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JamesB2136 04-11-2011 02:40 AM

Please help, have no clue what's going on.
Having an issue in my house, started about two months ago. The lights in EVERYROOM flicker from time to time, seemingly random. Once in awhile it doesn't seem to stop, sometimes it doesn't do it for hours. I mean, every light. Part of the house, and plugged in ones. The microwave does it, seems to run fine, power down a little, pick it back up. Anytime the fridge cycles, it seems to have an issue than runs fine ... it happens with everything, everywhere in the house.

Recently, the power's been going out. Like, everything in the house goes dead. No power to anything, but after about 1-3 seconds, everything is back to normal. This happens randomly and at random times also. Took a look at the breaker box, they never get tripped. My surge protectors aren't getting tripped. It's really annoying and confusing. I can't find anything anywhere with a problem like mine =( please help

kbsparky 04-11-2011 05:27 AM

Call the power company, and have them ensure all their connections are tight. IF the problem persists, you will have to check your mains connections in your service panel(s).

Thurman 04-11-2011 10:15 AM

Sounds as if a "step-down" transformer may be feeding your home from the power company (PC). At times these will need a "tap adjustment" which must be done by the PC. Call your power provider, explain the problem, they do want to know. They will determine if they need to come out and test any of their equipment before it goes out and costs them more monies.

JamesB2136 04-15-2011 03:08 PM

Hey, hopefully someone reads this. Had to work 3 days straight never had power company come out yet. However, I noticed something reecntly. When the power goes out, sadly NOT the entire house, just most of it. I tried to trace which breakers the outlets were on that would lose power. The problem is, it's about 5 different breakers, blowing my theory of it being a bad breaker needing to be replaced...still none of them actually "blow" and turn off. We just lose power throughout most of the house ... Does this possibly change what the problem could be? I'm really tight on money and can't afford to call an electrcian yet =(

mpoulton 04-15-2011 03:20 PM

You need to call the power company and have them check it out first. If they verify that everything is OK on their end, then we'll start troubleshooting. It sounds like you are intermittently losing one hot leg.

AllanJ 04-15-2011 03:21 PM

Unplug all electronics (including microwave ovens and washing machines with digital controls) from affected circuits.

Open up the breaker panel and make sure all the screws and set screws that hold wires in place are tight. Turn off each breaker before touching the screw on it. Unscrew each screw a quarter turn and then retighten. Do not use tremendous force.

Now, do any circuits work normally? Make a list of the breakers they use.

Try out some incandescent lights in different outlets all about the house while you turn on a hair dryer plugged into another outlet.. See if any lights come on unusually bright on any circuits. Make a note of that.

It's up to you whether you call your own electrician first or call the power company first, but you should do various tests to try to prove where the problem is before calling the power company.

JamesB2136 04-15-2011 03:30 PM

Yah, that was the plan ... to figure out where the problem is before I make a call. I did unplug everything except a couple lamps and started playing with the them trying to sort out the breakers. At first I thought it was the entire one half of the box, so I could blame the main. Turns out 2 brakes (top and third down) on the left and 3 breakers on the right (both 3) so it's more randomly spread out that it's confusing...When I have nothing but a lamp plugged in, it's still doing the original flicker though =(

Saturday Cowboy 04-15-2011 05:35 PM

when we say one half or one leg out, we mean well the breakers are connected in funny ways, The first row is one one leg, the next row is no the other, etc.

Have you tightened all connections, be mindful that even with the main off there is still power in the box.

JamesB2136 04-15-2011 06:01 PM

Honestly, I do think it's a Leg issue. I checked all the screws, did the half turn loosen, and retighten on them all. Got a call into the power company, i'm starting to believe it's more with them than inside...but i have no clue. If they say everything's okay that's when I'm going to look for some in-depth tutorial to finding the problem ... atleast I'm narrowing it down :D

bob22 04-15-2011 06:02 PM

If both legs of the box, likely a loose neutral at the box or from there to the pole, wouldn't it?

AllanJ 04-15-2011 06:58 PM

Do the lights on different circuits (different breakers) flicker the same way together (aka in unison)?

While someone up in the house turns on a hair dryer or electric heater or (electric) stove burner, can you hear crackling or hissing or raspy humming in the breaker box?

J. V. 04-16-2011 12:17 PM

I would pull the main and leave it off until you find this issue. You are taking a chance at frying everything electronic in your house. Kill power to the house and go to a motel if you must.
The power company should have been called long ago and is where you should start. TODAY!

4just1don 04-16-2011 12:55 PM

same issue here
half of house would loose power at times, blink, do weird things like light bulbs not lasting. Turned out to be the meter installer 'missed' one leg installing the meter LONG ago. laid against where it should so worked sometimes. when wind blew it blinked. that was the wire waving in the wind. Check and see if meter looks square and have them come out and check connections inside. Cost me a new meter box cause it finnally burnt off the leg it was resting on and NOT inside where its supposed to have been. Crap happens!!!!

JamesB2136 06-12-2011 11:08 PM

It's been awhile, but the problem had seemed to go away for awhile after I had left the main and all the breakers off for a few hours while I went to class. However, the problem is back (Half the power to the house seems to be out, alternating breakers) and I called the power company. They came out an ensured me that the taps are fine. IE: the problems on my end. I don't have the money, being a student, to call an electrician. Not unless I -really- have too. At this point, I'm only certain that half my house doesn't have power and the other half does. Instead of going out randomly for 10 seconds - 1 min, it's not out perminitly. My question to anyone who can help is, where do I begin my troubleshooting now. I have a multimeter so I can start checking voltages, I'm just not sure exactly which to check, or what readings i'm looking for. So far i'm still being told it could be a bad hot leg, could be a bad main breaker, a possible bad neutral (that doesn't make sense, I thought a bad neutral, like a car, would cause all power to go out), and I've also been told it could be the entire box/panel itself....

How can I start checking to eliminate problems and narrow it down? Thanks in advance.

WillK 06-12-2011 11:38 PM

Just asking, but as a student is this a house you own or some sort of rental? If rental, you should have the landlord deal involved with this.

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