Big problem with electrical

My wife was useing the stove and disposal.The furnice was running and the dryer.The lights started to get dim and then everything on one side of the house went out.Turned everything off looked for a blown circuit.Nothing.My wife turned on the stove again and the lights came back on but was very dim.Turn the stove off.No lights.Stove on,lights but dim and the furnice won't work at all. It's like the stove needs to be on before anything works but the stove dosn't heat up.Very low power help!!
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You've probably lost one of the two hot legs that feed your 120-240 volt service. When any 240 volt appliance is on, you get a backfeed to the dead leg causing things to come on dim. Don't try to use any 240 volt appliances, and get an electrician. The problem could be outside, in your meter box, your main circuit breaker, or in the street. Nothing to fool with if you're not experienced

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Sounds like you lost one leg of your incoming power & when the stove is on it backfeeds limited power to the dead leg.
Check you main fuses, one is blown. (I'm guessing you have fuses because a main breaker whould disconnect both legs)
MikeB
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could I change the circuit breaker by myself to see if that works.I mean shut off power for outside change the breaker without to much risk?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

No, they are talking about the MAIN Breaker.
Call the utility and ask if they will investigate for you. (usually will) It's even *possible* it is their problem. Jim
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Open the panel, check to see if you have 240 volts across the two wires before they go into the main breaker. If you don't, the problem is outside and may be handled by your utility company. If you do have 240 volts before the main breaker, but not across the terminals of your electric range breaker, your main breaker or the connections to it are bad. I don't know your level of experience, so it's hard to say what you may be able to do properly and safely

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On 6 Dec 2005 17:16:07 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

If you have to ask, it is too risky.
I'm not trying to be a smart ass here. If you have to ask how far you should poke around before it gets dangerous then back off and get a pro.
Do not, under any circumstances, do what someone suggested further down the thread and start whacking things with a stick!
Electricity kills - quite often.
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Whacking stuff with a stick sounds like a good way to need a fire department.
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just about half the circuits? Now you you say that nothing works. Do you mean the half that didn't work before, or nothing at all.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It sounds to me like perhaps the neutral has become disconnected, probably at the service entrance. Corrosion, perhaps?
A $5+/- outlet tester that you could get at Lowe's/HD would quickly tell you if I'm right (assuming you have outlets with a safety ground).
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A loose main neutral would result in some of the lights _brightening_, or at least, _none_ of the lights in the house would retain normal brightness. Secondly, the fact that the lights only dimly light up when 240V circuits are on, is even stronger indication he's lost a hot leg in the panel.

It's going to be as confusing as the behaviour of the lights. The tester really needs to do voltage measurement. I'd recommend testing things with a voltmeter inside the panel if the OP felt comfortable with that.
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Chris Lewis wrote:

That depends on the magnitude of the load the stove presents relative to that of the lamps and whatever else is on that leg of the service. They could brighten, dim, or look normal depending on how the voltage divides.

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Uh, no. With a loose neutral the stove load is _irrelevant_. As the stove has no neutral connection (to the elements), it won't affect how the loose neutral "divides" between the two legs. Switching the stove on and off wouldn't affect the lights.
With a loose neutral, it's the balance of the 120V loads that determine how the neutral "divides" between the two legs.
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On 6 Dec 2005 16:51:59 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

The others have all figured it out, but I want to explain in a little more detail.
Lets say there are two legs of electricity coming in 120V-1 and 120V-2, which are opposite of each other. Let's say v-2 is dead because the wire from the street, or from the fusebox, is open somewhere. So there is zero volts at V-2. That's why half your lights don't work.
Let's say you turn on the stove. (Even though it is AC current, let's use language as if it were DC. In practice, the results are the same.) The current goes in via one wire 120v-1 to the stove and it "wants" to come out via the other leg 120v-2, back to the street, but like I said the path back to the fuse box, or to the street, is open.
But now there is voltage at 120v-2, and that voltage will power the lamps that didn't work before. So the lights go on, but why do they go on dimly. Because all the current that runs through the lamps first runs through the stove. So the voltage is lower than 120 by the time the current starts to feed into the lights.
In fact, the entire voltage -- from 120-v1 through the stove to the connecting point at 120-v2 and on from there to the lights, and from there to the neutral -- is 120 volts. And because the stove and each light (or the lights as a whole) are in series** the 120 volts is shared by the stove and the lights. The fraction that each gets depends on the resistance of the stove and each light and how many lights are on at the moment,, but roughly the lights get 60 volts instead of 120 and the stove gets 60 volts instead of 240. Or 80 for lights and 40 for the stove. AC I think the lights need at least 80 before they will glow, but the stove will get slightly hot iiuc no matter how low the current. through it.
**even though the lights themselves are in parallel with each other.)
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On 6 Dec 2005 16:51:59 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

Do what everyone else said on here. Check your incoming power with a meter and after your main, etc. If you are not getting proper readings, take a long wooden pole and whack the power wires where they enter at the top of your house. My brother-in-law had somerhing like this happen. He called me and I went there and my meter measured 120v on one side of the line, and fluctuated on the other side (before main breaker). I got a long board and told him to wateh the meter. I whacked the wires and he said the lights came back on and the meter went to 120v (or something close to that). I knew that the problem was the connections where the cable from the power pole connects to the top of the meter stack. Of course I dont mess with those wires because there is no way to disconnect them. He called the power company and they found a badly corroded connection up there. They told him that normally he was supposed to get an electrician for anything past the power pole, but they put on some new connectors anyhow. My sister gave them some goodies to eat for their help and everyone was happy.
If you do whack the wires, BE SURE to use wood, not a metal pipe or anything conductive.
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Somehow, this idead doesn't much appeal to me.
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On Wed, 07 Dec 2005 05:08:50 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.com wrote:

And then run like hell.
Like you were hitting a bee-hive with bionic bees.
I might do this, but I would at the same time consider the possibility that a corroded connection might give way entirely.
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This could be an electric company problem. Might want to check with neighbors who get their electric from the same electric pole or who are nearby if they are also having problems.

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