I have no idea what is going on.

I live in a tri level home. I have a basement, a main level and an upstairs.

  • Sometime during the day while everyone is at work/school the power in the basement guest bedroom goes out. all 4 outlets and the light switch. and the utility closet light switch goes out but not the outlets. The utility closet is also in the basement.

  • the main floor, nothing goes out. everything works.

  • the upstairs has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. 1 bedroom goes out except for 1 outlet.

  • there are 4 outlets and a light switch. 3 go out and the switch goes out.

  • the other 2 bedrooms are fine.

  • also the hallway light is fine.

  • the bathroom has 2 lights with 2 light switches and 1 fan with a switch and 1 outlet. I lose power to 1 switch. everything else is ok.

  • then.....sometime in the middle of the night, I gain power to the upstairs only. the basement stays without power.

This happened a couple of weeks ago and I flipped the main breaker on and off and everything went back to normal.

for about a week, everything was fine. until about 3 days ago. for the last 3 days it's been the same everyday. lose power during the day and comes back (for upstairs only) during the middle of the night.

btw, no breakers are tripping and I have taken off every single cover to every single room that loses power and nothing is loose or anything.

Any help would be appreciated.

I will call power company in the morning.

  • 1
    Any effect on 240V loads? Electric oven, water heater, clothes dryer, air conditioner etc.? Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 22:29
  • Sounds like a wire that is broken inside of insulation or a loose connection. If it moves it can make or break the connection. Having the power company come out and check is a good first step. Map the breakers where the power is out. If every second breaker on one side matches to power out circuits it might be a hot side that is acting up.
    – crip659
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 22:41
  • I am in indiana.
    – Ryan
    Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 23:01
  • 1
    This appears to be a phase failure. Do you have an electric water heater or other 220V device on some type of energy saving plan? If so cycle it on and off and see if it affects the lights etc.
    – Gil
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 18:31
  • 3
    Yeah, when multiple circuits are effected, looking at individual circuits isn't productive. Does the dryer get HOT? Does the oven/range WORK? (A lot of people don't use them much, what with microwaves). Does turning the stove on make the broken rooms start working again? If yes, it's a lost phase from the supply. It's intermittent because of your water heater auto-cycling on and off. Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


This sounds like a bad wire either outside (utility company issue) or possibly in your main panel. But it could also be a couple of flaky circuits. A couple of key diagnostics:

  • While the problem is happening, check voltage on the "dead" receptacles and some functioning receptacles. The functioning receptacles should be ~ 120V, though anything from 110V to 125V is generally considered OK. Also check a "240V" circuit (clothes dryer is the most common one for most people with an accessible receptacle). The 240V circuit should show almost exactly double the other (non-0V) circuits show, with the exception that in some cases it will 208V when the other circuits are 120V. The non-functioning receptacles should show 0V. If instead you get something like 140V and 80V then this is likely a lost neutral.
  • Turn off all 240V appliances at the breaker panel - hot water heater (if electric), HVAC, clothes dryer, oven, etc. Then check voltages again. Then turn on one 240V appliance (e.g., turn on breaker to oven and then set oven to "Bake") and see if voltages change at all.

If all of the above is normal (e.g., 240V, all functioning 120V circuits between 119V and 121V, with no change when turning 240V loads on) then this is more likely an internal problem with a couple of circuits. But if there is any funny stuff (sudden voltage changes, etc.) then it is most likely a utility problem.


You are smart in calling the power company. There may be issues in the breaker box with circuits getting hot expanding and losing contact then cooling down and coming back in use. You didn't say where on earth you are, but if the outside temps are very hot or cold this can exacerbate a problem. Certainly a Pro should be looking into this.

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