Electrical Wiring in the Home/Loss power

Advertisement


Question
"I have and 30 year old property. They are 3 different breakers and 3 different circuits. The kitchen, bedroom and living room lose power but not trip a breaker. The power will go out for hours but not trip a breaker. The Power light company has been doing a electrical work in the area lately. The circuits arc from time to time as well. If the powers goes out you can restore power to the rooms out by turning off then on the main breaker. Can help me pin this down. They are Zinsco breakers.

Answer
Robert Wilber
Licensed Philadelphia Electrician
Philadelphia License # 3516 - 16765
*
LIFE SAFETY WARNING! [disclaimer]
Electricity is dangerous!
You can be injured or killed!
Improper installations can cause fire, injury and death!
Are you qualified to do this work?
*
National Electrical Code definition, NFPA 70 2008 Article 100: Qualified Person. "One who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved."
*
Electricity is fire in a box! Death on a leash!
*
Always check with the local “Authority Having Jurisdiction” for an official interpretation before making installation decisions.
*
In Philadelphia, it is unlawful for anyone except an individual licensed by the City of Philadelphia to install electrical equipment and wiring.
Homeowners are not allowed to install wiring.
The owner of any property wherein any such installation is discovered shall be issued a violation by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
The limited exceptions include replacing devices and fixtures at existing outlets.
Contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections for more information.
*
You are more likely to be killed by 120 volts than any other voltage [120 volts creates the PERFECT fatal current through the human body's electrical resistance!]
TURN THE POWER OFF WHEN WORKING!
*
LIFE SAFETY WARNING! [disclaimer]
This information is provided for the use of parties as they see fit!
I am not responsible for the application of this information by any party, including those lacking sufficient skill or knowledge to perform these steps safely and any hazard created is the SOLE responsibility of the user.
*
Your complaint is that there are 3 different breakers and 3 different circuits that fail chronically. You lose power for extended periods but do not trip a breaker. Circuit issues are unlikely. Look to a common point.

Can you explain what you mean by "The circuits arc from time to time as well."
Arc how? Where?

You observed that the Power and Light company has been doing electrical work in the area. You have said that if the power goes out you can restore power to the rooms by turning the main breaker off and then back on. This suggests it has nothing to do with the power company since you can influence the problem directly at your own panel. Without seeing this installation, my first guesses, in order, would be a bad main, failing bus connection or bad lug termination at the panel.

An electrical service has a practical life of thirty-five years or so. Zinsco breakers mean your old service was landfill 20 years ago. I doubt you will find a replacement main breaker, even if that would resolve the matter and the panel is undamaged.  The cables must be shot by now, as well. Sight unseen, the likely solution would be to replace the service.

Contact a reputable professional electrician. Your township, city or "local authority having jurisdiction" may possibly serve as a referral source for insured professionals licensed to provide these services in your area. A service replacement will probably require a permit.

You may be shocked at the cost, but it will cost no less and be much more distressing if you delay until total disastrous failure leaves you no choice.

I recently served a client whose panel interior burned up due to a failed breaker. The problem occurred at 9:00 pm on a Saturday and they were without power until Sunday night. The repair cost extra because the job was performed on Sunday.

Best wishes anad good luck
About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Robert Wilber

Expertise

Licensed Philadelphia electrician serving Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania. I install and repair residential, commercial and industrial wiring and lighting. Troubleshooting and repair of problems that stump other people is my favorite. I am willing to help people figure out why things don`t work. I understand motor controls, transformers and machine wiring. I do not teach basics to novices or do free design work.

Experience

Experience in the area I have 44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair, 480 volts and below. This is not to be confused with one week repeated two thousand times.

Education/Credentials
44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.