My wife was using the vacuuming and what seemed like a simple act of
circuit breaker's just doing their job has turned into a mystery to me.
All circuit breakers are on. The outlets that are affected are NOT even
on the same circuit (i know this from the breakers go off in the past),
and some of the outlets that I know are on the same breakers as the ones
that don't work are working fine.
I have two GFI outlets (one in each bathroom) and one works fine and one
does not. I am truly stumped.
Any help would be appreciated.
Your first step should be to make 100 % certain that ALL breakers are
Many breakers LOOK like they are on, but they have tripped, and have only
moved a tiny bit. The best way to be sure is to turn each one of them all
the way to OFF and then turn them back on.
Good luck !!
Not too much information to go on, but it is possible that you have a loose
or broken wire somewhere on the line. Start at the electrical panel and
tighten all connections on the circuit breakers and the neutral bar. While
you are in there check to see that you are actually getting "Juice" off of
each circuit breaker.
If that doesn't resolve the problem, the next step would be to open up each
receptacle, switch, and light fixture on that particular circuit in search
of a broken or loose connection. The problem could even be in a receptacle
that is still working.
If you are not comfortable doing this, I suggest that you call in an
What John says is certainly the way to go about it, but...
You claim that several outlets on different circuits stopped working
simultaneously, but other outlets on those circuits still work. Is that
right? Well, except as a bizarre coincidence, that's not possible. If you
are sure it is what happened, I suggest you get an electrician ASAP for fear
something really perverse is going on.
If they simply stopped working the same week, or something than that, then
follow John's advice.
This is possible.
Imagine the following counterexample.
two breakers in use
12-3 connected to both breakers (shared neutral)
15 A breaker on pole B in slot 2 of breaker box (red)
20 A breaker on pole A in slot 19 of breaker box (black)
12-3 wire runs to living room into junction box
15 A circuit from junction box feeds living room lights (red circuit)
20 A circuit from junction box feed living room receptacles (black
12-3 continues on to bathroom into second junction box
15 A circuit from junction box feeds bathroom fan (red circuit)
20 A circuit from junction box feeds receptacles (black circuit)
If someone drove a nail through the shared neutral after the living
room but before the bathroom the living room would continue to work
(both circuits) but the bathroom would experience 240V and the fan /
GFCI receptacles might appear dead.
I don't pretend to claim that this is what is happening. I only want
to point out that what the poster claims is entirely possible.
Hope this helps,
Something similar to that would happen, but not the way you describe.
On the side with a switched on device, the voltage would appear to be
zero (hot-neutral). On the side with _no_ switched on devices, the
voltage would appear to be 240V (hot-neutral). Hot-ground would be
If _both_ sides had something switched on, the _lighter_ load side
would see > 120V (hot-neutral), and the _higher_ load side would
see < 120V (hot-neutral). Hot-ground would be 120V.
And finally, if _nothing_ was switched on, a hot-neutral voltage
reading could be anything (neutral is floating), and a hot-ground
test would be 120V.
I suspect the real situation is that it's a simple 120V circuit,
the line itself is broken somewhere (instead of the breaker off), and he's
assuming that since what he already saw go off with one breaker,
and _now_ some of it is on, and some of it is off, that the original
fault was multiple breakers, and now he's seeing a single.
Or simply that he's forgetting which is which and has gotten
It certainly does seem like the circuit is overloaded (running
a vacuum AND A/C and other things on the same line is just asking
I'd assume it's a _single_ line break, ignore the previous
suppositions, and work at tracing exactly what the routing
really is. Checking for opens in the boxes is the right thing,
but it could be in a box that still seems live - hence tracing
may still be necessary.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
Yes i do believe that is what has happened and here is why I think this
way. A few months back (again while vacuuming) a circuit breaker tripped
and shut off an air conditioner that was on the first floor and one
above it on the second floor (clock radio and light were also plug into
the upstairs outlet & went off). I flipped the circuit breaker back on
and all was fine. So I know (or guess) that they are on the same
curcuit. This time the air conditioner up stairs is now off (along with
clock radio and light) but the air conditioner on the first floor (and
it's outlet) are working fine. Now, if you say this is pretty impossible
than maybe I may not remembering the facts correctly and of course the
labeling on the breaker box is written in sand script. I will flip the
breakers on and off tomorrow and see if my memory is fading or not.
It is probably a wire burnt off of the last working plug or the first not
working plug in the circuit. If the plugs are quick plugged(pushed in the
holes instead of wrapped around the screws) this causes the wires to have a
poor connection after a couple of years, especially if there is a heavy load
at the far end of the circuit.
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