For the last few days whenever I have more than one or three lights on they go out(includes the furnace) and the only thing that turns them back on is my stove. What is this?!?!

  • 2
    Call your power company now. Use the emergency line. Report partial light out. This situation can be dangerous.
    – Tyson
    Dec 15, 2017 at 3:17
  • Okay thanks I've called them. Would this have something to do with not enough electricity coming into the house and power back feeding back in through my stove?
    – Marilyn
    Dec 15, 2017 at 3:36
  • 1
    That's exactly what happens. Your power is delivered as two 120v lines. A burnt connecter is causing the problem, and yes backfeeding from the stove causes an arc that temporarily "re-welds" the problem connector.
    – Tyson
    Dec 15, 2017 at 3:38
  • 1
    Thank you Tyson. They're coming to take a look tonight. I'll keep you posted of the outcome.
    – Marilyn
    Dec 15, 2017 at 3:42

1 Answer 1


You have a leg down in your utility service, so call your utility and get them to fix it

The standard North American residential utility service is a 240V split phase service with 2 "hot" legs at 120VAC and opposing in phase as well as a center "0" point i.e. the neutral. What happens if a leg has failed or is failing in the service is that all the things on that leg will stop working until you turn on a 240V appliance connected across the legs (such as your stove), which connects them to the working hot leg through the stove.

As you have already done, the correct move is to call your utility and tell them that you have a partial power outage, or if you feel technical, that you've lost a leg of your service. They'll come out and investigate, generally at no charge to you, as the problem's likely theirs to fix anyway, such as a burnt lug in the meter base or a problem up on the poles even.

  • 1
    Let's just say this is urgent. Don't delay. And unplug ALL your electronics until this is fixed. Do NOT read another stack exchange post, unless it's from your battery powered phone.
    – Bryce
    Dec 15, 2017 at 5:25
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    What's interesting is after I explained what was going on they seemed surprised. Then checked and said nothing was wrong but would replace everything for good measure and hallelujah it's been a whole 30 mins with every single light on along with the furnace running and not even a flicker! Thank you for the shared knowledge and an explanation that makes perfect sense! You have saved us from a fair amount of stress and nights of sitting around in the dark trying not to use too much electricity. xo
    – Marilyn
    Dec 15, 2017 at 5:47
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    @Bryce if he lost a hot leg, it's less likely to wreck things, just won't work. Losing neutral, that's the "unplug everything now" scenario. Dec 15, 2017 at 7:16

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