The cause ending up being the tape around the two 110v wires had broken and the two "terminals" (sorry don't know correct terminology) were making contact.

The recessed lighting in my kitchen occasionally flicker but today it was a bit more severe.

A few times the lights flickered but then I would lose power in both the living and dining room. But the power would always turn back on after a couple seconds.

I attempted to turn on the dryer and lost power for about a split second in both rooms but they only stayed off momentarily.

I don't think it's an issue of an overloaded circuit because the breaker didn't completely trip. Not sure if it's related but today was a bit rainy and windy.

Anyone know what I should do from here? I know nothing about electrical. Should I call the power company or an electrician? What should I ask them to look at?

1 Answer 1


Possible Lost Neutral

In the US, power comes in to most houses on 3 wires - two hots and neutral. The voltage is 240V between the hots (well, sometimes 208V) and 120V between each hot and neutral. If any of those wires is out then you have a power outage of some sort. If it only one of those wires that is out and not all of them, the results can be rather wacky. I suspect that is what you have going on, and it is very serious. The other possibility is that you have a seriously defective and/or miswired and/or failing breaker panel. But more likely, particularly, when you add in "rainy and windy" is a lost neutral.

CALL YOUR ELECTRIC UTILITY. TELL THEM YOU HAVE AN OUTAGE. If they ask for specifics or say "our meter shows you have power", tell them you think it is a LOST NEUTRAL and that all your electrical stuff is going crazy (which it IS).

If they have any idea what they are doing then they should send out a truck pretty quickly to fix it. This type of problem is usually outside - either where the wires attach to the pole at the street or at your house. If it is a utility problem then (a) they do NOT want you to try and fix it yourself (this is before your breaker panel so unsafe to do any work on the wires without proper safety equipment) and (b) they will fix it for free.

In the unlikely (but possible) situation that they come out and determine that the wires are good all the way to your meter then the problem is in your panel and you need to call an electrician. But call the utility first.

  • 3
    If some lights brighten when the dryer turns on, and others dim, it is certainly a bad neutral. If all lights dim, then more likely a bad connection on one of the two hot wires. In either event, as mentioned in the answer above, it is a potential fire hazard, can damage appliances, and should be fixed immediately. Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 4:11
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    Thank you both, I have called the electrical company and they will come out soon to take a look. I will update my original post with the resolution once I know more.
    – SBT23434
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 14:10
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    Thank you again, added the update above. Ended up being the two 110v wires became exposed and were making contact. Did not realize how serious it was!
    – SBT23434
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 15:24
  • To clarify: This was the 110V (probably 120V, but whatever) wires outside, right? Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 15:27
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact Yes the one's outside (120v correct) The two metal parts of the wires were actually making contact which was incredibly alarming.
    – SBT23434
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 17:24

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