Partial power failure in house


Old 12-30-13, 07:53 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 17
Partial power failure in house

I've experienced a rather bizarre power failure in my home in the last few days.
One day I awoke and realized the power was out. As I went through the house I discovered some lights and outlets were functioning and others were not. At the power panel no circuit breakers were tripped. I go out to the workshop and get the DVOM. (The electric door opener worked.) The voltage test results showed some circuit breakers were not passing any current and others were at 124.9v.
I had to sit back and ponder this. After about ten-fifteen minutes I went down and tripped a couple circuits and rechecked them all. To my surprise all breakers were showing power. I turned around and the basement lights that had been off were now on.

Two days later, I'm watching t.v. in the middle of the afternoon and the power goes out. Same situation through-out the house, some lights & outlets working and others not-same ones as before. No tripped circuit breakers. This time I walked through the house and wrote down what lights/outlets were not working. Before I could use the DVOM the power had returned.

There may be a pattern to the circuits that were working. The oven, stove top, refrigerator, furnace, washer & dryer, 100 amp service to the workshop, utility room lights, and one circuit with two rooms that the ceiling lights were all working. The circuits that were not working were the living, bath, dining, kitchen, hallway, basement lights, and three bedrooms. These circuits are intermixed in the circuit breaker layout in the panel.

About 2006 I had a new 200 amp service installed with 100 amps out to the workshop. All the circuit breakers are Siemens ranging from 15-100 amp. This included new service from the pole. Never had a problem before these events.

I know this sounds like I've had too much egg-nog over the holidays!!!

Any suggestions on how to approach trouble shooting this or what might be going on here????

Thank you for your time and comments.
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Old 12-30-13, 08:08 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Not an uncommon problem and can be a very dangerous one.
I'd kill the main breaker and call the power company ASAP.
They need to come out to inspect all the wires from the transformer to the meter base.
A dropped neutral can destroy anything that's plugged in at the time.
Once that's checked a real electrician should be checking inside the panel for a bad buss, loose connections, ECT..
Old 12-30-13, 08:20 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,287
Since your outages are affecting more than one circuit, and the same circuits each time, you likely have a poor connection on one leg. This connection can be anyplace from the pole, to your weatherhead, and all the way down to your main breaker.

Since everything from the meter to the street is the power companies responsibility, I suggest calling them to come out and check your lines. Tell them you are losing power at random times and they will send a truck out. This will be free and they will do it 25/7. If they are nice they may even check your inside too, but that is not really their responsibility.
Old 12-30-13, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 138
Remember do NOT call customer service. Call the emergency number.
Old 12-30-13, 10:11 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,405
Since your outages are affecting more than one circuit, and the same circuits each time, you likely have a poor connection on one leg.
Agree! If it was a dropped neutral you wouldn't have any lights or receptacles working correctly. It's probably on the power company side, but you can not rule out the meter socket or main panel yet.
Old 12-31-13, 09:58 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 17
Thank you for you direction on this. The power company was called will be looking into this issue.

Have a safe New Year!

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