Why a House May Not Have Electrical Power
Troubleshooting Lost Power to a Home: Why a Home May Not Have Electrical Power, How to Reset a Main Electrical Circuit Breaker.© By: Dave Rongey
Home Lost Electrical Power
Electrical Problem: We went to the house we are buying to check the power but it was not on.
- We are buying a foreclosure and the home is vacant and has been for a while.
- The electric company has said the power is on, but, when we went to the house to check, it was not on.
- We flipped the breakers off and on and no lights came on.
- There are light bulbs in the light fixtures.
- What do you think could be the issue when the electric company insists it’s on on their end.
This electrical wiring question came from Tracy, in Concord, North Carolina.
Thanks for your electrical wiring problem Tracy.
Why a Home May Not Have Electrical Power
Application: Lost Power to a Home – Testing Home Electrical System and Circuit Wiring.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Amp Meter and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on age of the home, the condition of the electrical system and available access to electrical components.
Precaution: Electrical troubleshooting of this level is best performed by a licensed electrical contractor who will identify the problem and make the necessary repairs.
What to Check When a Home Has Lost Power
This is a great question and the answer may be one of a few possibilities described below.
Troubleshoot the Cause of Lost Power to a Home
- The Home Electrical Utility Service
- The electrical service has not been turned on or the electrical service has been turned off by the electrical service provider or electric utility company.
- When the electrical service has been turned off by the electrical utility company the meter may still be in place and everything may look normal however the service connection has been disabled internally and cannot be accessed by anyone but the electrical utility company or one of their representatives.
- Resetting a Main Electrical Circuit Breaker
- The main electrical circuit breaker may be tripped off. In some cases the main circuit breaker may trip off and still appear to be in the on position. If this is the case the the interrupted power may be restored by simply turning the main circuit breaker all the way off and then all the way back into the on position.
- If a circuit breaker has tripped off then while resetting the circuit breaker you may notice a click sound when the breaker handle is pushed all the way into the off position. This is the sound of the internal tripping linkage resetting itself so that the circuit will be ready to be turned back on.
- If the circuit breaker is a two pole type or take up two spaces then it is essential that both sections of the circuit breaker are reset so that both circuits of power may be restored.
- The Home Electrical Panel
- The home electrical service panel may have a faulty connection.
- Partial power or intermittent power may be an indication that an electrical connection in the electrical system is failing.
- The electrical service panel and associated components will need to be inspected by a qualified electrician to reveal the fault.
- IMPORTANT: Homeowners experiencing this condition should contact an electrical contractor for evaluation and repair.
- Contact Your Electrical Service Provider
- If you are unsure why all of your electrical power is not working then you should contact your electrical utility company or electricity service provider.
- Describe the problem and request that a service technician come out and test the electrical service for you.
More about Electrical Circuits
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.
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.
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