1/2 house blackout

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Old 01-29-08, 03:22 PM
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Question 1/2 house blackout

My wife and I have purchased our first home. I would consider myself handy in the sense that I have common sense and a decent amount of talent. But I'm stumped and this electrical stuff is out of my league.

Two nights ago I asked my wife to turn off the heater at the thermostat before we went to bed because the temperature difference between the outside/inside was only like 3 degrees.

All was well (so we thought) until the next morning.

She got up first and the house was freezing so she went to turn on the heater on the thermostat. She proceeded to do her morning routine and told me the lights dont work in both of our guestrooms. I thought this to be odd.

I checked the breaker, it wasn't flipped. So, I filpped it several times to make sure the connection would connect (if possible). That has changed nothing.

To make a long story short, two bedrooms (lights/outlets), the washer/dryer, furnace and all the outlets in the larger room of my basement don't work.

I purchased the current tester tool and it shows that there is no power going to the outlets except one. I took apart that outlet and there were three wires (3 black and 3 white) meeting at this junction outlet. The wires that were feeding power to this outlet only gave off 19 volts of energy.

This is where I sit. I may just call an electrician but I'm just befuddled as to what the heck happened. It seems to be multiple breakers (as it involves the washer/dryer/furnace/and several rooms/outlets).

I haven't taken the multimeter to the breaker box yet. I've never done that before and I have a healthy respect for that much power.

Regardless, everything worked. My wife turned off the furnace at the thermostat. Now 1/2 the house doesn't have power.

advice? comments? test points?
 
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Old 01-29-08, 03:26 PM
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Call the power company NOW. If I am reading your post correctly, it sounds like you have a problem with roughly half the circuits in your house. This would indicate a problem with one leg of your service.

This would mean that the circuit corresponding to every other breaker in your panel is out. You may want to verify this.

The power company will come out and determine if it is their problem or yours. If it is theirs, they will fix it. If it is yours they may fix it, but they will at least tell you where it is.
 
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Old 01-29-08, 03:33 PM
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I second Bob's advice to call the power company ASAP. This type of problem can cause major damage to appliances if not repaired in short order. Most power companies will come out and investigate this for free and perform the repairs if it's their problem. In the meantime, it would be a good idea for you to flip off all of the double-pole (240V) breakers in your main panel. This will protect those appliances from damage.
 
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Old 01-29-08, 03:36 PM
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Okay. I'm calling. I'll post back here when they tell me what they have to tell me.
 
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Old 01-29-08, 04:58 PM
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your are a smart man, unlike most. as an electrician i mind you call an electrician. your main may be bad, or may be utility problem. electrician should check line side meter then load side to make sure meter is good(phase to phase and phase to neutral) if all is well they will proceed to panel or main disc.. again line then load. should have answer within minutes.after diagnosis post if you like. also to all that read. should have respect for any power not just that much power, being hit by 120 277 480 4160 i respect them all the same and its nothing new to me, know this 10 milliamps can hang you up and 100 milliamps can kill you.
Originally Posted by Ubiquidos View Post
My wife and I have purchased our first home. I would consider myself handy in the sense that I have common sense and a decent amount of talent. But I'm stumped and this electrical stuff is out of my league.

Two nights ago I asked my wife to turn off the heater at the thermostat before we went to bed because the temperature difference between the outside/inside was only like 3 degrees.

All was well (so we thought) until the next morning.

She got up first and the house was freezing so she went to turn on the heater on the thermostat. She proceeded to do her morning routine and told me the lights dont work in both of our guestrooms. I thought this to be odd.

I checked the breaker, it wasn't flipped. So, I filpped it several times to make sure the connection would connect (if possible). That has changed nothing.

To make a long story short, two bedrooms (lights/outlets), the washer/dryer, furnace and all the outlets in the larger room of my basement don't work.

I purchased the current tester tool and it shows that there is no power going to the outlets except one. I took apart that outlet and there were three wires (3 black and 3 white) meeting at this junction outlet. The wires that were feeding power to this outlet only gave off 19 volts of energy.

This is where I sit. I may just call an electrician but I'm just befuddled as to what the heck happened. It seems to be multiple breakers (as it involves the washer/dryer/furnace/and several rooms/outlets).

I haven't taken the multimeter to the breaker box yet. I've never done that before and I have a healthy respect for that much power.

Regardless, everything worked. My wife turned off the furnace at the thermostat. Now 1/2 the house doesn't have power.

advice? comments? test points?
 
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Old 01-29-08, 07:57 PM
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Follow up: They determined I had a bad leg on my house. They gave me a battery (he said it could power my house for a month - I WANT ONE OF THOSE) until they can come out and replace it. On another note they decided to replace the transformer next to my house too. I'm glad for that.


Thanks for all you help (direction) guys.
 
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Old 01-29-08, 08:15 PM
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In other words, the problem is on their end, and they will fix it.

Now why did you wait so long to deal with this? Half your house not working is obviously a serious problem. I understand, you're a new homeowner, and don't know what those of us who have been around for a while know. But half your house not working?
 
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Old 01-30-08, 12:06 PM
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A similar thing happend to me the day of the closing on our new house. The electrical service was underground and one hot leg was severed. The power co came out verified that one leg was out, asked if I had heat in the house(I said yes) and said fine we'll be back in 2 weeks to fix it. Run cords to the dark rooms if you need lights they said and don't use any 240 appliances. Simply amazing.
 
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Old 01-30-08, 01:37 PM
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When the same thing happened to a relative of mine with underground service they pulled his meter and put a slug in so he had power to everything. No 240 though. They came back in two weeks to dig it up and fix it. Mean time he had free power for two weeks.
 
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Old 01-30-08, 11:00 PM
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hey gave me a battery (he said it could power my house for a month
Ok Experts, just for my education what did the Poco guy really mean or was he just "pulling his leg".
 
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