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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.

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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:

Mike in New Jersey asks:

Dave’s Reply:
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

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Reset Electrical Power to the Home

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

8 Responses to “Could there be a Problem with our Main Circuit Breaker?”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Tyler,
    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.

  2. Tyler says:

    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?

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Bo,
    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.
    Be Safe,

  4. Bo says:

    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.

  5. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jon,
    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,

  6. Jon collins says:

    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?

  7. Dave Rongey says:

    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.

  8. Pat says:

    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?.