Help! Circuit Broken But Breaker Isn't Tripped - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 01-19-2008, 01:59 PM   #1
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Help! Circuit broken but breaker isn't tripped

Last night we're sitting in our living room watching TV, and we had two plug-in heaters going (on different outlets). After about 10 minutes of turning on the heaters, the power in the living room goes out. I go back and check the breaker box, but nothing is tripped. I try resetting all of the breakers, and still nothing. Today I replaced the two outlets that the heaters were on, and still nothing. Power in the rest of the house is fine, but living room is out.

I'm pretty green when it comes to home electrical work, so I'm not sure what to do at this point. Any ideas what what the problem could be? Should I just call an electrician?


kevind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2008, 02:06 PM   #2
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Could be another connection [outlet, splice, etc] between the outlets that failed and the panel. Have to trace it back and see what you find.

But If your not familiar/feel safe with working on electricty, it might be best to call a pro.


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Old 01-19-2008, 05:08 PM   #3
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I am not an electrician.

I'd find that living room circuit or the separate circuits ( I thought yousaid the two portable heaters were on separate circuits?} and make sure it's off or they're off at the breaker /service panel. I don't want that e.lectrical circuit or crcuits kicking / pouring juice into a short ie turning a wall short into a mini uncontrolled hidden wall toaster. Hope you are picturing a bad scenario cause I sure am!

I would also spend a couple of hours and find each circuit's load exactly. I would do this because my time may be cheaper than paying an electrician to do this and I like knowing what is going on. What outlet, light bulb, appliance is on what circuit. I 'd take notes that anyone could understand even if someone were reading it to them. Remember anything that uses electricity is on a circuit: outside lights, garbage disposal, hard wired smoke detectors, garage, attic, etc. Be sure to note GFI outlets. I once came across 2 GFI's on one circuit so between the service panel breaker and the 2nd GFI I didn't know about I wasted lots of time figuring out. Maybe this is going on with living room circuit or maybe the troublesome circuits or living room circuit is on a sub-panel.

I would also check the two heaters to see if they're working properly.
I hope this helps and others throw in their two cents worth.
Please be careful and let us know how this all plays out. It's rarely a bad idea to let an electrician deal with electrical problems. Cliff
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:13 PM   #4
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Should I just call an electrician?

The circuit goes from outlet to outlet to switch to outlet etc. in a somewhat logical manner. The wires can come loose at any point on that circuit including in an outlet that still has power.

SOMETIMES the power runs thru the ceiling light boxes as well.

You can save the electrician time by putting a post it on every switch and receptical that is out.

If ther are only a few outlet affected you can pull them out and check the connections. 75% of the time it will be a bad connection on the back of a receptical.

There is also the likelyhood of a junction in the attic/basement or buried behind a wall by a hack remodel job.

Best case, I would find it and be done in a 1/2 hour. Worst case it could take 1/2 a day.

Last edited by 220/221; 01-19-2008 at 05:20 PM.
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