Oh no half my house is without power what should I do? This article will help you identify and troubleshoot the problem to fix it quickly.
The reason half my house is without power is most likely a partial outage issue from the utility. We see this more often than any other issue causing the problem.
Top 5 Reasons Why Half My House Is Without Power
- Partial Power Outage From Utility
- One Of The Main Fuses Blown In Panel Box
- Faulty Main Breaker
- Faulty Main Disconnect Switch
- Lost Neutral Connection( Nightmare)
Partial Power Outage From Utility
A partial power outage from the utility is a common occurrence. For those of you that do not understand a partial power outage we need to educate you a bit first. Power on all homes is called single phase. However it is actually two legs of a phase or what we call split phase.
Without getting too technical the incoming power from the pole that connects to your home has 120 volt and 120 volt making 240 volt. The 240 volt runs you larger electrical appliances as the 120 volt x two runs the lights, plugs etc.
Sometimes you can have a loose connection on the service line coming into the hose at the point of attachment. You can also have an attachment point problem at the pole. You will notice this more when it is windy out.
The transformer itself could have issues. This usually results on a call to your power utility to come out and correct the problem. Check with your neighbors first to see if they are having the same issue.
One Of The Main Fuses Blown In Panel Box
The second issue causing the partial outage could be a blown main fuse. Some older homes built in the 1970s, were commonly built with a main fuse disconnect and a fuse panel off to the side. They also would have a combination fuse panel with the main fuses right inside the same enclosure.
The main fuse disconnect would have two main fuses. If one of these blows you will lose half you power. You may ask yourself why didn’t one of my smaller fuses pop instead of the big one?
Well the answer is fuses are funny sometimes. They can get moisture in them over time from being in a damp basement. They can also have corrosion on them. A lot of times it is just simply age. They get old and tired like the rest of us and pop easier than they should. Your can check this with a meter which I will explain at the end of this article.
Faulty Main Breaker
In newer electrical panels, they will have a main breaker at the top of the panel box. Sometimes this will come loose. This will cause arcing which causes heat and then the breaker to trip.
Unfortunately there is not much you can do for this yourself. You will need to call an electrician. The electrician will have to call the power utility for a temporary or emergency disconnect to make the repair.
They will change the breaker out in the main compartment for you. This repair will cost you between $400 and $600 dollars.
More on cost of fuse to breakers here.
Faulty Main Disconnect Switch
In this set up you will have a completely separate shut off from your main panel or fuse box. This will be a stand alone box connecting to the main fue box via a pipe.
The power comes from the utility through the meter into that main disconnect box. The disconnect box will have your main fuses in it. If you are handy and know what you are doing. then you can change the fuse yourself.
You will need to shut off the lever to open the main disconnect. Inside you will see two larger fuses. With a part of channel locks or your hand wearing a gloves you can pull on the fuse to remove it. The bottom part of the fuse should come out first.
Lost Neutral Connection
In a nutshell this is simply a nightmare if this happens..and it does. In your power feed coming into the house are technically three wire. Two of the wire are hot line to line 240 volt and the white one is the neutral conductor.
The neutral conductor give 120 volt between any one of the 240 volt lines. So from neutral to line on one side and neutral line on the other side. When the neutral line is lost or bad connection for any of the reasons in the above topics. It will cause an electrical disaster in your home.
Without that neutral all kinds of funny things happen. In short every 120 volt load making contact like lights, plugs including what ever is plugged into it, will get 240 volts.
Common ways to tell it that your stove, hot water etc will still work. All of your 120 volt stuff will blow up. The lights in your house will get very bright bright until they pop. Anything plugged in will pop, tv electronics etc.
Basically it’s like a horror movie. If this happens shut you main power off immediately then call your power utility then your electrician. Document everything that has happened.
If the utility determines that it has happened on the street side of their end then they will most likely cover the damage. If they determine that it was on your end but a faulty part then you will be calling your insurance company to replace everything burned out. Let hope this does not happen to you.
Other Underlying Causes Why Half My House Is Without Power
A lightning strike that was not obvious. Sometimes lightning can strike a distance away. This can effect the transformer on the pole affecting the power to your home. Lightning strikes can do mysterious things.
Salt air on the lines. For those of you that live next to the ocean the utility can have issues with salt air corroding the lines, This is a common occurrence.
Solution To The Issue
If you have anything more than a blown fuse you should contact your electrician or power company. If you are handy enough to check to see if you have a blown fuse than you can do it with a check multi meter form you local big box store.
Lowes muti meters here
Canadian Tire muti meters here
Home Depot muti meters here
More on what we recommend on sale here.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a meter to check the problem. Make sure the meter is set to volts and a minimum setting of 300 volt before you check. If you don’t you will most likely burn the meter out.
Take one of the leads of the meter and stick it on the bottom of the fuse. (The metal part) take the other lead of the meter and touch it to the metal casing of the fuse box or disconnect. Your should get 120 volt. If you don’t then you have a blown fuse