Sunday morning power issues

Not much sleep tonight :( I was up at 12am with power issues in the house. It is similar to some issues we had a year or so ago. 1/2 of the house loses power, while the other 1/2 is fine.

It’s my understanding that there are 2 110v lines coming into the house and one neutral. Appliances that need 220v get power from both lines. The regular circuit break box is feed from both lines as well. It splits to 110v lines up to different breakers. Our issue is one of the lines either from the main breaker box or from the transformer is down. So 220v appliances (AC, Water Heater, Range, Dryer) have power but will not work to full capacity. Circuits that are wired to the good 110v line will have power, circuits wired to the bad 110v line won’t. When this first happened, I was very confused about the issue. Now it sort of makes sense.

So anyway, We called AEP and I went around the house making sure everything was ok, no burning smells, fire, etc. Everything was fine, just 1/2 the house was off (and sometimes flickering). I cycled all the regular breakers several times, nothing. Then Laura and I went through the house with my handy map that shows what breakers control what in the house (this house is wired like a spaghetti bowl). And marked which ones were off and which were on. Then she reminds me there are “mains” outside. So we go out there and I cycled the main breakers and we get power back to the dead 1/2.

We call AEP back and cancel the service request, 10 minutes later (after making sure AC would run ok) we got back in bed, and I hear a big utility truck in the alley, go outside and it is AEP guy, I told him everything looked ok now and didn’t figure he needed to check anything. Then back to bed.

At 5:30am, sleeping (somewhat) soundly and the same 1/2 of the house goes out again. I jump up and put on some clothes and go directly out to the main breakers and reset them all, didn’t fix it. Same parts of the house didn’t have power, same as earlier. Cycle mains breaks and regular breakers again, same thing, no power to 1/2 the house.

I didn’t trust iphone alarm to wake me up, so I decided to go ahead and stay up. Had to move the coffee maker to another plug in the kitchen (yes our house has spaghetti wiring) to get some coffee. Around 6am while I am sitting here at the computer, power returns to the dead 1/2. ¬†While going to get another cup of coffee just now I notice it was back off again. Then while writing this I hear Laura’s phone make it’s “plugged in” sound, and power is back on again. Just for that 1/2 of the house. Other 1/2 has had power the whole time. So strange.

So, I have decided that the issue is either in the main breaker box outside or with AEP (power company). I am more inclined to think it is with AEP. The first time it came back on I had turned the main breaker to the house (less 220v appliances) Off/On and it all came back. But, the 2nd time it did not fix anything. And since I have been sitting here writing this blog, the power has been off and on a few times. This is telling me that issue is probably down the AEP lines and not with our breakers.

I need to then decide, do I call an electrician to check the house first or do I go ahead and call AEP again. AEP will charge $130 for the service check if the issue is inside the house and not their problem. If we call an electrician (on a Sunday) we will probably get charged about the same whether the issue is our problem or AEP’s problem. (That is what happened last time, we paid electrician to tell us one of AEP’s lines wase not working). And I am not sure if an electrician would charge extra to check it on a Sunday.

My initial thoughts right now are to call AEP again, but since the power comes on, goes off, what happens if the power is on while they are here? I figure if it was an issue with our main breaker box, it would not be fixing itself. But who knows, I am not an electrician.

So, I’ll be running on about 4 hours sleep today with no appliances (AC/Water Heater). Although I can probably get my shower in while there is still some hot water this morning. Laura hasn’t gotten much more sleep than me, but she is sleeping pretty soundly right now :>. Maybe we can get a bit of a nap today after church, if it is not too hot in the house. And with AEP’s fast response last night, if we do decide to call AEP initially, maybe they can get it fixed fairly quick.