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Partial loss of electricity in my home

ddhiggins

New Member
I turned on my kitchen lights,they flickered,buzzed,and went out,along with most of my house.....The three (40 amp) air conditioners are still running,and one wall socket works,and two ceiling lights....everything else is dead,and there are no flipped breakers....any ideas as to what caused this?
 

nsaspook

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Aliens? Recheck the main utility line breaker(s). I've seen cases where one side of the NA split-phase trips when the other side remains closed.
 

Grossel

Well-Known Member
Do you live a place where you have a neutral wire from the local power company?
 

ddhiggins

New Member
C479C949-A148-4060-9386-2B8CC3C8E50B.jpegGrossel-I see three wires coming in from the pole,so I interpret that as 2 hots and 1 ground....but,I am no electrician!
C479C949-A148-4060-9386-2B8CC3C8E50B.jpeg
 

Reloadron

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Grossel-I see three wires coming in from the pole,so I interpret that as 2 hots and 1 ground....but,I am no electrician!
In the US and Canada and I believe North America in general that would be correct. Here in the US residential power is split phase 240 VAC with each hot to neutral being 120 VAC.

Before I married my wife she called me on night with a similar problem. Some of the residence worked and some did not. No breakers were tripped. I found one line from the power company, a hot, had rubbed enough on a pine tree it became weak and frayed till it burned in half. This caused the residence to lose 1/2 of its split phase 240 VAC. I have no idea how your power is distributed once it leaves the pole and enters the residence.
The three (40 amp) air conditioners are still running
If the air conditioners are 240 VAC then we can assume 240 VAC is getting to the residence. If each is 40 Amps that is a hefty load for residential.

Ron
 

ddhiggins

New Member
Yeah,the fact that the three air conditioners are still running is very confounding......it seems to lay to rest the possibility that one of the legs has a faulty connection.......
 

ddhiggins

New Member
Another confounding thing is that the 2 ceiling lights and the 1 wall socket that are still hot do not; to me; sound like a complete circuit.....I would think that there would be more lights and sockets....
 

JonSea

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
You may have an open neutral connection. This is a dangerous condition where instead of lights and other 120 volt loads being connected between 120 volts and common, they are connected in series with the loads on the other phase to the other 120 volt line.

If the loads are somewhat balanced, each side could see about 120 volts across it but if the loads aren't well balanced or something turns on like the refrigerator, the voltage on one side can drop and the voltage on the other can climb to nearly 240 volts, destroying many of the loads in the process. This would explain why the air conditioners are running normally but other stuff isn't.

I suggest you call your utility or an electrician. Today.
 

MaxHeadRoom78

Well-Known Member
How large is your house? Three 40a A/C's!
N.A. is usually 2 live and a Neutral, not Ground, the neutral is re-referenced to earth ground at the service panel.
How large is your service, normal NA residential is 200a maximum.
Max.
 

ddhiggins

New Member
MaxHeadRoom78- The two 40 amp breakers control the air conditioners....there are two on one breaker,and one on the other
 

ddhiggins

New Member
JonSea-thank you for your input.......I absolutely could not understand how these air conditioners were still working........yeah,I will have to find an electrician.......I just thought I should get some kind of understanding of all this first.......it helps me.
 

ddhiggins

New Member
MaxHeadRoom78-I understand what you said about the neutral......I confused it with a ground wire........thank you for your input!
 

ChrisP58

Well-Known Member
MaxHeadRoom78 -the house is app.1,200 sq ft....8 ft ceilings....
Those two 40 Amp breakers appear to be single pole, instead of 2-pole breakers (the handles are not connected.) That implies that the AC units are 120VAC units instead of 240VAC units that has been assumed. That said, it's unlikely that two adjacent positions in the breaker panel would be on the same leg. But not impossible.

So the possibility of an open leg from the utility may be back on the table.

Better to call your electrical utility.
 
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ddhiggins

New Member
sagor1-very good point!....I flip it on and off,but it never gets all the way back up......incredibly,this is the breaker that controls my last remaining 2 ceiling lights....they come on and off as I flip the breaker on and off......as I have said,it is hard for me to believe that this circuit only has 2 ceiling lights......my last remaining socket is on another breaker......hard to believe that this,too,is a complete circuit.
 

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