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Old 08-14-2011, 03:56 AM   #1
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only part of circuit works


This morning when I was turning on a light, the light popped and went out like when a bulb burns out but everything else in the room went off too so I assumed it was just the breaker. But when I checked the panel, nothing had actually been tripped. I checked my circuit listing anyway and turned that breaker off and then back on. That didn't help. Investigating further, I found that the first receptacle on the circuit was working fine, but nothing down stream was working. I replaced all my receptacles myself but they were all replaced over 4 years ago so I would think I would have had a problem before now if I had done something wrong. I thought maybe that first receptacle had burned out or broke or something, so I found a spare and replaced it. That did the trick and I had power to everything for a couple of hours. Then again I turned on a light (different one this time) on that circuit, got the same pop, and everything but that first receptacle turned off again.

The circuit is 20 Amp, 12 guage, but all the receptacles are 15 Amp. I wasn't sure if I should replace them with 20's? There are no 20 amp appliances on the circuit, but that first receptacle is powering my entertainment system, on a single surge protector strip, so I thought maybe I was drawing too much through that outlet anyway? But if the current was too much, wouldn't it trip the breaker? I guess my next step would be to check/tighten/replace all the other receptacles and switches but I don't want to go through that hassle if this is indicative of a bigger problem that will require an electrician.

Any advice is much appreciated!

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Old 08-14-2011, 07:57 AM   #2
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only part of circuit works


As for only part of a circuit works, something came loose either a neutral or a black. Did you do any work on the circuit, or place a heavy load such as a portable or window unit ac on that circuit any time in the past couple of months?

Leave the receptacles as 15 amps. They are not hurting anything. Unless you really need a 20 amp receptacle on that circuit, leave well enough alone. As the old adage goes "If it is not broken, do not touch."

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Old 08-14-2011, 08:00 AM   #3
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only part of circuit works


No need for 20A outlets in a 20A residential circuit. If replacing the outlet restored the power to the circuit, I would recheck that outlet. Maybe a lose connection or a screw terminal too close to steel box is the problem.
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