How To Track Down Fault In House Circuit

All:
I have a house that is 3 years old and recently I discovered that 6 or 7 of the outlets and a couple of light switches no longer have current. One of the outlets and one of the light switches is near the main electrical box. It is actually inside the garage directly behind the box. I opened the electrical box on the outside of the house and tested each circuit against the common and all circuits seem to have power at least at the box.
Additionally, it appears that my electrical fireplace is also impacted by that circuit.
I have opened each outlet and switch to see if there is a loose wire and I haven't found a problem.
I'm not sure where to go from here.
Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
John
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Try checking outlets and switches in the same vicinity that do have power. You may find a loose wire or connection in one of them.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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Start by turing off EACH breaker, one at a time and checking each light and outlet to see which breaker controls what, Write this all down. It helps to have a second person for this, and use a small light or electric drill to test outlets. When you get a rough idea of which breaker controls the part of the house with a problem, start at the main panel and be sure all wires are tight, even the neutrals.
Is there power at these outlets, but no neutral. Stick a test meter in the outlet HOT SIDE (smaller slot), and put the other probe to a good ground. (run a long piece of wire back to the panel ground if necessary). If YES, you have a bad neutral, if NO, you have a bad hot.
Did you actually put a meter on each breaker? Breakers do go bad.
Is there a GFCI inline? Test ALL GFCI's and meter them too.
One other thing. Have you attached anything to the walls lately, inside or out? A nail puncture, drilled hole, etc, all can damage a wire. One other thing to look for are hidden junction boxes in attics and basements. Connections can get loose in them too.
It can take time, but be persistent, you WILL find it if you keep at it. At least you only got a 3 year old house. I have worked on many of the old 100 year old homes with knob and tube wiring that has been spliced and modified 25 times. Now THAT's a nightmare....
Mark
On Tue, 02 Nov 2004 01:26:15 GMT, "John Grabowski"

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<snip>

event, all the breakers are getting current at the box. That much I've tested.

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Sounds like a loose neutral connection in the circuit. Could be a faulty receptacle or light. Could be a loose wirenut connection of the white wires. Could be a back-stabbed outlet, they are notorious for bad connections. You'll pretty much have to check each device on the circuit. Could even be a loose neutral lug in the service panel.
Don't forget to de-energize the circuit before you start probing connections.
Mr Fixit eh
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The EZ way to do this is to get an electronic circuit tracer from RS etc. Normally you plug one part it into an outlet and use the other part to find which circuit breaker corresponds. In your case plug the item into a socket with alligator clips so you can clip it on to the CB output and use the other part to follow the signal up the wires to the bad box where the signal stops.
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<snip>

should cost otherwise. Best, John.
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John wrote:

http://tinyurl.com/5mcnc
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John wrote:

It sure sounds like you have a circuit protected by a GFCI. Look in the garage, baths and kitchen for the ground fault outlets. Press each test button (you will likely hear a click) and then the reset. When you find the right one, it will likely not click but when reset everything will start working.
Some of those are well hidden in places you would not expect. Check the basement as well.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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<snip>

thought, however. Thanks.
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