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Last night, my neighborhood had a blackout, but for some reason, only half of the electrical circuits in my house went out. I was under the impression that there was only one main electrical feed going into a house. Can someone please explain how this works?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Check out this post: http://www.homekb.com/Uwe/Forum.aspx/repair/35373/Service-Entry-Cable-caused-partial-blackout-in-my-house

Your house is fed with two legs at 120 volts each. If you look inside your breaker box, you see three big wires coming in, red, black, white. The red and black are legs of 120V, the white is the neutral. Half your circuits are on one leg, half on the other. A 220V is on both. The power company lost one of the legs and so did you.

Looks like what happened to you.

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That's baaad. I lost the electronics in a clothes dryer and had a couple of surge protectors literally smoke when that happened to me. I recommend when that happens to shut off your breakers until it's corrected. –  Dennis Williamson Aug 6 '10 at 17:44
    
@Dennis : unfortunately when I had it happen last year it was 4 days, and we had already had 2 days of outages. So I ran the fridge, as I had power ... but you're right, anything 220V was down (stove, clothese dryer, etc) –  Joe Aug 2 '12 at 21:39
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