lost power to the entire house

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Old 07-10-10, 08:51 AM
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lost power to the entire house

Hello all, I have lost power to an individual breaker before but yesterday the whole house went down. The first time during the afternoon and then 4 times from 9pm to 11pm. Is it just as simple as not using a lot of tvs, computers and ac at the same time? This has not happened before with the same usage. The only thing that's new is the verizon fios box in the basement. That couldn't draw so much power as to cause it, right? Suggestions are appreciated.
 
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Old 07-10-10, 08:55 AM
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If you mean the main breaker tripped..then yes it could be as simple as limiting use of multiple appliances at once. It may also be that it's an older home and wasn't wired for the number of things in use and you are over drawing what it's capable of supplying.

You may also have a weak breaker...or a problem inside your panel..
 
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Old 07-10-10, 09:26 AM
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Did your neighbors also loose power? What size electrical service do you have?

Did you hear any crackling or arcing sounds at the panel? Do you notice any smell near the panel? Does the panel feel warm or hot?
 
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Old 07-10-10, 09:49 AM
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the house has aluminum wiring and it was built in 1967 but until yesterday the main breaker had never tripped. Right now the dishwasher is running, the washer, the computer, tv and ac and so far so good. That's more than yesterday but then again the ac is not running all the time because it's not as hot as yesterday. The neighbors did not loose power and the panel was not hot or making noises. Thanks for your input.
 
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Old 07-10-10, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jmsauco View Post
the house has aluminum wiring and it was built in 1967 but until yesterday the main breaker had never tripped.
Has the main breaker tripped yet? You said the power in the house went off, but you did not say that you had to reset any breakers.
 
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Old 07-10-10, 10:59 AM
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Individual breakers have gone off before but this time it was the main breaker that had to be reset. My wife reset it the first time. When I got home and it happened again I couldn't just reset the main breaker. I had to reset a few individual ones, then the main breaker. it hasn't happened today yet, I think it's because the ac hasn't been running continiously.
 
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Old 07-10-10, 12:43 PM
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What size service do you have? This will be a number on the main breaker between 60 - 200 amps.
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 07-10-10 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 07-10-10, 12:54 PM
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While you are checking the main breaker, see what brand name is on the main panel as well. You could be overloaded or just have a bad main breaker. Some manufacturers from 1967 may no longer be around, thus, replacement parts may be hard to find.
 
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Old 07-10-10, 01:34 PM
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General Electric 200 amps
 
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Old 07-10-10, 02:00 PM
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It just tripped again. This time reseting the main breaker worked. I've been doing some research. It could be the aluminum wiring inside the box that needs to be tighten every few years or the main breaker needs to be replaced. Your thoughts.
 
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Old 07-10-10, 02:36 PM
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Since this is the main breaker and working with the main breaker is not a DIY project due to it always being "hot" your best course of action is to call an electrician.

The problem with aluminum is susually small gauge on branch circuits in fixtures not really designed for aluninum. It is quite common to use aluminum on large main feed wires and usually isn't a problem.

Do not try to tighten the wires on the main breaker. The wires and screws are always live.
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 07-10-10 at 02:52 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-10-10, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jmsauco View Post
General Electric 200 amps
Unless your running a whole crap load of stuff you should not be tripping a 200 amp main. Is the main breaker hot to the touch? You may have a loose connection which will heat up the breaker and cause it to trip. You must disconnect the power going to the breaker to tighten the connections. The wires feeding the main are, in most cases, unfused. Many times the only way to kill the power to the main is to pull the meter.

Have you had the power company come out and check your lines? They will do this for free any time 24/7.
 
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Old 07-10-10, 03:07 PM
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THANKS!! I have an electrician coming.
 
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Old 07-10-10, 05:29 PM
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The electrician will know how to pull the meter safely to check torque on the lugs, but I suspect you have a bad main breaker. I'd be interested in what he finds. If you happen to have a CT meter, he should also know how to coordinate with the power company to have the power turned off for the repair, pulling the meter won't do it.
 
 

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