How to Troubleshoot Partial Power Outages at Home


When it comes to electrical power in Hampton Roads, most people don’t pay a lot of attention to it until it’s not working. When the electricity goes out in your home, you can usually figure out why quite easily. For example, if there’s a hurricane or a bad storm and your power goes out in the middle of it, it’s most likely a power line problem. If you haven’t paid your power bill recently and you’ve received a cutoff notice, the lack of electricity is probably related. A call to your electricity provider will usually solve the problem. It’s when the power goes out in part of your home, not all of it, that it can be perplexing. If you don’t know the source of the problem, you might be tempted to call a Hampton Roads electrician to fix the problem. Before you do, take a few moments to check on these items.

Breaker Box
If you have access to a circuit breaker box, check to see if a fuse has blown. It will be out of position and will likely display a different color than the other switches. If a circuit breaker has popped, first turn off some of the items in the powerless portion of the home that were turned on or plugged in to an electrical outlet. Next, flip the popped switch back into the correct position. This should solve the problem and restore power. If the breaker switch is out of position and won’t reset, this is the time to call a Hampton Roads electrician.

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a safety device required by City code on all electrical outlets that are located near sinks, bathtubs and other water sources. They are also frequently found on outdoor electrical receptacles. In the event of contact with water, the device automatically shuts off power to the circuit, limiting or preventing electrical shock. The GFCI has a test and reset switch. If the power is off in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room, check the GFCI switches. Make sure the area is dry and clear of any water hazards before pushing the reset switch. If the device doesn’t reset, call a Hampton Roads electrician.

If neither of these solutions fits the problem and the electricity is out in half or part of your home, it could be the result of a power surge. This is a good time to call a certified residential electrician. Dominion Virginia Power, the main electrical power provider in Hampton Roads, requires homeowners to have a diagnosis from a certified electrician before they will schedule a work order to survey your home or fix a problem.