Once again I can't find my original post, so I will start a new one.
To refresh, a couple days before Christmas our lights flickered, then went off for a couple minutes, then completely. It seems like the things that are off are the same things that go off when a fuse blows, but it doesn't seem to be a fuse.
Thank you all for all your advice and information. This has proven to be just beyond me though, and although my husband has more electrical knowledge than I do, he is too ill to help much.
I have called 3 electricians to come over and give estimates, in the hopes that one of them would come up with something we might be able to afford. One took the time to check out the fuse box and says he feels the problem is not in the box. He also changed my husband's jumper-clipped fuse holder to a light socket with a fuse screwed in to it, which I am sure is much safer. The first two said that if they can't find and fix the problem easily, they would need to change the fuse box to a circuit breaker panel because though they could bypass the break there would be no room to put the new wire. What my husband wonders is why couldn't they put in the new wire where the old wire was, and are they just saying that as an excuse to put in a new box. Apparently to follow code, putting in a new box would entail moving the meter and a whole bunch of other expensive stuff.
The man yesterday said something about breaking apart the dryer fuse circuit (I hope you can understand what I mean because I didn't understand clearly what he was talking about) and putting a smaller box to the side of the main one. I don't know why he would do this, if he is also indicating that he would need more room, or just in case we needed room for something in the future. He said that way City Light couldn't make us move the meter. I wonder if you could tell me if this would be a viable alternative or even necessary. If it would, I guess I would somehow have to find out if it meets code, as I wouldn't want to throw money away on work that would need to be redone.
One electrician said that the first thing to do would be to check all the outlets. Another one said our knob and tube wiring doesn't work that way. The one who talked about breaking out the dryer fuse and putting a smaller box to the side wanted to troubleshoot and said that he was really good and that if he didn't find the trouble in two hours we should kick his butt out and whatnot, and I almost agreed but my husband mustered up all his strength to keep him from it. He was going to start by looking in all the outlets but my husband says he thinks that would have been a waste of time, that the break has to be closer to the fuse box because of all the things that aren't working or something.
Meanwhile my husband's friend rewired his own house 30 years ago and he keeps trying to get me to read a book and rewire ours myself. Ha!
Anyway, it's been almost a month since we lost partial power and I'm really wearing down here and at a loss.
If any of you can help me with my many questions, it would be much appreciated.
Thank you so much!