Power Out In Half The House, What Do I Do?

What Is The Problem With My Power In My Home?

As the electrical contractor, we received a work order to look at a house in Fort Collins with half the electrical power out. Do you think that this is just a simple problem? Where do you start? Do you open the panel and flip the breaker or what do I do?
Peterson Electric, LLC is going to give you some investigation tips.

What To Investigate For Electrical Power Out?

Here are some tips on what you can do as a customer before you call an electrician, especially, late at night at time and half rates.

  1. Determine if you have a gas/propane or electric dryer and range or cooktop. If it is gas, this will not work as well. If it is electric, turn on the range or cooktop coil burners or glass burners. Turn on all 4, if they get hot within 15 seconds to a point you can’t touch, you have solved half the diagnostic. If it doesn’t heat and it is just warm, then you must go to the second appliance
  2. Go to your an electric dryer.┬áIf it is the newer style front loaded dryer this will not possibly work. But if it is the older style where the door pops down, you can open that door on the dryer. Up towards the top of the rim on the frame of the dryer, there is a door switch. Push the door switch in, you will hear a click, then you can turn on the timer to heat. Make certain there is no clothes in dryer and hit the start button! The dryer’s drum will turn with the door down. You will need to bend down while keeping the dryer door switch engaged. You can see at the left top of the dryer some holes where the element should heat red orange through it. This usually takes up to 30 seconds or a minute. You will feel the heat radiate was well. If the element turns off, don’t be surprised, it is suppose to do that. Typically, the element cycles on and off. Be sure to turn the light off in the laundry room so you are able to see the element turn on in the dryer.

So, if you have a gas dryer or gas range, the following tips will help diagnose if there is 240 volts single phase in the home from other appliances.

  1. In your home, there is other appliance that require 240 volt as well. These following appliances can be hard to determine, if they are working properly; such as, AC window units that are 240 volt or whole house A.C. stand alone units outside. If the 240 volts is out in the home and you only have one leg, at 120 volts, at your panel, the AC will not turn on. It will make a weird buzzing sound, be sure not to do this more than once or you will fry your AC units! Other appliances you can also try are: 240 volt outside hot tubs, 240 wall ovens, 240 volt washing machines (European style), 240 volt photovoltaic systems (PV), 240 in-floor tile heating systems, 240 volt baseboard heaters, 240 volt cove heater systems, 240 volt boiler heating systems, 240 volt jetted tubs, 240 volt wet saunas, 240 volt infrared saunas, 240 volt larger submersible pond pumps, 240 volt submersible well pumps, and 240 volt to detached garages.

The Reason Why You Are Doing This Diagnostic

The reason we are having you check the appliances, as stated above, is to diagnose, with the most safest possible way, for a homeowner, to check their power without proper training and tools. It determines what is the next step.


A house needs 240 volts and or single phase power to run these appliances. Typically, homeowners are not qualified or confident enough to open up an electrical panels or appliances safely and use a meter to determine, if there is the proper voltage and or electrical pressure on each phase leg. We are trying to give you tips on checking the voltage without interrupting the current flow. The last thing, we would want is for a potential customer to get electrocuted or start a fire by exploding 2 phases in order to save his or her resources. Please keep in mind that an appliance or electrical equipment that is metal could be improperly grounded; therefore, be the cause of the whole issue. When you are doing this work make sure you have tennis shoes on and at least garden gloves without holes. If you don’t feel comfortable in an manner, please call at any time! We offer 24 hour emergency service, 7 days a week!

We will not be held responsible in any manner, if you attempt these diagnostic tips in this blog. This is the reason the State of Colorado or DORA, requires electricians to have 3 licenses or a minimum of 14,000 hours of apprenticeship to test out. This is just a way for the you to check if all phases in their home are working.