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:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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|Electrical Question about Single Pole Switch Wiring||Why Does my Circuit Breaker Trip when I use the Microwave Oven?|
Hi, My breaker fuse blew, replaced it but still no power on one side of the house, is there something I am missing or something wrong with the breaker?.
Typically when a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows this indicates that either the circuit has exceeded the circuit capacity, or that the circuit has encountered a problem within the circuit wiring or components. Rarely does a fuse or circuit breaker go bad or become faulty. However if one does it should always be replaced with the correct size according to the circuit wire size and insulation type. The function of a circuit breaker or fuse is to protect the circuit wiring and components. If the problem persists then a qualified electrician can perform the necessary tests in order to identify the problem and then make the necessary repairs as needed.
Our power went out in our master bedroom, and then the main breaker tripped off. I tried resetting the breaker, but it returns immediately to center tripped position. What could be causing the main breaker not to reset?
Typically when a main breaker trips off immediately and will not reset there may be a direct short somewhere in the main electrical system. However, the problem may be with one or more specific circuits of the home. In order to identify problem circuits the main breaker should be turned off, and then all of the individual circuit breakers should be turned off. Then try to reset the main breaker. If the main breaker trips off as before then there is a problem in the panel. If the main breaker stays on then begin turning on each of the other circuit breakers one at a time. Note any circuit breakers that trip off and leave them off. Continue this process to restore power to circuits that are not affected.
In a situation such as this there are several electrical components of the main panel or the affected circuits that need to be inspected, tested, and then repairs made as needed to correct the problem. Because of the dangers of working inside an electrical panel, and the complexity of the electrical components, this problem requires the assistance of a professional licensed or certified electrician who can examine the electrical system at your location, identify the cause, and make the corrections as needed.
I hope this helps,
Recently I noticed that my air conditioning unit has not been cooling the house properly. When I turn the AC unit off half of my house electrical goes out. I am at a loss here. Why would most off my house be controlled by the temperature or HVAC unit? Did the electrician that ran the wires to the HVAC do something horribly wrong? I would rather not have the air conditioner running just to power my house, especially when the AC unit is not working right.
Troubleshooting an Air Conditioner Problem
From what you have described the problem is most likely not with your AC unit, but with the electrical panel of you home. Typically when the operation of 220 volt equipment such as an AC unit, is affecting other circuits in the home this is an indication that an electrical connection at the main electric service panel has been lost. This is a serious condition that should be repaired by a qualified electrician as soon as possible. The electrician will need to make specific voltage tests and inspect the internal components and wire connections of the main electrical panel. Then repairs will be performed as needed essential to restoring the normal power to the home. Once this problem has been resolved the AC unit should return to normal operation for cooling your home.
Our house started acting electrically weird Friday. When a TV is turned on in a back bedroom the router in the living room loses power then if the back bedroom light comes on its dim and the microwave in the kitchen loses power. Our main breaker box is all holding the load expected. What can this be?
From what you have described there is a problem within the main power supply to your home, most likely at the main electrical panel. The conditions you have mentioned occur when there is a loose or faulty connection of one of the main power conductors for the home. This electrical problem should be examined and repaired by a local electrical contractor or certified electrician as soon as possible to prevent the condition from causing further damage to the electrical system. Because the voltage is not normal with a condition such as this, it would be wise to unplug any electronic components and voltage sensitive equipment to prevent damage.
Be Safe, and please have this electrical problem repaired soon by a professional electrician in your area.