I woke up this morning and went downstairs to find that none of the lights would come on (lights were working fine upstairs). My first instinct was thinking that a breaker had tripped, so I went to the breaker box and checked everything. Nothing out of order. I started investigating a little bit more and discovered that the power was not actually out... just flickering. If I turned on lights, they would occasionally flick and try to come on and then go back out. The dishwasher kept clicking like a relay was opening and shutting continuously. I went downstairs to discover that the fan for the heat kept trying to spin up and then dying.
My second hypothesis was a simple loose wire at a switch or outlet... but that can't be the problem either. The problem is affecting about 50% of the circuits in the house, seemingly at random. Fridge works, range is out. Basement lights are fine, basement sockets are dead. Etc. A loose wire would only affect one circuit.
I killed power to everything but the fridge to prevent damage and went to work. I plan to take a look again when I get home. Any ideas what may be going on?
Things that might be related or might be a complete coincidence:
- We recently (work finished a week ago) had a deck put on. This required an electrician to move an indoor outlet, add an outdoor outlet and light, and install a switch for the outdoor light.
- It also just got cold enough for us to turn the heat on. Last night was the second night it was on this year. When I got up, it was 63 degrees in the house because the heat could not actually turn on.