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!
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.
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.
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...
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.
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).
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.
Free men own guns, slaves don\'t
On 26 Dec 2005 08:56:53 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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