' houses as well. If your problem was with the power companies' transformer all your neighbors would be having the same problem as you. A loose connection would be all that's necessary to cause your problem as the line blows in the wind.
Old 12-09-04, 10:27 AM
green jacket's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Williamsport and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
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An inconsistent feed indicates a failed splice or other internal problem. The problem could be anyheres between the transformer coils and your main breaker. If you do not see or smell anything abnormal, the problem is most likely in their equipment. When the connection make contact and the hot leg gets power again, it would be arcing like crazy, and if it were in your main breaker for example, you would likely smell an ozone odor. Do no delay in calling them. Make sure all sensitive appliances are unplugged (microwaves, computers, etc that are plugged into the affected phase.

Is your service ariel or underground? If overhead, you can see how things are connected. Some power companies like Allegheny only put one to three houses on a transformer, PECO for example uses typically large transformers to feed as many service drops as possible. Chances are something was overloaded to cause the failure. After all, it is winter, and people have the heat on.

Old 12-17-04, 09:27 AM
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Unfortunately we're the only house on our transformer (we're on older lines running through the woods) so "asking the neighbors" wasn't an option.
Thanks to everyone for the replies. I had the electric company come out and they trimmed a tree the first time which didn't seem to help (the intermittent nature of the problem seems to have convinced the first guy that since it was working when he was there it was working in general). They came out again the next day and --though I wasn't there-- it looks like they ran new lines from the pole/transformer to the house. I've plugged a digital clock in to the only 110 circuit connected to that leg (if it's blinking then the power went out--sneaky eh?) and after 1 day it seems to have stayed on. fingers crossed.

Thanks again.
Old 12-17-04, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
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Originally Posted by BeanPole
I've plugged a digital clock in to the only 110 circuit connected to that leg (if it's blinking then the power went out--sneaky eh?) and after 1 day it seems to have stayed on. fingers crossed.

Neat trick...I'll have to remember that. Just be sure you took out the battery backup.

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