Lost half the power to my house!

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  #1  
Old 01-15-14, 01:16 PM
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Lost half the power to my house!

I know there has been many threads on this topic, but I couldn't find one that is like my problem.

I will start from the beginning. I kept on having breaks flip when I plugged things into certain outlets in the house, say a heater in the front room and one in the basement the break would flip unless I moved one of them to another outlet. This would happen with many different outlets. Then one night, I lost power to half my house. I started unplugging things and turning things off. Once I started doing that lights and outlets started working but not to full capacity. The breaks are all fine. Having tested those.

Can anyone help? I have power to the whole house off at this moment. Worried it was going to start a fire. It is starting to get cold again and need to turn the power back on but don't want to put my family in danger from doing so. I know I need to contact an electrician but don't have the funds at this moment. If you need more info I can give you some.

Thanks for the advice in advance,
Justin (another NOOB)
 
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  #2  
Old 01-15-14, 01:32 PM
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Call your local power company emergency number. If the power lost was all one the same side of the service, then you could have a loose connection. They will do this for free 24/7. They will check all of their connections and if nice, may even check your mains on your side.

Call them now...you have nothing to lose.
 
  #3  
Old 01-15-14, 01:41 PM
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They have checked the lines outside a couple days ago. Said everything was fine. Sorry forgot to mention that in my post.
 
  #4  
Old 01-15-14, 01:51 PM
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Well...likely you have an issue with the connections inside your main panel. If you can describe what you have in detail the Pro's may be able to help...but be advised there lethal voltages inside.

Provide where the lines come from (overhead or underground), what they go in to, what your panel is (brand and model), and what breakers in the panel were tripping.

Pictures always help....http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
  #5  
Old 01-15-14, 02:01 PM
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Ok thanks for the help for now. Once I get back to the house I will take pictures and get as much info as I can. I do some electrical work at work being a maintenance mechanic, but nothing like this. I probably wont be able to post again till tomorrow. thanks again for the help you have given me.
 
  #6  
Old 01-15-14, 02:06 PM
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Do you have a multimeter or can you borrow one from work? You need to check for 240v across the main breaker and for a 120 volts from each side of the main breaker to neutral.
 
  #7  
Old 01-15-14, 02:19 PM
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Yes I have one. I will do that when I get home and get all the info and post it all tomorrow.
 
  #8  
Old 01-18-14, 01:20 PM
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Sorry for taking so long to reply. I called KG&E out 3 days in a row till they replaced something on the out side leading in. I don't know what they where but close to the house and looked like some type of clamp. The last guy was nice enough to come in the house and help check the breaker and everything was fine with it.

I showed him what it was doing. Turn a light on something turns of. Say I turn a light on in the basement the microwave turns off. Turn it off it turns back on. Same thing with other light switches and outlets. They either shut all the way off or dim. He told me he really couldn't tell me what it was and he shouldn't of been in the house anyways. So I thanked him for what he did and he went on his way.

I learned the previous home owner did some electric work in the house. This was not disclosed when we bought the house. He told me the house only had 2 junction boxes. Should I add more? He also told me he "eliminated" some wires because they where not being used. He didn't remember if he took the wires out or just undone them.. Even though I know my breaker box is fine here are some pictures. I will get more of the junction boxes and everything else when I have time.
 
  #9  
Old 01-18-14, 01:25 PM
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Here are the pictures. Sent the last message to soon.
 
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  #10  
Old 01-18-14, 01:45 PM
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The last guy was nice enough to come in the house and help check the breaker and everything was fine with it.
Did he check for 240V across the terminals for the two hot legs coming in? Did he check for 120V from each of thosde terminals to the terminal for the incoming neutral? Did he check for 120V from the load terminal on each branch circuit breakwater to neutral?

If not, have you made those tests?

I showed him what it was doing. Turn a light on something turns of. Say I turn a light on in the basement the microwave turns off. Turn it off it turns back on. Same thing with other light switches and outlets. They either shut all the way off or dim. He told me he really couldn't tell me what it was and he shouldn't of been in the house anyways. So I thanked him for what he did and he went on his way.

I learned the previous home owner did some electric work in the house. This was not disclosed when we bought the house. He told me the house only had 2 junction boxes. Should I add more?
The number of junction boxes is meaningless. Most houses have none.

He also told me he "eliminated" some wires because they where not being used. He didn't remember if he took the wires out or just undone them.. Even though I know my breaker box is fine here are some pictures.
Those pictures of your breaker panel don't provide us with much usable information. Testing should provide more.

It sounds like you may have one or more loose neutral connections, and/or some sharing of neutrals that may not have been part of the original design. Each of those conditions could potentially create a hazard, so that needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible.

In addition to using a multimeter, I would test every receptacle in the house with a plug-in receptacle tester.
 
  #11  
Old 01-18-14, 05:29 PM
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I'd also start getting a couple bids to replace that old obsolete Federal Pacific main panel you have as soon as the weather clears up and gets a little warmer. In case you aren't aware, Federal Pacific panels and breakers are a known hazard.

The Federal Pacific Electric FPE Stab-LokŪ Panel Circuit Breaker Hazard, Repairs, Electrical Panel Replacement Electricians Directory for Stab-LokŪ Repairs
 
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