Power Keeps Going Out (Momentarily) in Half My House...???

Updated on September 04, 2012
L.L. asks from Austin, MN
12 answers

This has happened four times in the last 24 hours...once early early this morning, once while I was at church, once this afternoon, and again about 20 minutes ago.

The first time, yes, we had the AC running...but that was it. We were all in bed. (Well, fridge, ceiling fans, etc.)

The second time, NOTHING was running...we were at church. (Well, ONE ceiling fan in the whole house.)

The third time, the AC was on, and that was it.

The fourth time...just the TV.

The outlets that are going out are half the kitchen, one in the living room (but not the other), one in my bedroom (but not the other)...and I'm not sure about the other bedroom or bathroom because there isn't anything plugged into an outlet. I guess the lights in the kitchen went out this last time...the other times I don't know because they weren't on to begin with.

What in the world could be causing this? It is certainly nowhere near as hot as it was earlier this summer (thinking blackouts/brownouts) and I'm definitely not running more eletrical things than usual.

Do I need to worry my house is going to catch fire?

My neighbor IN MY DUPLEX did NOT lose her power, but a neighbor in a separate house did.

Sorry to ask so many questions, but I really know nothing of electricity.

What can I do next?

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answers from Washington DC on

definitely wonky. no clue as to whether or not it's actively dangerous, and really no one can be without taking a looksie.
call an electrician today.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Richmond on

If you rent, call your landlord, otherwise call an electrician. Sounds like bad wires coming from the main breaker box (they could be melted, an animal could have chewed them up, water could have leaked in)... it's usually highly indicative of a bigger problem, and you're better off safe than sorry (and replacing the entire breaker is expensive!) Also, call your electric company, they'll follow up on the electrician and inspect it, usually for no cost.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

shortly after we moved into our home, we lost power on 1/2 of our living room/dining room.

My husband checked the fuse box, checked the outlets....& then went up into the attic. Good thing he did! We had a loose connection in the attic, & it could have started a fire in the insulation. Turns out the previous owners did the remodel & did not use wire nuts, we live in a small town which did not have inspections at that time....& it was only by my DH running all of the lines that he found the issue. Thank goodness, he's fully trained in electricals!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

When in doubt, call the electrician - or the landlord. It will cost money for an electrician to check everything, but not nearly as much as a fire will.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I recently read about this problem on another board. Call your electric company to come out to check the connections into your home. The fact that its half of your house apparently is indicative of a loose connection.

Please let us know what happens.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Sounds like a fuse or a breaker needs to be replaced.

I have to disagree with the it isn't related to breakers. I know every wire in my house but only because I built it. Now my dads house, I think they got drunk and wired it. An example, his family room has four outlets and an overhead light, they run to three different breakers. The one breaker also controls half of one bedroom, the hall overhead light but no outlets and the outlet but not the light in the hall bathroom.

Get the idea, all willy nilly!

You may be getting power surges, since the homes around you are around the same age your neighbor may also have a fuse or breaker that is weak.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Have an electrician check it out - I WOULD worry about your house catching fire.
Have you every had mice or squirrels that might have chewed wires anywhere?
How old is your house/neighborhood?
A friend of mine was working on a house (he was flipping it and doing most of the work himself) had an electrician look over the wiring when he turned off the power at the circuit box but ONE socket still had power no matter what he did.
So the electrician follows the wire. which leaves the house (underground) and then crosses the yard and eventually leads to a neighbors house.
Turns out that years ago, a family owned both houses (parents and grown children) and they were sharing power, everyone forgot about it, and over the years the houses went on to other owners who never figured out what was going on.
They never had a clue.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

we had the exact same thing happen in our duplex. it would not affect all the outlets, even in the same room. seemed very random and not related to breakers. it happened about 3x this spring, and hasn't happened since. i did call the landlord who sent the maintenance guy out. (and first, over the phone, had me check the breakers - fine. had me do the little test thingy on the outlets - fine.) they never figured it out and it stopped. our incidents happened about a week apart. the power would be off for a couple hours or overnight, then be fine. my major appliances would be fine, but the outlets in the kitchen would not work, and the lights would not work. but in the bathroom, the outlet worked, but the lights didn't. it hasn't happened since. i still think it was a critter messing with the wiring...or the duplex is haunted. i prefer the critter...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

Have no idea why it would be a temporary shutoff, but your best starting place would be to go look at your circuit breaker box. Especially if you have another outage, try to get out there WHILE it's out and see if anything is in the "off" or midway (safety) position. That's the only thought I have. When I have outlets in specific rooms going out, it's ALWAYS the circuit breakers.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Mrs. La....it's important to understand basic home wiring so you know if you are over using an outlet.

Basic home wiring uses 15 amps, as opposed to 20 amps for larger appliances like the AC, Dryer, etc. And some people have 30 amps for RV or dryer.

The way I understand your electrical problem is that the appliances or lights go out, but then come back on on their own?

If that is so you probably need a surge protector on some of your outlets. But you also need to check the fuse box. If a fuse is blown, the circuit breaker will be tripped, meaning it was thrown to the left on it's own as a safety to measure to stop all electrical current going into a bad fuse.

If you find the box and open it you can visually tell right away if the black buttons are all lined up. If one is out of line it means it was thrown.

There is a cheap little tester you can purchase at any Home Depot where you can remove the fuse, insert the tester and it will tell you if the power supply is good. Likewise you can replace the bad fuse or old fuse. You would then take the old fuse back to Home Depot for a replacement. They are cheap.

Here is a link to basic home wiring:



1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

We had this same thing happen at our house a few months back. My husband is an electrical engineer, so thankfully, he knew exactly what was happening. One of the phase connections from the meter to the house was loose. You should call the electric company and your landlord to have them check this out. It is a simple fix, but it will require an electrician.



answers from Minneapolis on

It all really depends on how the service comes into your house. If there is only one service line then the problem is probably with your circuit box or wiring. If there is more than one service line coming in then one line might be having a problem outside your house.

For example, we are building a house. There are 2 lines coming up to our meter box outside the house. Each line feeds roughly half the circuits in the house. We had half the circuits stop working. Turns out it was a problem with one of the underground lines. Xcel came and hooked up a temporary feed for that half while they fixed the underground problem.

I recommend calling your electric company first to see if they are aware of any problems in your neighborhood. If not, then call an electrician to come check the circuits inside your house.

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