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Old 08-27-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
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I plugged in the vacuum to the bathroom outlet, turned it on and it went off immediately -- also the lights and outlet stopped working. I unplugged the vacuum, located my breaker box and the breaker was not tripped. I switched it off and back on anyway and still nothing. The breakers are labeled quite well, but just to be sure, I turned each one on and off, including the main breaker...still nothing. The bathrooms don't have GFI (I know I should get them) and there are no GFI plugs in the house. Furthermore, I used a voltmeter to measure the voltage just beyond the breaker and I'm getting 120V. However, at the outlet, nothing. Any more suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Background: I'm an electrical engineer, so feel free not to baby me.

Possible next steps: Switch the outlet and see if that is the problem? I fear that I may need an electrician to come out and replace the line...ugh.

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Old 08-27-2012, 08:36 PM   #2
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An electrical engineer and no GFI's in the bathroom or kitchen Hmm.
Might want to start by removing the outlet and see if it's back stabed and check the incoming power from the wires not the outlet.

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Old 08-27-2012, 08:38 PM   #3
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I just moved into this house about 2 weeks ago. GFIs are on my to-do list. As far as the voltage at the outlet, I checked the wires. I should have clarified that in the initial message.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:41 PM   #4
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Hidden gfi that tripped.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:44 PM   #5
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I had this happen to me.

The vacuum "surge" was just enough to push a loose connection to the point of no return.

If there is voltage from hot to ground, check neutral connections especially

Otherwise, check both hot and neutral

Check the last working "thing" on the circuit or the first non working "thing"

"thing" = receptacle, light, switch, you get the ideas

Install a GFCI in the batroom ASAP. Dont put the light on the load side of the GFCI
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:54 PM   #6
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I'm not getting voltage across anything at the first "thing", which would be the outlet in the bathroom. I think I have to call an electrician...
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomanon68 View Post
... there are no GFI plugs in the house....
Look again. Some of the older houses had ONE GFI outlet, which could be located in a garage, outside, or in some other obscure place.

It would feed all the other GFI required outlets downstream.

Betcha you tripped it!

Here is one thing you can test for to see if you actually have a tripped GFI or not:

Test for continuity between the neutral and ground at the dead outlet.

IF you don't have continuity, you most likely have a tripped GFI, as those disconnect both the hot and neutral conductors....
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomanon68 View Post
I'm not getting voltage across anything at the first "thing", which would be the outlet in the bathroom. I think I have to call an electrician...
you are sure the power doesnt come into the light fixture first, with an always hot to the receptacle and a switch loop to the wall switch. or power first to the light switch and then branch out from there

do what KB sparky told you to do first, but as a last resort open up the switch and light boxes.

then call the pro
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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Good possibility. My house is set up with a GFCI in the garage that feeds all the bathrooms and outside outlets. First time it popped it took me a good while to figure it out.

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Hidden gfi that tripped.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raylo32 View Post
Good possibility. My house is set up with a GFCI in the garage that feeds all the bathrooms and outside outlets. First time it popped it took me a good while to figure it out.
My house is the same way as well, one 20amp GFCI breaker that does the whole house requirement, man I would love to wire in those days.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:32 PM   #11
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Upon further investigation, I discovered several GFCI -- in the garage, by the washer/dryer, pool, etc. I pushed reset on each and every one of them and nothing. I also seem to have misplaced my voltmeter, which means I can't check to see if the GFCI is even the problem. Great. Guess I'm calling in a pro. Thank you to everyone that offered guidance.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:44 PM   #12
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Betcha the garage one is the culprit. I'd start with that one.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:03 PM   #13
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My house really isn't that old (1995) and there are 2 separate GFCI circuits/outlets in the kitchen with the GFCIs actually right there in the kitchen. It's just that one in the garage that seems wierd and it feeds the 2 full bathrooms upstairs and half bath on the middle level plus the front and back outdoor receptacles. I don't know why they went through all that wiring rigamarole to save a couple of local bathroom GFCIs?

Also for the OP... GFCIs can fail. One of my kitchen GFCIs died and I had to replace it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stickboy1375 View Post
My house is the same way as well, one 20amp GFCI breaker that does the whole house requirement, man I would love to wire in those days.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raylo32 View Post
My house really isn't that old (1995) and there are 2 separate GFCI circuits/outlets in the kitchen with the GFCIs actually right there in the kitchen. It's just that one in the garage that seems wierd and it feeds the 2 full bathrooms upstairs and half bath on the middle level plus the front and back outdoor receptacles. I don't know why they went through all that wiring rigamarole to save a couple of local bathroom GFCIs?

Also for the OP... GFCIs can fail. One of my kitchen GFCIs died and I had to replace it.
GFCI's were expensive, labor and wire was cheap. economics baby...
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:41 PM   #15
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Just a quick update: I'm still searching around my house for hidden GFCIs. No good news as of yet.

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