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Old 09-02-2007, 04:50 PM   #1
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


Hello all,

homeowner here that needs advice.

Bought a 1940's built home a few months ago, house was rewired 15-20 years ago. I cannot afford to update it anytime soon.


There are two breakers for the upstairs, one for a bathroom and bedroom and one for two bedrooms. The past few days the power keeps going out in the two bedrooms at random. The thing is when I go down to the box the breaker is still on, I go ahead and turn it off and then back on again and the power comes back on, sometimes only for minutes, sometimes for hours but eventually goes off again.

The only thing plugged in and running during these times are a computer/monitor/printer and a small fan (that isn't necessarily running at the time the power goes out). I have the computer etc plugged into a surge protector (but for whatever reason the surge protector doesn't do it's job) and the fan into the same outlet. I had no problem for the first three months I've been here, the whole while having the same things plugged in.

Any ideas? I'd rather not call an electrician at this time if it's an easy fix because money is very tight to say the least, this is my first home and I've already spent $5,000 fixing the roof and plumbing and I'm tapped out.

Thanks for any help.
Eddie

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Old 09-02-2007, 05:55 PM   #2
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


Is there a GFCI on this circuit anywhere, a plug with a test and reset button on it.

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Old 09-02-2007, 05:59 PM   #3
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


The only GFI's are in the Kitchen and Bath and they are both on different breakers.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:20 PM   #4
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


First thing I would do is REPLACE the breakers. It is usually a simple process, however in your case it may just be a very wise choice to call an electrician. Should NOT cost much if there is nothing else wrong AND If there is he is already there to find and fix the problem before it gets REALLY serious and people get hurt.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:25 PM   #5
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


Replacing the breakers will serve no purpose except to cause you to needlessly spend money.

You have a loose connection in your wiring. If the entire circuit is affected, I would suspect a loose neutral in the panel bus bar or a loose hot at the breaker.

If only part of the circuit is affected, then the loose wire is probably at a receptacle due to push-in connections being used. Look first at the working receptacles on that circuit.
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Old 09-03-2007, 11:17 AM   #6
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


Thanks Helper (and others)..

Ok, like I said the two bedrooms are on the same circuit. I just did a test and unplugged everything (PC/Fan etc) and just turned on the lights and went and turned the breaker back on. Well, the lights stayed on for 10 minutes then I heard a small "pop" seemingly from up at the light fixture and the power went out again. Keep in mind that the power goes out no matter if the light is on or off and it doesn't seem to matter what is plugged in where or what's turned on or off in the two rooms.

Ok, just turned the power on again and five minutes later there's that "pop" again and no power. Any other ideas before I call an electrician?

Does this..

"You have a loose connection in your wiring. If the entire circuit is affected, I would suspect a loose neutral in the panel bus bar or a loose hot at the breaker."

...Still apply to my situation?

Thanks much
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Old 09-03-2007, 01:56 PM   #7
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


If you can locate the "pop" sound, I would check it out for the hot wire being ground, or a loose connection. It maybe that once something is turned on the wires heat up causing expansion, hence the hot wire touches a ground, or the connection becoming loose.
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Old 09-03-2007, 01:58 PM   #8
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


If you are sure the "pop" is coming from the light fixture, the loose connection is probably there. Turn the breaker off, remove the light fixture, and inspect the wiring. It is quite possible the fixture has had too high a wattage bulb in use and that the insulation on the wires has become brittle. Or it may just be a poor connection. Remove the fixture and see waht you find.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:25 AM   #9
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


Turn off the power, and check ALL (each and every) connection. Wirenuts and all. Something is loose. If you can't find it, leave the power off until you can get an electrician there.

FYI, sounds can be deceiving. I have had a person SWEAR that a chirping sound was coming from her ceiling - and it sounded that way to me too. She had me cut holes in her ceiling because "You buried a smoke detector in my ceiling". Turns out the painters removed one and put it in her island cabinet. When the battery got low it started to chirp, and somehow sounded like it came from the ceiling.

You can't always trust your ears. However, I would still start with the light fixture.
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:11 PM   #10
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Power going out but not tripping breaker


I just had this same problem. It ended up being the main breaker outside of my house. Half of my power was out. It would come on and off as it pleased. The main breaker was corroded outside. Good luck!

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