Electrical Outage

Old 07-28-02, 05:04 AM
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Electrical Outage

I have been running several window a/c units all day and all night recently due to the heat in Chicago. Last night my ceiling lights in two rooms went out. I flipped the circuit breaker, and the lights came back on very dim. I then unplugged the largest a/c unit and the lights came back on bright. I did smell something I thought might be electrically related until I unplugged the a/c unit, then it went away. This morning, I have no celing lights at all on the first floor of the house! I tried the circuit breaker again and got nothing. The wall plugs in the rooms still work fine, just the ceiling fixtures are out. I must add that the house was built in the 1920's with circuit breakers installed prior to my moving here in 1989. I also don't smell anything now. Help!!!

Old 07-28-02, 05:38 AM
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You will want to call in an electrician on this one. It sounds as if you may have overloaded some of the original wiring. Window A/C units are generally okay sharing a circuit with lights, receptacles and the like, but you stated you had "several" units running at one time. If more than one of them was running off the same circuit, you will have problems with it. If you are running multiple units, you may want to consider having dedicated circuits installed for them. Everything in the Chicago area is run in pipe, so it shouldn't be too hard to pull some new wires for these circuits.
Old 07-29-02, 04:16 AM
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i agree...sounds like one side of your service is open, due to a wire burnt in two, or some other fault resulting in an open "bus" on one side of your service...that means all breakers on that side will be dead, leaving only energized circuits on the un-affected side. some of this old wiring could only handle 15 amps. when new....prolly less now, since age and condition of the insulation, and the connections has deteriorated over the years.
Old 07-29-02, 08:41 AM
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You may have an open connection in the Branch-Circuitwhich connects to the ceiling lites and the AC unit.If you'r positive the circuit-breaker is ON and the ceiling fixtures are switch-controlled then check for voltage at the 2 wall switches. Always check across the conductors (Black and White).If you check Black-to Ground you won't detect an open Neutral (White wire)> Better to test with a simple lamp socket then with a digital tester. Good Luck.

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