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Discussion Starter #1
In a bedroom, I have a ceiling fan/light, a ceiling light fixture, and two outlets that lost power today. Other outlets in the room still work. I am unable to determine the cause or to fix the problem. At the time of the loss, I was using minimal electricity: 4 bulbs in the ceiling fan, a laptop and a phone plugged into one of the outlets. Nothing at all unusual based on what I've done for years.

I figured a breaker had flipped but soon saw that all breakers were still On. My breakers aren't labeled, and I don't know which breaker these items are tied to. So I flipped all of the breakers Off and then back On again, but nothing has changed. I believe the 4 items are all on the same circuit, but I don't know if they are the only items on the circuit.


When the lights/outlets lost power, there was a slight sound from the ceiling fan/light (sort of a "pop" like a bulb burning out). One of the 4 bulbs I had in the unit is now burned out. It is a CFL bulb.


Any suggestions? Thanks for your help!
 

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Possibly a bad connection in fan junction box or a poorly wired back wired receptacle somewhere that lost connecting.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Possibly a bad connection in fan junction box or a poorly wired back wired receptacle somewhere that lost connecting.
That could be, but how likely is that to show up after many years of having no issues? We've lived here 13 years and haven't done anything electrical for at least 5 years

Regardless, how would I go about diagnosing this? I'm a newbie, so should I just call an electrician?

Thank you for the input.
 

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Outlets, switches - dont last forever. Continuos plugging of things in an outlet will overtime wear them out. It would most likely require pulling out those outlets that aren't working for inspection of the outlet itself, and the wiring. Inspect to see that no wires have seperated, come loose, and no indications of burn marks. Also, another question, when you plug anything, whether it be a three prong or just two prongs, does the connection feel loose, or snug? If nothing indicates there, move on to the next thing, the ceiling fan. But really, if you feel uncomfortable, probably worth it to call a professional, or someone very familiar with electrical.
 

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If you have no experience and don't feel comfortable may be best to call an electrician. Somewhere in an outlet you lost power. You will have to turn the breaker off feeding this and check with a meter to make sure everything is dead before touching anything and check the connections in all outlets in this area.

My parents house 15 years after it was built had a back wired receptacle that came apart and I just pulled the remaining wires from the back and put them all under the screws and all was good. Will take some searching.
 

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I agree with rrolleston! But I'll include a couple of photo's

My customer claimed her outlets in the dinning quit working. The first one I pulled out to look at, this is what I found:

Burn mark on blue portion of the outlet, along with where the ground wire came in touch with the hot wire (black)

All because, it, the receptacle and wiring, packed into a very shallow box.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate the guidance. I've done some minor electrical work in the past so I'm comfortable doing some of what you've suggested.

I've opened up & inspected the two outlets and the two switches that control the lights; everything looks fine in there - nothing burnt. My next step is to inspect the wiring for the ceiling fan. I'll keep you posted.
 

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I've now removed the ceiling fan and now have the three wires (black, white, and uncovered) coming out of the opening. The other light fixture and the two outlets still don't have power.

I will remove the other light fixture to make sure that it isn't toast. If that doesn't solve the problem, I plan to call an electrician.

How likely is that I've had a breaker go bad?
 

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I appreciate the guidance. I've done some minor electrical work in the past so I'm comfortable doing some of what you've suggested.

I've opened up & inspected the two outlets and the two switches that control the lights; everything looks fine in there - nothing burnt. My next step is to inspect the wiring for the ceiling fan. I'll keep you posted.
Take a voltmeter to the outlets. Did either of the outlets have in AND out wires? Check the other outlets in the room because the one that is presenting the problem may still work but nit pass it on.
 

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Take a voltmeter to the outlets. Did either of the outlets have in AND out wires? Check the other outlets in the room because the one that is presenting the problem may still work but nit pass it on.
Neither of the outlets had in AND out wires. If I check the other outlets in the room, what am I looking for?

Thanks!
 

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It might require checking all the connections on the other outlets to ensure they are secure. As referred to in an earlier post, outlets are tyoically wired from one to another, so if a connection goes bad on one, will affect the rest on down the line.

To answer your question regarding a bad breaker, yes, they do go bad. Sometimes you may even have a breaker that "appears" to be in the on position, but the only way for sure to tell is by resetting it, turning to to the off position and back on.

Re-check all your breakers. If your uncertain as to which one feeds which area, start one by one, feel free to skip over the "double" breakers, anyone over 20A rating.
 

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Neither of the outlets had in AND out wires. If I check the other outlets in the room, what am I looking for?

Thanks!
All the wires coming to the outlest are looped and secured with a terminal? None are just stripped and pushed into the back? How about the light switch, have you examined that as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It might require checking all the connections on the other outlets to ensure they are secure. As referred to in an earlier post, outlets are tyoically wired from one to another, so if a connection goes bad on one, will affect the rest on down the line.

To answer your question regarding a bad breaker, yes, they do go bad. Sometimes you may even have a breaker that "appears" to be in the on position, but the only way for sure to tell is by resetting it, turning to to the off position and back on.

Re-check all your breakers. If your uncertain as to which one feeds which area, start one by one, feel free to skip over the "double" breakers, anyone over 20A rating.
I've reset all the breakers, and have mapped almost all of them to their circuits. There are 3 breakers whose circuit I can't locate, including the circuit that contains the lights/outlets that have no power. Based on the layout of the breakers and the circuits, I'm pretty sure I know which breaker leads to the circuit in question.

Is testing this breaker a good next step in troubleshooting the problem? I see numerous online instructions for testing a breaker. Your thoughts?

Thanks!
 

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I've reset all the breakers, and have mapped almost all of them to their circuits. There are 3 breakers whose circuit I can't locate, including the circuit that contains the lights/outlets that have no power. Based on the layout of the breakers and the circuits, I'm pretty sure I know which breaker leads to the circuit in question.

Is testing this breaker a good next step in troubleshooting the problem? I see numerous online instructions for testing a breaker. Your thoughts?

Thanks!
If you have traced everything back as far as you can, then check the breaker and eliminate that as a problem.
 

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Consider checking the wall switch, if you haven't eliminated that yet as the potential problem, again, check all the connections, check any wires in the box with wire nuts to make sure they are secure and tight.
 

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If you have traced everything back as far as you can, then check the breaker and eliminate that as a problem.
Thanks. Now that the weekend is here, I'm working on this again. I've re-checked all the connections in the switches and outlets, and I've also swapped out the breaker with one that is working fine on a different circuit. Still no power to the circuit.

One question though. From having removed my ceiling fan, I have the hot, neutral, and ground wires sticking out of the hole in my ceiling. Do I need to hook the ceiling fan back up in order to continue troubleshooting? Or is it OK to keep trouble shooting with the wires not hooked up? (Yes, I know not to mess with them when the power is on. They're up high and out of the way.) I'm curious to know if having nothing hooked up to the wires will prevent the other points on the circuit from working.

I've also found that we have one more outlet that may be on this circuit. It's buried behind some bookshelves that we'll have to move.
 

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As long as there are no wires junctioned in the ceiling fan box, having the ceiling fan dismounted will not affect anything.
 
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