Some electrical outlets not working

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Some of the outlets in my house stopped working. Outlets on individual walls in different rooms work while others don't. They are associated with different fuses, but the fuses are okay. I double checked them by replacing them anyway and affected outlets still don't work. Any idea what would cause this?
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It could be that you have an open neutral on an Edison circuit. Check to see if the hot leg is good at the "dead" outlets. If so, look for a common location outlet where the neutral splits off, possibly in a back stabbed outlet.
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Another possibility is that the dead outlets are controlled by wall switches
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However, the lights on those affected locations just came on. I wish I could say that I did something to make that happen, but I wasn't doing anything but sitting reading the paper.
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None of the outlets is controlled by wall switches.
However, the lights on those affected locations just came on. I wish I could say that I did something to make that happen, but I wasn't doing anything but sitting reading the paper.
Sounds like you have a loose connection somewhere in the circuit. I would tap with the back of my hand on each of the affected outlets and see if the tapping causes the lights to flicker or go out again. If it does, the location where you tapped is where the loose connection is. One thing you can be sure of, it will occur again.
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.
Also possible that one hot leg of his service is intermittent and he's losing power to the circuits on that side.
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wrote:

It can be a bad connection on the last outlet that works (outgoing side) Plug a radio with the volume all the way up in a non-working outlet and bang on the ones nearby. When you hear the radio squawk you found it.
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On Thu, 18 Nov 2010 12:27:14 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

He didn't say if they were on the same side of the panel. If so, a loose line feed could be the culprit.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Yes, if it was different circuits from different fuses the suspect would be a problem on one of the hot legs anywhere between the distribution transformer and the bus in the panel.
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wrote:

You can break that tie real quick, does the dryer get hot (or some other 240v appliance)?
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On Nov 18, 11:05pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Neither the dryer nor the hot water heater is heating and the microwave is worthless.
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wrote:

Neither the dryer nor the hot water heater is heating and the microwave is worthless.
Whole different story. It's not just a few outlets on different fuses. You have a main leg out. It may be a defective main service breaker or a bad connection anywhere from that point back to the utility company transformer
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wrote:

<Neither the dryer nor the hot water heater is heating and the microwave is worthless.>
Now it definitely sounds like a problem located somewhere between the circuit panel (fuses? really? Where are you located?) and the utility pole. My guess is that the connection to one of the hot bus bars is intermittent and as the box heats and cools, the connection makes and breaks from the different expansion rates between the wire and the clamping device. I've found those sorts of failures appear often in the spring and fall, when temperatures shift widely. Could be as simple as knowing what screw to twist.
This is where you have to evaluate your competence to work on 240VAC systems and decide whether it's time to call an electrician. I'd be hiring one to install a circuit breaker panel if I were you, and probably to heavy up the whole installation. Last time I saw a fuse panel was in a house that had only a 60A feeder. Way too little for modern life, IMHO.
The only thing good about fuses is that they prevent people from using them improperly as ON/OFF switches the way too many people do with circuit breakers. You can, of course, unscrew the fuse if you want to use it as a switch, but that's not potentially destructive to the safety capabilty of the fuse. At least not the way using a circuit breaker as a switch is.
-- Bobby G.
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On Fri, 19 Nov 2010 06:38:41 -0500, "Robert Green"

Well, there were LOTS of 200 amp fuse panels installed, and I have a 100 amp fuse panel innmy house. Fuses are a lot more reliable than breakers. Fewer "nuisance trips", although fuses can fail from age/heat cycling/fatigue - and virtually no chance of "sticking" and failing to trip when required. They are a nuiscnae when they do blow - you need to have the right value fuse within ready reach, and a flashlight next to the panel is always a good idea.
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On Nov 19, 3:08pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

We rented a condo down in miami a few times and they left instructions to flip the breakers on for the hot water and the hvac when you arrived and flip them off when you left. I thought about telling them that was going to bite them but most people really don't like unsolicited advice.
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wrote:

<<We rented a condo down in miami a few times and they left instructions to flip the breakers on for the hot water and the hvac when you arrived and flip them off when you left. I thought about telling them that was going to bite them but most people really don't like unsolicited advice.>>
"It looks like a switch, so it *must* be a switch" is the attitude a lot of people take when using a breaker as a switch but it's really not a good idea.
-- Bobby G.
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Robert Green wrote:

A lot of circuit breakers are specifically rated for switching duty, and it is very common in industrial facilities like warehouses for the circuit breakers to double as the light switches.
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<stuff snipped>

Well, when I start posting in Alt.Industrial.Repair I'll keep that in mind. (-:
I still think it's a bad idea for homeowners to use circuit breakers as switches because of even the small possibility that they are using older breakers that are not rated for switch duty.
Citing the existence of industrial breakers that can operate as switches probably isn't helpful for the majority of homeowners, because it gives someone who's probably got no way to determine whether his breaker is switch-rated a potentially false sense of security. While technically correct and even germane to the issue, I think its not quite right to compare an industrial circuit panel to a consumer panel. Given that houses often change owners quite a few times, it's likely the panel's original receipts and manuals are long gone. I am sure no one wants to do the home repair community a disservice by pointing out an exception that's mostly related to commercial wiring and could be very dangerous in a non-industrial setting.
I just looked at my 30+ year old breaker box and there are no external markings indicating any of the breakers is switch-rated. I'm betting that when I look through the pile of old breakers I pulled there will be no indication whatsoever regarding "switch ratings." It's why I'll reiterate that using a safety device as a control device is not a good thing to do. I'll add a caveat that "unless you are sure it is switch rated." I will also have to add that "The likelihood is that you'll actually have to pull the breaker and confirm it by model number and manufacturer's specs or by looking for the rating stamped somewhere on the device." That puts likelihood of proper confirmation of the breaker rating way outside the skill set of most condo renters who are told to "just flip the breaker."
Besides, I think it's *damn* good practice to actually *install* a switch if you need a switch, and to keep people out of circuit boxes as a general rule.
The bottom line is that it's probably NOT helpful to suggest that a person switching off the AC or the water heater via a breaker in their rented condo may be in the right because some industrial panels have breakers that can and do serve as switches.
Breakers not rated for switch use edge closer to failure the more often they are used as switches because they are subjected to wear they were not designed to bear. I'm certain of this because when Dad retired from the Navy's Material Science Division he went to work as a forensic engineer. The annals of fire litigation are filled with failed breakers, stuck Klixon's and any number of failed, bypassed or misused safety devices.
Somewhere I have pictures from his old cases about breakers and Klixon's recovered from fire scenes that were part of the circuit that should have tripped but didn't, leaving wires and electric furnace cores to overheat and burn. While this was twenty years ago, I recall clearly safety experts citing breakers being more likely to fail if they were also being used as switches. It sounds like in recognition of this constant misuse of a safety device that breaker makers changed their design to allow them to be used as control devices.
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/alsj-CBsVsSwitches.html
<<In August 2005, Journal Contributor Mike Polizsuk, who works for the U.S. Navy as a civilian engineer, most recently for the Naval Air Systems Command at Pax River in the Program Office for the F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet where he was responsible for engineering oversight of the Hornet's structural and mechanical systems, wrote:
One thing I note continuously throughout Apollo is the way they cycled circuit breakers, often as a matter of routine operations. In my experience with aircraft systems, circuit breakers are considered as protective devices that should not be used as a switch to turn systems on and off. While it may be acceptable for maintainers to open breakers to make a system safe for maintenance, it is not standard practice for pilots to cycle breakers. We would only put it into a checklist reluctantly, and only if no other way exists to turn off a system. Since the circuit breaker plunger is held in mechanically, repeatedly cycling it can wear it out. For a system or component that is required to be turned on and off, a Power switch should be used, with a circuit breaker also in the circuit for protection.">>
Amen.
-- Bobby G.
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On Fri, 19 Nov 2010 12:15:30 -0800 (PST), jamesgangnc

MANY industrial/commercial installations have no light switches - the lighting circuits are controlled by the circuit breakers in the sub-panels. Breakers designed for this service are identified with a label reading "swd" for "switch duty". There are also "fld" breakers designed to SWITCH Flourescent lighting loads.
A "swd" breaker for the hot water would be quite acceptable.
In the past HVAC units would use a "HACR" breaker. - but virtually all normal breakers today pass the test for the old "hacr" standard - so a "swd" breaker could be used for the AC too.
MOST GOOD breakers today are SWD, and many are also FLD
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On 11/19/2010 3:59 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

You beat me to it. I've installed breaker panels in commercial and industrial settings where the electrical designer specifies switch rated breakers because that's where banks of lights are controlled. Like a department store where row after row of lights are switched once a day or never in case of a 24 hour business. What I'm seeing now in a lot of retail outlets is the incorporation of remote controlled switch banks connected to the company's computer network so the main office can monitor and control lighting. It's a pretty cool setup.
TDD
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