While I was at work today I had a power outage in one of my rooms. I know because I had multiple computers in there that were off for several minutes(fully booted back up in 14 minutes), but the computer in my bedroom did not shut off.

I would like to find out why this happened. Is it possible that a fuse is going bad, but has not completely blown? The fuse is warm to the touch from all the power I'm drawing in that room.

I also tried gently flicking the fuse with my finger(in case the metal strip inside was starting to come off) but the power remained running.

  • What country are you in? If it's a 120V country, you could have lost a phase. – user3757614 Jul 18 at 23:09
  • @user3757614 Canada, so 120V. Interesting. I know I have 2 phases but I didn't realize one could fail. If I contacted my power company, would they know if one had temporarily failed? – user104030 Jul 18 at 23:14
  • Maybe, maybe not. Depends where it failed. I'll add this as an answer to be official. – user3757614 Jul 18 at 23:16
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. I seriously doubt a fuse could be intermittent, especially if you'd connected any significant load; fuses are designed to melt, and an intermittent contact would just make even more melty heat. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Jul 19 at 0:19
  • I have come across fuses that are cracked and intermittant - they separate as they warm up and other odd behaviour. Sometimes only pulling on the fuse element is the only way to be sure. A bu**er to find... – Solar Mike Jul 19 at 1:18

You probably just lost one phase of power for a few minutes.

Since you're in a 120V country, the power that comes into your house has 2 120V cables, each running opposite to each other, in order to provide a 240V supply to anything that needs that much power. This means that it's possible to get 120V from either cable. Most houses split the circuits in order to balance the load.

This means while it's possible for a power outage to result in a loss of power across your house, it's also possible (although rare) for only one cable to go out. This will result in a loss of power to only the circuits using that cable. (Approximately half of them.)

Unless it re-occurs, or you notice other problems, it's not that big of a deal. (There's an outside chance that one leg of the circuit is still off, which can cause super-weird stuff to happen.) It's worth contacting your electrical provider, but they might just respond with a shrug.

  • Thank you! It never occurred to me that a phase could fail by itself. – user104030 Jul 19 at 0:24
  • 3
    The weird stuff happens if you use the neutral line. If you lose either half of the single phase connection, you lose ~half the circuits in the service. With no neuitral, the voltage on either half will be determined by what's in use on the other half. – Sherwood Botsford Jul 19 at 1:05

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