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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2953
Experience:  30 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 6 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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The power goes out occasionally in one half of my house. If

Customer Question

Customer: The power goes out occasionally in one half of my house. If the furnace kicks on, the power comes back on. None of the breakers are thrown.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: The power goes out in the kitchen (except for the refrigerator) as well as the dining room, living room, and den. If I turn the heat up so the furnace kicks on, the power comes back on. We checked the breakers and none are thrown.
JA: OK got it. Last thing — JustAnswer charges a fee (generally around $18) to post your type of question to Electrical Experts (you only pay if satisfied). There are a couple customers ahead of you. Are you willing to wait a bit?
Customer: yes
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Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I live in a doublewide trailer, if that helps.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Do you have an AC voltmeter available to take some voltage measurements?

2) You mention that one half of the home looses power. Please confirm.........does the entire half loose power or only certain areas within the half that loose power?

3) Do any of the lights dim or flicker?

4) Do you have any 240 volt appliances such as a Central Air or electric dryer or electric hot water heater or electric range? If so, do any of these appliances loose power?

5) Is the furnace a 120 volt gas forced air type or an electric 240 volt type?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
1. I do not.
2. Everything but the refrigerator on the one half but the den is on the other side of the house and it loses power, too.
3. The lights do dim occasionally.
4. We have an electric dryer, electric hot water heater, and an electric range. Right now, we are also using our electric furnace.
5. It is the electric 240 volt type.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

OK, Thank you for the replies and confirmation.

1) One more question...........when you loose power, do all of the electric appliances such as the water heater, range and dryer loose power as well?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The range does. I do not know about the other two.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

OK, Thanks.

1) Based on my questions and your replies, I would be suspicious of a loose hot phase conductor either inside the exterior meter socket or at the lugs on the main breaker or possibly even a problem within the local electrical utility such as at their transformer or even at the utility service entrance conductors.

2) When lights dim, this typically suggests a loose neutral issue. However, since the furnace is 240 volts as well as the range being 240 volts, both of these appliances require the 2 hot phase conductors to operate correctly.

3) Perhaps, you can borrow a volt meter from a neighbor or a friend? If not, Home Depot or Lowe's both sell AC voltmeters for $25 or less. If the power is out long enough, like say a few minutes at a time, then the voltage can be measured and confirmed at the main electrical panel. This will indicate the problem.

4) If a loose connection at the main electrical panel, I recommend to contact the local electrical utility and have them dispatch a service tech to the home. Have them confirm there are no loose connections inside the exterior meter and have them confirm their proper voltage. Most utilities do not charge for this, but you may want to confirm. You don't want to open up the exterior meter as it is against the law with most utilities as they consider it as tampering as well as for safety reasons. The other option is to contact a local licensed electrician and have them confirm the voltages.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you very much!
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

No problem, glad to assist.

If you can obtain a meter, I am more than happy to walk you thru the voltage measurement process. It is actually very easy and only takes a few minutes. However, you must feel comfortable in working inside a live electrical panel. Not everybody feels comfortable in doing this:)

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
My husband said he would be okay with that. It would be impossible to get ahold of one tonight, however. It would have to be tomorrow morning.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

OK, very good. That is fine.

I will be logged on the web site all day tomorrow (Saturday). So just come back to this same question and I will be happy to walk him thru the process. The most time consuming part is unscrewing all of the screws on the main electrical panel and removing the door. Taking the voltage measurements will only take a minute or two.

In the meantime, have a good evening and we'll catch up with you sometime tomorrow.........Thanks...........Kevin:)

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you so much, sir. And have a good evening.
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

No problem. Take care for now:)

Shown in the link below is a good digital voltmeter sold at Home Depot for $18. Have him obtain a meter like this one or a similar model.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-Digital-Multimeter-MAS830B/202353293

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks.............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks..........Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks..........Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks..........Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks...............Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks.............Kevin:)