Yesterday I noticed that neither of the bathroom lights worked. Knowing that the lights are on the same circuit as my wife's hair dryer (because the lights dim a little when she fires it up), I deduced that the GFCI breaker had probably tripped. It didn't look tripped, but I flipped it back and forth to be sure.
Still no lights.
I checked the hair dryer receptacle to be sure; no power there either.
Back out to the breaker box with my handy-dandy digital electric tester. The wire lug on the suspect GFCI breaker reads 121.6 volts to the neutral/ground buss.
But still no lights.
I snapped the breaker out of the panel and looked for corrosion or evidence of arcing. Found none. Snapped it back in, but forgot to check the results before moving on to the next step. Left the breaker off.
One of the receptacles has gotten old and tired from plugging/unplugging and doesn't grab the prongs good anymore. It seems to be closer to the panel box than anything else, so I pull that receptacle out of the box to check the feed wire for voltage. Flipped the breaker on and . . . voila! Voltage . . .and lights . . . and hair dryer! Everything works!
Since the receptacle was old and tired and I already had it out of the box, I replaced it and two other elderly and infirm receptacles on the same circuit. Everything works.
Bragged to SWMBO about how much I saved by not calling an electrician. She was unimpressed. Expected no less. Said that's why she keeps me around.
But I don't know what the problem was!
I'm about to go out of town for 2 months, and I know she's gonna flip the switch and find the bathroom stays dark. Then I'll have to pay a repairman for the first time in about 10 years because I won't be there to troubleshoot it.
When our kids were young, SWMBO used to tell them that Dad can fix anything but a broken heart. My reputation is on the line.
What was wrong?
DonkeyHody "In theory, theory and practice should be the same. But in practice, they're not."