Why is There Power in Only Half of My House?

Circuit Breaker - White's Electrical - Indianapolis, Indiana

We probably all know the frustration of a power outage. It’s a pretty common household annoyance, especially if you live in a rural area or an area with extreme weather, like much of Indiana.

Sometimes power can go out in the whole house, only one outlet, or only one room. Here’s what to do in each circumstance.

Power Out in Whole House

Most of the time, if the power is out in the whole house, it is probably a power outage due to downed power lines, weather, or infrastructure. Unless you have access to a generator or other backup power, all you can really do is break out the flashlights and wait until power is restored.

Occasionally if the power is out in your whole home, your breaker needs to be reset. If all of your neighbors have power, this is probably the case. If this is your situation, you may have a tripped breaker. To reset the main breaker in your home, go to the circuit breaker and flip all the breakers off. Turn the main breaker switch on and off several times, finishing in the “on” position. Then reset each of the breakers, one at a time. If power is restored, you are all set! If not, or if it causes the main breaker to trip, you have a problem with a circuit and need to call a licensed electrician for a repair.

Power Out in Only One Outlet

GFCI - Two Prong Outlets - White's Electrical - IndianapolisIf power is out in only outlet, you might have a tripped GFCI. This is just a variation of a tripped breaker. Many circuits in a home (especially bathrooms and kitchens) have GFCI (or ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets. GFCIs detect when current is flowing along an unintended path (like water or a person) and cut the power to that circuit until the GFCI is reset.

To reset this circuit, you just have to push the reset button and power should be restored. If it immediately trips again, you probably have too many things plugged into the same circuit. Unplug some things and try it again. If this doesn’t work, you need to have an electrician come take a look.

If the outlet without power isn’t a GFCI (doesn’t have a reset button on it), you might have a tripped breaker. In your circuit breaker box, check to see if one of the breakers is flipped. If so, make sure it is turned fully to the “off” position, and firmly turn it back to the “on” position. If this doesn’t restore power or if it immediately trips again, call an electrician.

Power Out in Only One Room

If the power is out in only one room, you probably have a tripped breaker. Like we said above, you can fix this by looking for a breaker switch in your circuit breaker box that is off or partially off. Turn it completely off, then switch it back to the on position. It should reset the part of the house without power. If it trips again, there is likely something attached to that breaker that is shorting out. In rarer cases, a breaker can be bad, but this is not as common.

Breakers Keep Tripping

If resetting breakers doesn’t help restore power, or if the same breaker keeps tripping, you probably need to call a local electrician for help. White’s Electrical is a team of licensed electricians with the tools, experience, and training to help diagnose and fix your electrical problems to your home quickly and safely.

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