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joyjam 07-06-2005 02:13 PM

Partial power on same fuse!
I rent an old house with a fuse box.
Today, we lost power in the attic/bedroom.
The weird thing is, this room is on the same fuse that the downstairs hall and living room are on. The hall and living room had power, while the upstairs didn't. They are on the same fuse!
I double-checked this by pulling the fuse. This cut the power downstairs like it should. I put it back in and still only power to the downstairs was on.

The upstairs power went out when a computer monitor was turned on up there. I know monitors can draw a lot of juice, but working with half a circuit doesn't make any sense.

In the fuse box, above the glass fuses, there are two things that look kinda like circuits, but you pull out the whole thing and flip it over to turn off the power. It's got two tubes in it. I pulled this out and put it back. Still no power upstairs. Downstairs still ok.
Later, the power came back on upstairs as mysteriously as it had turned off.
I know that if it happened once, it will probably happen again.
Anyone got any ideas?
I really don't know anything about wiring, and appreciate any help.

jbfan 07-06-2005 04:02 PM

If you are renting this house you need to call the landlord and have them send ouit an electrician. It may just be a loose connection, but since you do not own the house you can not do any electrical work in it.

joyjam 07-06-2005 09:28 PM


Originally Posted by jbfan
If you are renting this house you need to call the landlord and have them send ouit an electrician. It may just be a loose connection, but since you do not own the house you can not do any electrical work in it.

Actually, this is not true. My lease has special allowances, which basically means that my landlord is CHEAP, and wants me to deal with the first $100 of any repair to the apartment. After $100, he decides if he thinks it needs to be fixed, and pays the difference. When I signed the lease, it was explained to me that he didn't want to be bothered about a 50 cent washer, or the little things. Since having moved in, I realize that the place is actually falling apart, and this is how he gets his tenants to pay for fixing it up. The other tenants have the same horror stories.
So, anyway, for now, I am stuck here, and would like to know what the problem might be, or where to begin. I do not necessarily want to fix it myself, but I would at least like an opinion, so that if I do need to hire an electrician, I have an idea of what I'm dealing with.

Speedy Petey 07-07-2005 06:27 AM

Actually it is true. Your lease with the landlord is irrelevant. It's a legal issue and not a tennant /landlord issue, having to do with liability insurance and proper licensing/credentials. But this will not stop him from putting this burden on his tennants. I would hate to think what would happen to you if something bad were to happen as the result of a tennant doing elelctrical work.
This is because of the typical number of people living in a rental situation, regardless if it is a single family home or a multi-unit apartment.

That being said, you probably have a bad receptalce somewhere in this circuit. It is most likely a bad backstab connection. Who knows what kind of work has been done over the years in a situation like this.
Pulling out the fuse cartridge and putting it back in will not help if the fuse is blown. You need to use a tester to check the fuse for continuity when it is removed.
What I would do is remove the fuse for the circuit in question and then remove and check the connections on every receptacle on that circuit, regardless if it was working or not. The problem may very well be in a working device.

jbfan 07-07-2005 06:29 AM

As an electrical contractor, I would not do any work in a rental house without going throught the landlord. I am not saying you would, but if you decided not to pay, then the electtrician might not have any recourse to collect his money. Make sure you pull the fuse out and work your way around the room without power. Pull each outlet and look for a loose connection. I would buy a tester to check for open hots, neturals, and grounds. It plugs into an outlet.
Let us know if you need more help.

fburke 07-10-2005 10:23 PM

Your landlord ha a legal obligation to fix any wiring problems, or any other problems with the dwelling.

I as a landlord do have a clause in my lease stating that the tenant is liable only for damage or problems caused by them. Example if the pluming is clogged and I spend $400.00 to remove a childís toy the tenant pays, but if the pipe falls apart due to normal age then I have to eat the bill.

I do make tenants pay the first $100.00 this will stop picky tenant phone calls for stupid things but I do inspect my properties 1 a year looking for the leaky facet and do fix things that need to be fixed regardless of the cost. If itís a legitimate issue then I reimburse the tenant for the out of pocket expense. By doing this I save nuisance phone calls but I am respected by my tenants and not called a slum lord.

I had a similar electrical issue where all the ceiling lights on the first floor went out except 1. What I found was it was above a ceiling fan and the connections had come loose. I just had to redo the connections and re-secure them from any future issues nothing a good wire nut and a little electrical tape couldnít handle.

The problem could be serious as I found out. The loose connection was actually arcing under load and lucky for me it was in a metal box so there was nothing to burn if it had been in a plastic box or exposed to wood I could have had a major fire.

I would contact your landlord and tell him he needs to get it fixed ASAP or he needs to pay for you and your family to stay in a hotel until itís deemed safe by an electrical inspector.

If he refuses notify him in writing that your going to hire an electrician and deduct the bill from you rent. You do have this legal right. Just cover your ass and keep a paper trail. In Massachusetts if he tried to raise your rent within 6 months of this you could sue him for retaliation. If he tries to evict you it will get thrown out of court.

Good luck

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