Nothing Works

Old 12-12-03, 02:12 PM
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Angry Nothing Works

Last summer I built an enclosed porch on the front of our house. I ran electricity from where the original porch light was, through the ceiling and down to the front wall, where I located 6 electrical outlets. Two days ago, I went out to feed my goats, and I noticed their water was frozen. We have an extension cord running from one of the porch outlets to the tank heater in their water. I assumed that either the plug got pulled, or the breaker had tripped, but upon checking, it was neither.
I went back and checked all six outlets with a test light to see if I was getting current to any, and I was not. I replaced the wall switch which controlls the outlets, and still no juice at the outlets. I am getting power to the switch, so there is no problem from the breaker to the switch.
I recently put some extra drywall screws in the ceiling, but that was weeks ago. I was wondering if I could have possibly nicked the electrical wire running through the ceiling studs and it took a few weeks to cause a problem? I can't think of anything else to try, and the home improvement books I have suggest either faulty outlet or switch. Since all outlets are not receiving power, I am at a loss as to what to check/do next. Any ideas?
Thank you!
Old 12-12-03, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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If you have power at the switch, and I mean both siodes of the switch, then go to the first outlet and check there. Open the outlet and test the incoming wire. If you have no power there then the wire between the switch and the outlet is broken somewhere, and will have to be replaced (most likely) or repaired (less likely).
Old 12-14-03, 04:31 AM
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You have power to the switch. do you have power leaving the switch, check it with a volt meter, if not it is a defective switch.
Old 12-14-03, 07:22 AM
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Dumbo you say that you installed new switch so odds are it is fine. Do you have a receptacle tester? If not they are only about 5 or six bucks. Purchase one and plug it into one of the dead outlets (doesnt matter which one since they are all dead) it will tell by a system of lights on the tester what kind of fault exists on the circuit. They are well worth the investment and you will find yourself in need of one again someday. It is possible that you have power to these outlets but have an open neutral, this tester will tell us. Let us know the results and we can go from there. Also when you get this corrected you need to consider gfci protection if it isnt already there.....RL
Old 12-15-03, 07:20 PM
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I'll have to get that tester...

And try it out. I just thought it was really strange that we used three different outlets the night before, then the next morning I know we had power because of a lamp timer we have out there was ticking. When I got home from work in the PM, our water was frozen, so I knew there was something wrong. I checked each outlet with the two pronged tester (just a simple bulb lights up to tell you there is power), and got no response, as well as trying different outlets with a small table lamp.
I'll try the tester, and post the responses from there.
Thank you for the help so far, and sorry for the delay on re-checking my post. Things are nuts around here getting ready for Christmas!
Old 12-16-03, 04:00 PM
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Got the Receptacle tester, and...

the reading I got was an "open neutral". Can someone tell me what this means, and how can I fix it? Is this most likely what caused my sudden lack of power to the outlets?
Thank you guys!
Old 12-16-03, 06:48 PM
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Open neutral means the white wire in that circuit is faulty. How did you hook up the receptacles when you installed them? You didn't use the little spring loaded holes in the back did you? If you did move the wires to the screws on the side instead (much better installation) and test them again. If you still read open neutral then you need to look at all the white splices to make sure they are good. If you cannot find a bad slpice it could be possible you hit the wire with a screw(not likely).So trace that white wire bach to it's source. Good luck post if you need more info.

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