electricity problem

Page 1 of 2  

Last night our power upstairs started blinking, then went off for a few seconds, then went off entirely. My husband has done what he can in the fuse box but says it doesn't appear to be a fuse. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas of what might be wrong?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You need to determine how many lights and outlets are out, and in what rooms. The purpose is to figure if this is an open to part of a circuit or is it a partial power failure coming into the building. If it only involves a few lights and outlets, yet all the circuit breakers are on and functioning,(needs to be determined by opening the panel and checking each breaker with a tester) It is probably a loose connection in an outlet, or at a junction box. Sometimes you can find the location of this type of loose connection by banging on each dead outlet, and each live outlet in the vicinity of the dead outlets. When you bang on an outlet, if the lights flicker, it may be the location of the loose connection

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
One thing I think is a good idea is to make a list of every outlet and every light in your house and what breaker they're on. After 25 years of owning the house I'm in, I just barely got around to doing that a few months ago (when I bought a generator). Now if I ever have those kind of problems, it will be easier to track down.
RBM (remove this) wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We don't have a list, but I think these are basically the same things that go out when one particular fuse blows, but the fuse isn't blown. But I'm not positive, I'd have to ask my husband, who is sleeping right now.
Thank you!
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 23 Dec 2006 19:27:42 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Hear, hear!
It took me nearly that long ownership to label every breaker in the f box, but now it's a lot easier to figure out what blew. Also to warn visitors not to plug a space heater, hair dryer, etc. into the same circuit as computer and room lights.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RBM,
My husband says he doesn't think we have a partial power failure coming into the house because our hot water heater is working well.
We don't have circuit breakers, but fuses. It seems they are all working....and we don't seem to have any junction boxes.
Thank you for suggesting banging on the outlets. We tried it but couldn't get any flickering.
My husband says he thinks the problem is in the fuse box, which for some reason is on our back porch, but he can't figure out what is wrong or what is what.
The fuse box is a mess. If getting this fixed costs a lot of money, we can't do it, and I hate having these extension cords run up the stairway. This is miserable, thinking of having to live like this for an extended period of time!
Thank you for your suggestions!
Loretta
RBM (remove this) wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
There are two types of plug fuses used in houses, one has a metal screw on it just like a light bulb, the other type, which is called fusestat or "S" type fuse, has a ceramic screw and is thinner than the other type. This type of fuse screws into an adapter, which in turn screws into the fuse socket on the panel. These fuses need to be very tight in order to make contact, so if this is what you have, have bubblegumdad try a little more elbow grease

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

...and a NEW fuse, regardless of the APPEARANCE of the old one.
--
:)
JR

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Excellent point. Unless your are testing the "load" terminal off of the fuse with an electrical tester, don't trust a visual inspection to determine if a fuse is good
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 24 Dec 2006 07:36:00 -0500, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

I know someone with a fuse box. It has 3 30A fuses with Edison base (like a light bulb) and 3 20A fuses of the other kind (I think they're called 'restriction base'). The 20A fuses use that kind of base to keep you from screwing the wrong kind in.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yep, that's a fusestat, you screw a fusestat base into the socket, 15 or 20 amp, then only that size fuse will fit. The base is permanent, although there is a too to remove them. Problem with fusestats is they have to be tightened beyond what you would normally expect, or they don't make contact

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In two posts you've mentioned the fuse box is a "mess". What exactly do you mean (rusty, falling apart, front panel removed and wires sticking out, etc)?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Flickering lights can be caused by a loose wire. If you had a loose wire in the fuse (breaker?) panel or a junction box, it may have finally have worked itself completely open.
(I'll use "fuse" because you did - simply exchange it for breaker if that's what you really have)
You said your husband "has done what he can" in the fuse box. If checking the fuses is all he is confident in doing, then it might be time to call an electrician or a knowledgeable friend.
On the other hand, if he wants to keep looking, he could trying removing the main fuse (or shutting off the main breaker) and removing the front panel. If he can find the wires that go to the 2nd floor, he should start at the panel and check for any loose wires - both hot and neutral.
If all seems well in the panel, he could start tracing the wires and checking the connections in any junction boxes along the run. Keep in mind that any of the outlet and/or switch boxes could be considered a "junction box" in this exercise.
Once again, if your husband is not confident in digging deeper, please err on the side of caution and call someone who is. Tell him to hang around, ask questions and use it as learning opportunity.
Good luck!
bubblegummom wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DerbyDad03,
My husband thinks it is something in the fuse box, but can't see what. I guess he doesn't know how to figure what goes where and has no schematic for the box. It is an old box and really a mess.
My husband does know quite a bit about electrical things, though not an expert, but he has been ill and can't handle things the way he used to.
We're afraid this is a huge expensive job, which we just can't have done.
I'll read him your e-mail again tomorrow and see if he feels he can do more, but these days everything just seems to be overwhelming to him.
Thank you so much for your suggestions!
Loretta
DerbyDad03 wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
bubblegummom wrote:

I check with your neighbors and see if they have any problems. It could be a problem with the power company.
How much of your home is without power? If a small part (5-20%) I would guess it is a loose connection somewhere. Finding it and fixing it is not impossible for the do it yourselfer, but I suspect from your question that it may be a little dangerous for you to try. You need to find (we can't help a lot here) where the problem is and then make sure the power is off (no always simple) and then fix it (not always safe.)
Good Luck
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joseph Meehan wrote:

If it's 50%, they could have lost a phase.
Red
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Red,
What does that mean, "lost a phase?"
Loretta
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
bubblegummom wrote:

When the power comes into your home, you get three wires plus a ground wire.
Those three are two hots and a neutral.
Half your 120V outlets are on one of the hots and the others are on the other. All the 240V devices work from both hots and do not need a neutral. (Some uses need both 120V and 240V so they get four wires (two hots a neutral and a ground). The two hots are call legs or phases.
That is why it is likely that if half your devices are out, that it would likely be one phase out. That could be in your home or a problem with the supply. If only a smaller percentage like 10-20% are out, then it is likely a problem with your homes wiring.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mr. Meehan,
The dining room and the upstairs is off. It looks like we are going to have to learn to live this way.
Thank you for your advice!
Loretta
Joseph Meehan wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Unfortunately upstairs is where we basically live.
bubblegummom wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.