No power in one bedroom only

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I have one bedroom in my house that has no power whatsoever. None of the circuit breaker are tripped, and just to be sure, I flipped each one to off and then back to on with no effect. I believe that most of the circuits in the house are spread out among different lights and outlets in different rooms, so I can't understand why only one room would be out while everything else is working fine. The house was built in 1972 and has had no other electrical problems. The problem occured when the overhead light in the room was turned on. The light went on, went off, on again, and then off completely. After that, there was no power at all in the room. The room does not have a GFCI in it. Does anyone have any ideas what may be wrong? Thanks for any help you can give!
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1972 is setting off all kinds of alarms in my head -- do you have aluminum wiring in your house?
What you are describing is a classical case of aluminum wiring. My father's house was built in 71-72 and about 2 months ago an entire circuit went dead. Had to replace the entire AL circuit with copper wiring.

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Possibilities:
1) Bad connection at a breaker or in a junction box.
2) Everything in the bedroom may be wired in series, starting with one outlet. If that outlet fails, everything else is dead too.
3) Check your GFCI's. People sometimes get lazy and pull power from somewhere convenient instead of somewhere logical.
4) Get one of those $10 devices that senses "hot" wires and check to see if anything in the bedroom has a hot wire. That may lead you to solve #2.
Good luck.
KB
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Is it just the fixture that's out, or outlets in that room, too?
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Thanks everyone for the advice so far. To answer your questions...I don't believe that there is aluminum wiring in that room. The wire appears to be copper at the light switch and in the circuit breaker panel. We haven't opened up the outlets yet, but I think we are ok on the wiring. Everything in the room is out...overhead light and all outlets. There is no GFCI on that room circuit. There is only one GFCI in the house (that I know of) which is located in the bathroom which is on the other side of the house to where the problem is. Just for the heck of it though, I did trip the GFCI and reset it. The GFCI outlet is working fine, and reseting it didn't seem to make a difference. I've started working on the idea that the room is wired in series and that the light switch or an outlet died. I still find it strange that the circuit breaker didn't trip, but it does seem like the most reasonable explaination. I do have one of those hot wire testers that I going to dig up and test the outlets with (should have done that first, but figured the whole room was out and it wouldn't tell me anything). Thanks again...please let me know if anyone thinks of anything else. I'll reply as to how the search goes...
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I use a multimeter -- very handy to have when trying to track down problems. Ovbiously, you have an open in your circuit somewhere -- likely but not necessiarly at one of the connectors. The reason this is usually a sign of AL wiring is because over time the expansion of the AL wiring due to heating will lossen even the tightest of connections. This "could" happen with CU wiring or it could be a sign of a break in the wiring.
To check on the type of wiring you have you would need to check your breaker panel. You may need an electrician if your not experienced in this. When I checked my Dad's house I pulled the cover off the Breaker panel -- but I'm an Electrical Engineer and a PE -- Unless you really know what you're doing I would not recommend it.

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I do have a multimeter, and we have been using that as well. So far, we are not seeing any power anywhere in the room. We did take the cover off of the breaker panel just to check the type of wiring, but we aren't poking around in there. I have some basic electrical experience (old though), and my son is currently taking courses in the electrical field. So we have some experience, but aren't about to try something that may be out of our league. We know just enough to be dangerous... (just kidding of course...we are taking all due precautions).
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Sometimes you can cheat, and reverse power the room to see what comes on. To do this (only if you are experienced!) run a single wire from a hot outlet THRU A 100 WATT LIGHT BULB and into the hot side of a dead outlet. The dead outlets should work, weakly, while the bulb lights weakly also. This might help you understand how the wiring works.
--
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www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/5357/
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On 26 Dec 2005 08:56:53 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Coincidence. My first July 4 weekend in my house, when I had 4 guests from my old home city, the AC failed, the water failed, and the electric failed, all within 24 hours.
Even though one might think the AC failed for the same reason the electric did, because it was hot out, even that wasn't true. It was a simple power transformer inside the furnace which I'm sure uses the same current whenever the furnace or AC is on. And the furnace AC was 4 years old. The electric and water failed for the whole block. Coincidence.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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Well, we've checked all of the outlets (wiring to the outlets) and the light switch, and we have no power in any of the wires. I looked for junction boxes in the basement and found none, which leads me to believe that they are located in the attic. The last thing I can think of to check is to remove the overhead light fixure and see if there is any power there (I'm hoping that may also be the junction box for the room). If that doesn't work, I'm thinking it's time to call an electrician. Any other ideas out there?
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I'd say you're on the right track, checking inside the light fixture's box. You don't have to remove it completely - just have a 2nd person there to support the fixture while you undo the wire nuts momentarily. However, once you've checked for power there, and no matter what you find, turn off the breaker before reinstalling the wire nut(s). Sometimes it's easy to remove wire nuts with your fingertips, and not touch anything else, but putting them back on often means getting more fingers into the box.
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That is one of the things I've been trying to determine...I don't have a wiring map for the house, and since none of the breakers tripped, I don't know which breaker controls that room. I've be working very carefully since wherever the problem is, it's going to be hot on one side of it. I'm really considering running out to Home Depot and picking up a two-part circuit tester to try and figure out which breaker goes to which outlet. Then by a process of elimination, I can turn off the breakers that may be going to that room.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Home Depot/Lowes sells a device that senses power (AC) on the black (hot) lead without having to physically touch the bare wire or unwrape tape or wingnuts. Check each outlet/light box in that room and rooms next to that room with this device. If you find the overhead fixture has some A/C detected there, turn off your main breaker and remove each wingnut or tape and physically check and redo the wiring there. I've seen copper wire just break for no reason and the flicker you mentioned makes me think this is what happened. I've also seen screws on a switch break off leaving a continuing wire disconnected, so it can happen. The tool I mentioned is very inexpensive and works well. Make sure you test it first on a live circuit so you'll get used to how it works before moving into the suspect room. I've also seen breakers (mainly old ones) quit working. That is where the volt meter will come in handy to check at the breaker box. If you get ANY voltage less than 115V on a standard breaker then replace that breaker. My last job consisted of an oven that quit working but the light worked fine. Half of that breaker passed 115V for the light but I got about 85V on the other half which was for the heater elements. Replacing that breaker solved the problem but the owner of the oven was about to buy another one thinking the thermostat and elements had went bad. Good luck.
J
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On Mon, 26 Dec 2005 14:13:31 -0500, Joey

This tester should be the same as the ones should to check Christmas lights.

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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For a start just pull all the breakers.
Then if you find and fix a problem you can turn on lights and attach something to the power outlets and pull one breaker at a time to document them.
According to my copy of the electrical code you are not supposed to use the power outlet to connect a series of outlets. It is supposed to be pigtailed with nuts.
While you are testing things check that the wires at the light are cold with the switch off. I have seen some house wiring where the neutral wire was switched.
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I would get up in the attic and see if you can trace the wiring- the problem may be up there or in outlet in nearby room on the same circuit. I had similar problem last year, solved for me I must sheepishly admit not by me but by my brother, who is a pro. My garage outlet was dead- the loose wire was in outlet box of nearby bathroom.
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Sev wrote:

Hi, Quick way of sniffing live wire is to use a magnetic compass. Near the live wire compass needle goes crazy. Have to figure out which is the entry point of the wiring in that bedroom and start from there backward towards breaker controlling the power in the bedroom. Tony
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Tony Hwang wrote: ...

No. Only if there is current flowing, which in this case it is not. Use one of those non-contact electrical testers mentioned in "Joey"'s message. In the attic you can also determine if a wire is "hot" without having to open up a box.
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Time to investigate, I will bet on the last thing that worked,,,, i.e. the light. Loose connections or shoddy workmanship would be good guesses. Be careful out there
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You have an open circuit. Either the hot wire or neutral wire came loose somewhere in the circuit. Since it only affects one room, its not likely a circuit breaker problem as there is likely more things on that circuit then just that room. I would look for a loose connection in an outlet. In the string of daisy chained outlets, lights and switches, the problem is likely to be in the last "live" outlet, or the first dead outlet. It sounds like you've checked all the dead locations, now check "live" outlets in adjacent walls of other rooms. Sometimes you can bang on the wall next to the affected outlet and cause the circuit to flicker back on

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