Renovating a house. Hired electrician to replace the panel, all wiring and the service line coming from the meter. Went out to test it yesterday and when I turned on the microwave power to the entire house went out, except for a few flickering lights.

Outside I can hear a crackling sound where the line enters the house. After about 10 minutes, the power restored. I've described this to the electrician who is scheduled to come back out, but can someone please explain what is going on here?

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3

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    The places you are photographing appear to be on the power company's side of the line. The guy is probably going to do the go-back for free, but the answer may well be "call the power company and report an outage". In particular be wary of lost neutral type outages. In that case, the hot wires continue to have 240V between them, so the 120V legs still add up to 240V, but they are no longer 120/120 - they are 140/100, 80/160, 190/50, varying based on what is turned on at the time. This can fry everything in the house. Jan 24, 2018 at 17:20
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    Pictures are hard to see but shows only wire entrance into the house (through the soffits - might want to check for chafing and arcing at this area with those aluminum soffits - LET THE ELECTRICIAN OR POWER COMPANY DO THIS - it can be very hazardous..
    – Ken
    Jan 24, 2018 at 17:23
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    It sounds like an open neutral since everything went out or flickered , this is bad news it may have smoked your microwave and possibly other electronics that we we connected. Keep power off until the electrician can verify the connections from the meter to the panel, if everything is good there call the power company , the crackling is arcing not good and down right dangerous.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 24, 2018 at 17:39
  • Thanks guys, so we had the power company come out. They replaced the connections at the house. We tested everything yesterday (running the microwave, saws, etc at once) and there was no flickering. Hopefully we're good. Jan 26, 2018 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


If you're hearing crackling at the service entry, there may be some arcing there and/or in your service panel. This is showing as flickering (interruption to your whole house power supply) and either breaker shutoff or disconnection within your supply wiring or service panel.

These are all potentially major issues in the electrical supply to your house or the wiring within it. It needs to be investigated thoroughly on-site and you should make sure to personally inspect the panel as significant arcing could destroy your breakers, bus bars, etc.

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    Not too mention that arcing leads to Fires. A microwave easily consumes anywhere from 700 to 1600 Watts of power. I suspect the wiring for the outlets (microwave).. back to the service panel is faulty. I would plug the microwave into a bedroom outlet or living room outlet and see if the same effect happens ..
    – Ken
    Jan 24, 2018 at 17:21

Stop! Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Immediately have a new mast, weather head, and meter base package installed. Include all new service conductors. Include new service conductors and raceway between the meter base and the new house panel. Penetrate roof with new service mast. Ensure that you get new and proper splices to the utility drop. Your existing situation is a hazard.
I am surprised and dismayed that your electrician did not require this when installing new panel.

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