Intermittent Electrical Problem

Am having an intermittent electrical problem on 2 circuits in my home.
One is a 20A interior circuit in a livingroom and batthroom. The other is a 15A outside circuit.
This is an older home I bought last Summer. The breaker box has a 200A breaker, in addition to the other breakers.
Over the past 2 weeks I was operating my UPS-protected computer off the livingroom circuit and I began to get a lot of electrical noise, which was recorded on my log.
During these short episodes of noise I also got a real staic-y buzzing noise coming from the breaker box.
While operating a small drill outside the power for both circuits would completely shut down, for about 10 minutes.
The circuit breakers did NOT trigger. I flipped them on/off a few times and it had no effect. The other circuits in the home were fine and had no interruption. Some of these are on the same side of the breaker box as the problem circuits.
The problem DOES seem to start-up when I am running MORE things on the circuits.
Neon nightlights in the circuits flicker when the clothes drier is running and the breaker box noise will occur whenever a load such as the washer starts up.
Last week, during a wet snowstorm, there was an "arcing" noise coming from the power pole and wired-in outside light.
I've tried to include as much info as I can recall.
Suggestions??
Arne
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arne97 wrote:

Some of them can be very helpful in tracking this sort of problem down (which may or may not be theirs) or even fixing it for you.
If not, then you can try to find a good electrician.
Jim
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I would check for loose connections in your circuit breaker panel. Also look for a bad circuit breaker or one that is not making good contact on the busbar. You might want to just go ahead and replace the circuit breakers for those two circuits. When you remove the circuit breakers take notice of any burn marks on the bus bar or on the contacts of the CB's.
This is usually a job for a professional.
It is possible that there is a problem outside of your house, in which case you should contact the power company. Tell them about the arcing at the power pole.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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Definately have an electrician at least look at it and give an estimate. Many charge $30 bucks or so for an estimate now-a-days but it sounds like you may have a serious problem. They will at least diagnose it and point you in the right direction. Nothing stopping you from completing the work yourself (well some cities actually prohibit any electrical or plumbing work by non licenced persons)
You should never hear arcing or buzzing coming from a breaker box. You probably have at least one and maybe more defective breakers. All sorts of scenarios where that can cause fire or electrocution. A loose connection would not buzz, it would just flicker the power on and off.
If you have arcing at the utility pole or all the way up to the house, it is the utilities responsibility to fix it but anything inside is yours

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Call your utility co , arching outside they will address immediatly, I had a similar problem it was their loose temporary connectors, they fixed it. The repairman will probably look at your panel also, free.
Inside you may be pulling near the limit with that circuit or have a bad breaker or loose wires, you say it starts with the washer on, you may just be overloading that breaker, test your load with an ampmeter and add up your circuit load to see how much you pull. Use a different circuit-outlet in the meantime to spread out your load.
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A humming noise from breakers is normal. A frying noise is an internal arc. To localize you could turn off breakers until it disappears or touch the end of a relatively small screwdriver against the face of each breaker and the end of the handle against your ear - easy to find noise. An arcing breaker should be replaced soon or sooner. The arcing may be to the bus conneciton - it will be pitted. If pitted that breaker position can't be reused.
An arcing noise may be normal from metal-halide/mercury/HPS fixtures AutoTracer wrote:

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Thanks for the good advice.
I had the power company look at the outside and they did not report any problems.
The noise seems to come from the MAIN breaker.
Having difficulty finding an electrician; they are quite busy. Since I cannot replace the main breaker myself, the electrican route seems the way to go.
" The arcing may be to the bus conneciton - it will be pitted. If pitted that breaker position can't be reused. "
I agree. That would mean the buss at the main was getting pitted.
Arne
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