My 3 upstairs bedrooms are on one 15 amp circuit. Occasionally when my
daughter uses her hair dryer the breaker will trip (usually only when one
room has the AC running.)
Yesterday we lost power in all three room but the breaker did not trip. even
flipping the breaker did nothing to restore power. I checked and there was
power at the breaker, I went upstairs to what I believe is the first outlet
on the circuit. It had a small fan and a window AC plugged in. When I
unplugged the fan the power came on in all 3 rooms. I suspected a problem
with the fan. I tried the fan in another circuit and it worked fine. Later
that night my wife unplugged the AC from the same outlet and we lost all
power on that circuit. when she plugged the AC back in power was
Could this be a bad outlet??? My other concern is some varmints have gotten
into the attic, squirrels I think, I've been trying to catch them in a trap
with no luck yet, They did steal my bait though!!!
I'm afraid of them chewing on the wires...
The attic is almost impossible to get into. I wont fit thought the rafters
to get up there anymore.
Any advice on the electrical problem??? Could it be chewed wires or could it
be a bad outlet???
It sure could be a poor connection at that outlet, and it could be
dangerous: if the connection is arcing it could generate heat without
tripping the breaker. Kill the power to the circuit by tripping the
breaker, and have that outlet inspected.
If the wires have been backstabbed instead of screwed down, consider
having all the outlets in the house reworked to use the screw
Also consider having the breaker that's been tripping replaced with an
arc-fault (AFCI) breaker. It won't trip any less, in fact it may trip
more, but it'll protect you from arcs in these bedroom outlets. AFCI's
are now mandatory for new work on all bedroom circuits in most places
in the US and Canada, to protect against exactly this risk.
The problem with the tripping won't go away until you have a dedicated
circuit put in for the A/C and/or the hairdryer. 15A among several
bedrooms including A/C and a hairdryer isn't nearly enough.
Although I'll vote for A) first, given the symptom of mucking w/ the
receptacle changes things. Actually, of course, it could well be
(probably is?) simply a loose connection rather than the receptacle
itself being faulty.
I would recommend throwing the breaker if a simple look-see doesn't
uncover the problem at the outlet as a fire-reduction measure. As it
sounds like you're not particularly comfortable w/ the idea of wiring,
if it isn't obvious to you what is wrong when you look at the outlet,
I'd recommend getting an electrician to check it out...this could be a
significant fire hazard.
I suggest that you shut off the circuit breaker for that circuit and open up
the outlet to see what is going on. The problem could be a loose connection
on the outlet. If all of the wires feed through on that outlet I recommend
that you pigtail them so that all of the current for that circuit is not
passing through that outlet.
If the problem is not in that outlet, than you must open up the remaining
outlets on that circuit in search of the problem. The fact that you plugged
a fan into that outlet and it had an effect on the entire circuit suggests
that the problem is in that outlet. When you open it up you may see some
burn marks on the outlet. Replace it and pigtail it as I suggested.
How old is the house?
On Mon, 12 Sep 2005 09:26:05 -0400, in alt.home.repair "Steve"
This same scenario with different details has happened twice in 23 years
Both times it was a loose wire of the 12/2 connecting to the side of the
outlet. When one goes they all go. Think of a string of Christmas lights.
Before you check be sure that you turned off the right breaker by testing
the outlet with a known working lamp or other device.
The house is 30 - 40 years old. I've replaced some of the outlets due to the
tension being lost and the outlet would not hold the plug. I'll check this
outlet tonight. I'm not sure if its one that was changed but if so I might
have not used the screw terminals.
I have since learned they backstabbing is not "reliable/correct" (not sure
I'll also look into pigtailing the outlet.
Is it incorrect to just pass through the outlet the way it is? Obvious
problem of shutting down everything after it???
Sounds like nobody attributes this to critters chewing wires??? Hopefully
not but I still have to deal with that problem.
Sound like another post?
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