I have the standard, split phase power to my house. (Two hots and a neutral). There's a meter box and breaker panel outside, which has the main service disconnect. There's an additional service disconnect which controls the sub panel in the house, at the top of the stairs. That sub panel has a service disconnect which controls the smaller sub panel at the bottom of the stairs.
Anyway, for about the last two weeks, I've noticed my lights will sometimes flicker, or the power will go out for part of the house. For example, the kitchen, hall lights, and family room lights stop working. But the clock on the stove still works, along with the lights and receptacles to most of the bedrooms. It's like I'm losing one leg of power. When it does this, sometimes the power is out for a quick second or two, then comes right back on. Other times it goes out and stays out for several minutes or longer.
I discovered a strange scenario last night when this happened; The power did it again. I went into the kitchen and turned on a burner on the stove, then immediately turned it off. This did the trick, and my power came back on and stayed on the rest of the night. (I might add, when the power came back on, my doorbell started ringing. There was nobody there.)
When the power went out again this afternoon, I tried that same trick; I turned the stove on for just a second, and then turned it back off. Again the power came back on.
So... what's going on here? There have been other posts where people have gotten their power to come back on by turning on the stove, but those posts don't say whether or not they're leaving the stove on, or that the power goes right back out as soon as they turn off the stove. In my case, I'm only turning on the stove for a second or two, then off, and the power to the house is restored, at least for a while. Can someone explain this?
As to the cause of the power interruptions, I've had the power company out twice. They told me the power from the pole to the meter is fine. They did put some kind of monitoring device on the meter, left it on there for a week, then retrieved it. They haven't contacted me yet with the results. Anyway, I'm thinking the problem has got to be with one of the legs. Maybe there's a loose connection at the main breaker, or one of the service disconnect breakers. What are your thoughts? I seriously doubt the problem would be at a junction box, or could it? I'm interested in what you all have to say or suggest on this one. Thanks!
UPDATE: I had a certified electrician come out to the house. He wasn't able to duplicate the problem while he was here, (Lights never flickered, power never went out) but he did find a couple of breakers with bad connections, which he tightened. He also installed a surge protector on the main panel. The power has not gone out since, however..... That evening when I turned on my hallway lights, they started flickering like crazy. I did some investigating and it appears there was a faulty 3-way switch which was causing that. I replaced it. Lights no longer flicker. Hopefully (knock on wood) the electrical problem has been fixed.
2ND UPDATE: Guess I spoke too soon. First, thanks to those who have responded. I appreciate your input. OK, so a couple days after the electrician had come to the house, the power went out AGAIN to half the house. (same half). The electrician had mentioned that if the power should go out again, I should check the status lights on the surge protector he had installed on the main breaker. He said both lights should be on. If only one is lit, I should call the power co. I checked and sure enough, only one light was on. Aha! I left everything as is and called the power company. This time they could clearly see I had lost a leg of power. Problem was on their side. They mentioned possibly re-stringing the overhead lines on the pole and possibly replacing the transformer. I don't know what they did, other than the problem has not returned since they were last out here. Hopefully it is really fixed now. Thanks everyone!