Could there be a Problem with our Main Circuit Breaker?
Why does our house have partial power, is there a problem with our panel? Electrical storms, or changing an outlet that shorts out and causes sparks can cause a number of problems with the home electrical system.
Electrical Problems Caused by Storms
Electrical Question: Why does our house have partial power, is there a problem with our electric panel or main breaker?
Mark in New Jersey asks:
- Our power has not been right after a recent storm, is there a problem with our panel? After a storm our lights go dim when appliances are used, and the main breaker switch has play in it, is there a problem with the main breaker?
- Recently after an electrical storm during which we lost power we have developed a problem of lights dimming when certain appliances are used.
- The AC, washer, gas dryer, and microwave ovens are all on different circuits.
- Could there be a problem with our main breaker?
Mike in New Jersey asks:
- I thought I had the correct breaker off. I remove an old outlet and the bare ground wire touched the hot screw on the outlet. There were lots of sparks.
- I now have partial power in my house. No breakers were tripped. I checked with a voltage meter, every other breaker works. All the breakers were shut off. I turned the main breaker outside by the meter off then on. I turned all breakers back on, still have the same problem.
Thanks for your electrical questions.
Application: House Electrical Power Problem.
Skill Level: Advanced. This electrical project is best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Positively Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring or changing out an outlet or light switch.
Notice: Repairing electrical wiring and electrical components should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
How a Storm Can Cause Dim Lights and Lost Power
Reset Electrical Power to the Home
- Weather related storms and especially electrical storms, or changing an outlet that shorts out and causes sparks can cause a number of problems with the home electrical system and components.
- The condition that you have described is usually an indication that you have lost power to part of your electrical service.
- Reset the Main Breaker
- If the power is not working normally inside the home after a storm then the overcurrent protection or the main circuit breaker may need to be reset.
- To reset the main circuit breaker switch it into the full OFF position, and then switch it back into the full ON position.
- If the electrical power is still not functioning normally then electrical inspections and tests should be performed by a licensed or certified electrician. I would have this checked as soon as possible.
More about Storm Power Problems
- Why Your Home Lost Power
How to Identify Lost Power
- Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.
- Electrical Circuit Breakers
Home Electrical Circuit Breakers
- A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.
- For Best Results Consult a Certified Electrician or a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Electrical Wiring Video #2
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Learn more with my Home Electrical Video Course:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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