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Old 07-13-2010, 06:46 PM   #1
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power to "half" the house


got a problem with the electrical in my house....so "half" of my house is with out power. An addition that was put on to my house before we purchased it is almost with out any power. There are three rooms in the ad on, a living room/dining room, a bathroom and a bedroom. All electrical outlets are with out power in all rooms, all canned lighting is with out power in all rooms and the fan in the living room is with out power. The fan in the bedroom has power and the dining room shandelier has power.

I checked the breaker box and the power in is reading good at 240 and checked each breaker by putting one lead to grounding bar and the other on the screw providing power to out going lines and they all read 120ish.

I tried resetiing the GFIC outlet in the bathroom without any success, had an extra GFIC outlet that was new and still in box so i swaped them out and still nada.

My electrical skills are a little rusty but i would assume that all outlets (11 in total) and all canned lighting (6 in total) and a fan would not all be on the same circuit? But i dont know who did the electrical or if they knew what they were doing so i guess its possible

Any ideas as to what it could be or what i should test next?

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Old 07-13-2010, 06:50 PM   #2
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power to "half" the house


Did you recently have anything plugged into any of the outlets? My guess is someone backstabbed either an outlet or switch and now something has come loose. Start banging on outlets and switches and see if the power comes back on. Or you could start pulling outlets and switches and check for anything funny looking.

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Old 07-13-2010, 06:52 PM   #3
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power to "half" the house


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Originally Posted by dogvila View Post
"half" of my house is with out power.
is reading good at 240
they all read 120ish.
So it has to be one or more open connections downstream of these points.
Some studfinders have a wire trace function and that may come in handy here.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:01 PM   #4
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power to "half" the house


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Did you recently have anything plugged into any of the outlets? My guess is someone backstabbed either an outlet or switch and now something has come loose. Start banging on outlets and switches and see if the power comes back on. Or you could start pulling outlets and switches and check for anything funny looking.

what exactly is back stabbing? in electrical terms that is...........I was at work, but the girlfriend was vacuuming about 20 mins before the power went out. I pulled the outlets that the television and vacuum were plugged into as well as a couple others and all wires were secured snugly into the back of the outlets...i thought at first she just popped a breaker but like i said they all read 120ish out and nothing was popped when i got home.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:42 PM   #5
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power to "half" the house


so i got the problem licked! went down to the hardware store and picked up one of those three pronged gizmos that you plug in and it tests for ground and such....plugged it in to all the outlets, of course no power then i got to an outlet that was behind and underneath the guest bed which hasnt been touched since i bought the house and it read open ground. Tested the outlet, no continuity, wire nutted the wires together turned the power back on and bam, let there be light!! (and fans and electrical outlets)
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:05 PM   #6
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power to "half" the house


I was going to suggest you may have lost one leg of power but looks like you got it solved.

So how many items did that one wire exactly fix? That seems kinda odd there would be so many things affected by one circuit.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:11 PM   #7
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power to "half" the house


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Originally Posted by dogvila View Post
so i got the problem licked! went down to the hardware store and picked up one of those three pronged gizmos that you plug in and it tests for ground and such....plugged it in to all the outlets, of course no power then i got to an outlet that was behind and underneath the guest bed which hasnt been touched since i bought the house and it read open ground. Tested the outlet, no continuity, wire nutted the wires together turned the power back on and bam, let there be light!! (and fans and electrical outlets)
So you have 11 outlets, six lights, and a fan all on one circuit. Can you tell if they pulled a new circuit all the way from the panel to support this addition?
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:13 PM   #8
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power to "half" the house


An open ground would not have been the problem. Under normal operating conditions the ground is not used, nor needed. It is there in case something malfunctions. Think about all the items in your house that only have a two prong plug.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:04 PM   #9
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So you have 11 outlets, six lights, and a fan all on one circuit. Can you tell if they pulled a new circuit all the way from the panel to support this addition?
so my panel is on the back of the house which is the new addition, what i think they had originaly done when the addition was put on was ran a new circuit that powered all of the outlets and the fan with light in my living room, then they ran a seperate circuit for the dining room chandelier and fan with light in the bedroom. The chandelier and fan with light in my bedroom both still worked when power was lost. All of these loads were wired with that old style wire that has no ground and the protective covering that wrapped around both wires was a black material and now it is kind of feels like cotton/paper covered in tar, i dont know what it was like new but with time its gotten all gummy and nasty. Im young so all my electrical experience is pretty much with romex.

Now for the canned lighting. Whoever they hired to install the six canned lights and a hallway light (forgot to mention the hall light originaly which was also out) had split the wiring that fed the fan in my living room and just ran all of these lights on the same circuit, so they went out with the rest of the stuff...i only know that all of these lights were put in after the addition because they were all run with with romex wiring, not the same old style wiring that the rest of the stuff on the circuit was run with. The kicker to all of this is that the guy who wired the canned lighting split the wire from the fan, put the connections in one of those platic enclosure but failed to secure the enclosure to anything in the attic and also they didnt even cover the enclosure. After running that wire clear cross the attic to where all the lights are they split the wire again for the light swich and did the same thing, put it in an enclosure with out securing it to anything and not putting the tops on the enclosure. Both tops were just sitting right next to the enclosures, needless to say i secured them and put the tops on. lesson learned, make sure you dont just hire any old shmuck to do you electrical!

I was going to suggest you may have lost one leg of power but looks like you got it solved.

Quote:
So how many items did that one wire exactly fix? That seems kinda odd there would be so many things affected by one circuit.
so that one wire fixed a total of 6 canned lights, one fan with a light, 11 outlets and a hall way light.... looks like i know what my next project is going to be

Quote:
An open ground would not have been the problem. Under normal operating conditions the ground is not used, nor needed. It is there in case something malfunctions. Think about all the items in your house that only have a two prong plug.
all of the outlets i plugged the ground tester into didnt register squat except for the problem outlet, it registered an open ground. None of the outlets are grounded so this open ground made me curious so i turned the power off pulled out the outlet, tested continuity and it read open on my multimeter. wire nutted the wires together, turned the power on and everything came back on. Jammed down to the local hardware store bought a new outlet, wired it up and problem solved. I am curious as to why this outlet would register an open ground, so if you have an answer to that...

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