My short name:Teza, we have had partial power outage in our house since months ago.

First we would hear a short chirp sound then we would see flickering of some light bulbs, then power would go out, no current in receptacle outlets and no lights in garage and front yard light and in the kitchen and some light bulbs in the living room would go out and refrigerator would stop working.

By making effort, it happened I found that after I hit turn/on touch wire of oven or cooktop then power would come back on.

This issue continued until I checked the kitchen GFCI it was not good I replaced it the issue remained I disconnected our old Fire Alarm System (installed on garage wall with its four blinking led indicators). Also I started to check loose socket bulbs and I disconnected some wirings of lighting to minimize areas of inspection, I also used multimeter to test circuitry voltages.

By all these test/checking and actions from days ago the problem of flickering lights was somehow lessened and chirping sound of alarm stopped. The frequency of this nuisance that was almost ten times during day and night became to two or three. My searching results are the culprit might be: 1. Short circuit 2. Circuit overload, 3. Ground fault.

My question is which one of these 3 areas could I refine my inspection. One area that I suspect is the transformer in the attic which would supply 12 volt power for Fire Alarm System, I think circuit a short has occurred inside it ( with mili Amp currents).

I should add here that in some occasions I had to go out to flip the circuit board kies to bring back the power. That unit as well as Electric Meter unit are old, and our property has been built around 30 years ago.

Could anybody advise and help me find the fault(s) by more pinpointing?

  • Home Repair exchange is more suitable, but are there any GFCI's installed in the breaker panel? Which breakers trip? or none? Sounds like you need an electrician. GFCI's can be too sensitive and create a nuisance trip with certain loads with line filters to ground for switching ACDC power supplies from imbalanced line/return currents. The GFCI's can also trip from high humidity in the bathroom or kitchen from leakage to earth ground around the socket. Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 8:05
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    I would suggest getting a qualified electrician to find out what is wrong. Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


Key question: Where are you (country/region)? If you are in the US/Canada or another area with 120V/240V power - i.e., "regular" receptacles & lighting are 120V but a few large appliances (cooktop, oven, dryer, etc.) are 240V then you may have a "lost leg". This is a very serious problem. The key reason I suspect this type of problem is:

after I hit turn/on touch wire of oven or cooktop then power would come back on.

That indicates a correlation between having 240V loads and other 120V circuits working. That can happen if you have a lost neutral or some other serious problem.

Call Your Electric Utility and tell them you have an Outage

The good news is that very often this is a Utility Company problem. Call them and tell them you have think you have an outage. Specifically a lost leg or lost neutral. They will (at least in the US) come out pretty quickly to check things out. Most of the time this will turn out to be a problem on the utility's side - e.g., wire from pole to meter - and they will fix it at no charge. If they determine it is not their problem then you will need to get a licensed electrician to check things out.

As a very basic test, you can use a multitester (voltmeter) to check the voltage. In a normal receptacle it will be ~ 120V. If it varies significantly (more than a few V) and especially if 1/2 the receptacles read very high and the other 1/2 read very low or if the voltage varies significantly when you turn on/off the oven, cooktop or other 240V loads then you almost certainly have a lost leg or neutral. The only question is whether it is the main panel (electrician) or outside (utility).

  • Thanks a lot Manessehkatz, we live in Houston Texas,weather temp is moderate(22C,cloudy wind 6ml,humidity 96%). About my suspicion for disconnecting a fire alarm system’s transformator it was no go.Now as you advised,I just called the Utility Co. after giving the said info,to their representative he told me an agent would be assigned to come (hopefully)to fix the problem around one hour later.Incidentally the outage has already occurred and it’s continuing I wanna show the issue to their agent.I’ll put you in the picture after this new development.Once thanks for the advise from your side and
    – Teza
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 15:19
  • Regarding the said issue and fault findings, the electrician came and checked the meter unit first he said one piece of it needed to be replaced,after I said “what about correlation between 240V loads and other 120V circuits
    – Teza
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 16:04

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