Some electrical outlets not working

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And you mean they used to heat and now don't? And they are both are electric appliances? The microwave is 110v so it does not count.
Typical houses are served from the outside by 2 hot wires and 1 neutral. 110v things like wall outlets and lighting are connected to one or the other of the hot wires and the neutral. Big appliances like electric dryers, electric hot water, use 220v and they get that by being hooked to both hots.
When one of the two hots from outside stops working then some of the 110v circuits like lighst and outlets stop working. Also all the 220v appliances stop working.
If your problems are gone now it may have been tha the power company was working on something in your area and now it's fixed. It also may be that you have a loose connection somewhere near the meter or fuse box where the two hots come in.
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Yes they used to work and now they don't. I hadn't checked the dryer or the HW heater until I read the post inquiring about that last night. Lights are also dimming periodically.
60 amp service was upgraded to 200 a few years ago with central A/C install. Electric company inspected yesterday and ruled out their equipment as the source of the problem. Said it is a "neutral" problem. So I stopped tapping outlets and changing fuses and called a contractor who will be here shortly to take a look.
Thanks for all the input.
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Problem solved.
Contractor's estimator checked everything, double-checked the fuses and discovered a main fuse that was bad. Replaced it and solved the problem.
My all to obvious error was not checking the main fuses. I just checked the round screw in fuses. Since moving in here, I've never touched or even thought of touching those red cylindrical fuses. Now those fuses aren't the only things that are red.
Anyway, the estimator said as some of you have that the fuse panel should be replaced with a breaker panel and is preparing an estimate for that job. Breakers are probably a better option for someone susceptible to failing to explore all options before raising the alarm anyway.
Thanks for all the input.
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Yes, the two main fuses suply your two hot legs. Losing one of those will cause loss of all the big appliances and part of the smaller circuits. Estimates for replacing a fuse box can go as high as $1000 so don't be shocked. There is nothing unsafe about fuses and now that you understand what happens when one o fthe mains goes you're really covered at this point.
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wrote:

The only thing missing is an old woman sittin' in the chair with a shotgun and a bloodhound at her side.
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On 11/19/2010 12:40 PM, Red Green wrote:

I heard banjo music when the page came up. 8-)
TDD
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But wait...The other thing missing is the gas engine powered Maytag washer that such an upscale mansion would have.
Joe
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On Fri, 19 Nov 2010 10:11:38 -0800, Smitty Two

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On Nov 19, 2:12pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

With the color of the shack, there were probably two hispanic extended families living there.
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Thanks for your closure to this, we all learned something.
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On Fri, 19 Nov 2010 09:42:25 -0800 (PST), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

the fuse was not blown due to a short or overload - the fuse just "failed"
Don't raise alarms where none are warranted. If the box and wiring are in reasonably good shape, and the load is not over about 80% (70% is better) no problem.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The lights may sometimes work because they are powered from the other leg through a 220V load like a water heater.
I would not bet that the fuse "just failed".
A loose connection near the fuse can generate heat to blow the fuse at lower than its rated current. With a loose connection you may see flickering lights.
--
bud--

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wrote:

automotive and "mains". And like incandescent (filament) lamps, I've seen them "mend" themselves temporarily - sometimes several times, before final total failure. An intermittent "failed" fuse can really be a bugger when troubleshooting an intermittent electrical problem.
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On Sat, 20 Nov 2010 08:50:26 -0800, Smitty Two

I beg to differ. The fuses can arc weld themselves back together and work for a while, then re-fracture. Depending on temperature changes etc, this MAY happen more than once, but even once is a rare occurrence. Rare, but it happens.
On most current automotive fuse boxes there are no "connections" behind the fusebox that would be influenced by removing the fuse. - and replacing the fuse invariably solves the problem - often for the remaining life of the vehicle.
Same thing happens in fused distribution panels - both with plug fuses (the round glass screw-in common fuse) and with cartridge fuses, on occaision. Bump the fuse, or have the temperature go up a few degrees, and the fuse makes contact again, allowing light loads to operate. Sometimes they will "weld" themselves and not cause a problem again for several days. Looking at the fuse there is no sign that there is anything wrong - but sometimes if you tap the fuse in the dark you will see a faint blue arc inside the fuse body, and a light connected to the circuit will either flicker off, or faintly flicker on..
In automotive systems., I have seen it much more often in the old tubular fuses than it the ATO type - but I've seen it with an ATO as well. Nothing like seeing the failure LED on an indicator type fuse flicker randomly in the fusebox when you are trying to trace down an intermittent electrical problem. Since most automotive fuses are NOT indicator fuses, the cause is not often as obvious as the intermittent radio problem on that car.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Maybe it happens in Canada. Very doubtful in the US.
Fuse elements on power systems burn a gap when they open. The fuse elements are almost always quite rigid and can't vibrate back together. I really don't think UL would like that behavior.
In many years in the industry I have not seen a fuse "just fail". Maybe you could buy bootleg fuses from the US.
--
bud--

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wrote:

Dang fuses were "made in USA" And they don't know if they are in Detroit or Windsor. The fuse may fracture when cooling off with no load - "the light worked last time I tried it" - no arcing, no melting, no sign of failure.

They burn a gap when they "blow" Rigidity of the fuse element causes fatigue from repeated cycling.- right at the soldered joint to the shell.
As far as the UL is concerned, they don't really care because it is NOT a safety issue. Can't cause a fire or any other damage

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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Maybe you are thinking of CSA.
You think UL has no concern about fuses opening in ways they are not designed to open? Arcing at an alleged fracture point? Protecting people with a connection that is intermittent?
I haven't seen it. I spent years doing residential, commercial, industrial service work.
--
bud--

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wrote:

They want them to open to clear a fault.

The arc is very tiny and totally enclosed - definitely not a safety issue

GENERALLY the connection fails totally open. If it is interupting a fault it fails totally open. Like anything man-made it CAN fail in unpredictable ways - but a fuse will ALWAYS blow to clear a short or heavy overload.

or branch circuit fuses - but I have had 2 plug fuses fail in my own house over the last 29 years that were NOT overloads or shorts.
Can't rmember for sure, but I think both were either Buss or Gould
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

UL also does not want fuses to fail in hazardous ways Arcing and intermittently being open are hazardous.

The size of the arc is determined by the current. Arcs can generate a lot of heat. And cause fires or deteriorate nearby connections.

So for power wiring we are only talking about plug fuses. Allegedly only 2 have failed.
--
bud--

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wrote:

OK Bozo - if there was any amount of current involved - read that as anything aproaching even a fraction of the current the fuse is rated for, it would NOT be intermittent - the fuse link would "fuse" - which means melt - and open completely from the heat of the arc.
And in a cartridge fuse,(mains) the arc extinguishing filler would look after it in short order. In automotive fuses it is MUCH more common because of the vibration issue. As a mechanic I found DOZENS of fuses that had simply fractured - and MANY of them were intermittent.
Absolutely no way it could escalate into a fire safety issue.
You are just being an ass - admit it.

I can remember my dad mentioning several situations when he was working as an electrician where the fuse had "failed" - not "blown" and the neon testers used widely in the day to check for power showed power - but a 15 watt bulb would not light. His recommendation was if you found one fuse failed in that way in a customer's panel, and all the fuses were the same brand - and looked to possibly have been installed at the same time, to replace them all. He figured a bad batch. I suspect it was temperature cycling/vibration or whatever, possibly combined with a bad batch
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