2 Circuits In 56 Year Old House Just "drop Voltage"?? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 09-15-2012, 04:26 PM   #1
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2 circuits in 56 year old house just "drop voltage"??


Two different circuits in my 56 year old home just "dropped" voltage.

My garage door opener mysteriously quit working a few weeks ago.
After checking the breaker which was still on, I put a multi meter on the receptacle. Showed about 12 VAC. ????

Some time later, an outdoor 2 bulb fixture on our deck quit. I that the rotary dimmer switch was bad until replacing it and confirming that the switch was fine. The voltage across the supply to ground was approx 12 VAC.

I am now suspicious that the vents may be related. We don't use the deck light very often.

Both of these circuits are run in our attic, and of course, I just covered up everything up there with 12 inches of blown in fiberglass 8 months ago.;-(((.
We have had squirrels get in the attic in the past... wondering if squirrels are known to chew through wires? (We haven't had the problem with critters in the attic for some time since we covered the down spout entrances and have wired down gutter guards.)

I have only one other fact which may be relevant. While installing a new hall light fixture which was originally wired 3 way... believe at construction in 1956.... I almost got fried by a hot lead in the box at the light, even though I had turned off the breaker for the light itself.

A professional eletrician who installed some can lights for me said that it was not uncommon for 50's era homes to wire a 3 way 2 switch light "using a ground loop from another circuit in place of the wire with the red lead." Apparently there was voltage in that 3 way hall fixture from another breaker and I had shorted it to ground with my screwdriver. (Rather than my fingers!)?

We had the original 100 amp panel upgraded to 200 amp about 10 years ago and haven't had anything peculiar happen since then.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks in advance.



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Old 09-15-2012, 05:55 PM   #2
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A loose connection has developed somewhere.

Note: You want to measure voltage from hot to neutral as the primary measurement and hot to ground is a second opinion. If either is not 120 volts then you do have a problem.

What is the voltage from hot to neutral for every single breaker in the panel? A problem in the utility company lines cannot be ruled out.


The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2014, 08:10 AM   #3
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Fixed by very talented electrician!

As Alan suggested, a loose connection was found where the circuit branched from a ceiling fixture in the dining room over to the garage door opener. Probably not code to have the opener on another circuit, was done by a jackleg carpenter about 20 years ago... who did nice carpentry... just not so good electrical work. Thanks for reply
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