Home Wiring Mystery

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by rlfisher, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. rlfisher

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    2
    0
    I can solve most issues with home wiring, but this one stumps me. In the middle of the day the house power flicked off for just a moment. It was long enough that clocks had to be reset. Following that incident the four receptacles in the living room are now dead. The lower one on each receptacle are connected to three way switches at each end of the room. The top one on each is always hot. There is now no power on either upper or lower. The circuit breaker did not pop. Just to make sure I turned it off and then on again. Any ideas?
     
  2. tee2

    Active Member

    Nov 19, 2004
    46
    3
    Did you check the circuit breaker with a volt meter? If power is there, then check inside each box to see if there is power, then work back to where there is no power.

    Todd
     
  3. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    Any chance those outlets are daisy chained through a GFCI-protected outlet?

    We had a strange problem in a former residence; there were some outlets on the 2nd floor that were routed through a GFCI outlet in the garage. If the garage outlet tripped, we'd lose power in the whole circuit.

    Now that it's getting cool at night, the dew is really heavy - that causes our outside GFCI protected outlets to get tripped.
     
  4. Paragon

    Member

    Dec 8, 2009
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    0
    Check the screws holding the wires to the breakers (brothers old house lights were flickering.. ended up being the main lines into the box were not very tight at the main breaker)

    You probably lost a connection in a box somewhere. We lost power to the hall light, parts of the bathroom, and a few other things. Was all due to a wire popping out of a wire nut in the hall light switch box that connected power to the other things Check inside the boxes and pull on the wires to make connections are secure (keeping safety in mind - turn off breaker, use insulated pliers)
     
  5. BillB3857

    Senior Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    2,400
    348
    If the outlets were "back wired" (wires simply pushed into holes in the back), the only contact made is with a spring loaded knife edge cutting into the solid conductor. Sometimes, a surge will compromise that connection. Any time I install an outlet, I ALWAYS use the side screws for connections. Those back wired installations only save install time... They don't provide a reliable connection, IMO.
     
  6. BillB3857

    Senior Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    2,400
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    It has been a week since the OP was made. Curiosity has me. Hope his house didn't burn down in the mean time!
     
  7. tee2

    Active Member

    Nov 19, 2004
    46
    3
    OP has one post, I don't think we'll ever find out what happened.

    Todd
     
  8. rlfisher

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    2
    0
    I finally broke down and called an electrician. He first tried everything you all had suggested without results. He traced the line through the ceiling in the lower floor and climbed into the attic. He eventually took each of the receptacles out, examined them, tightened the screws, and put them back. I had plugged in a light to one of the "dead" receptacles to let us know when/if the power resumed. Unfortunately he did not replug the test "light" after examining that receptacle. When I realized this I plugged it in again and it worked. But we don't know when/what happened to make it a solid circuit again. So we had lights for the Christmas tree. Thanks for you input.
     
  9. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    1,584
    435
    Christmas Lights-A christmas story with a good ending on the ACC forum.
     
  10. BillB3857

    Senior Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    2,400
    348
    Even though it is a good ending for the time being, I wouldn't bet on it being a lasting fix. In all probability, simply removing the socket from the box moved the wire in the backfeed hole enough to re-establish contact. All of those back feed recepticals need to be removed and side wired. One other thought...... You don't have aluminum house wiring, do you? If so, make sure you use the paste on all connections. Get it at any good hardware store.
     
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