Breaker problem???

Old 03-23-04, 09:07 PM
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Breaker problem???

First post here and it's probably pretty normal to be a problem/question...
Noticed this evening that the light switch in our master bathroom did not turn on the lights. Also, the plugs on either side of the vanity do not work. One side has the light switch and a pair of plugs and the other side has a pair of plugs with reset and test buttons. The light over the toilet and the lights in the closet work normally, which is odd because I thought they were a part of the same breaker. I tried the reset without results. A little later in the evening, we noticed that the girl's bathroom lights did not work along with the plugs (1 pair with no reset button) and a switch that runs the outlet fan. Every other switch and plug works in the house.
A very strange coincidence indeed!
I went to the breaker. None were tripped that I could notice. Like most houses in our area, our house is not of highest quality (although it looks it) and the labeling on the breaker box is odd. Some of the things that should have turned off when breaker was flipped stayed on. So detective work is difficult. I tripped and flipped on the breaker switches that seemed to apply to the areas I needed help. No results. The strange thing about this situation is that the two bathrooms are not supposed to be connected, according to the breaker labeling. They're even on different sides of the box (if that even matters). The bathrooms are on the same level of the house with the girl's bathroom in the middle of the house and the master in one corner, separated by a room.
One other thing that may or may not be an issue...we had a little mouse problem for a few months ago but we have since Terminix'd the problem.

Other than getting a better layout of the breakers and what areas they cover, what would you all suggest that I do to investigate this? Do the breakers switches need to be tested?
Could mice have done this?

I am an educated person and somewhat of a DIY'er but I don't like to mess with electrical stuff, but know that I gotta suck it up... or hire someone...sheesh!

Thanks in advance for you help
Old 03-23-04, 09:47 PM
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It is possible mice could have chewed thru your wires, but probably not the most likely scenario since you said you were rid of them months ago.

Since your breaker panel labeling obviously seems to be inaccurate, I'd start by fully switching all the breakers to "OFF" then back to "ON". Then I'd look for any GFCI devices anywhere in the house, garage, basement, outdoors, etc., and reset all of them.
Old 03-24-04, 04:47 AM
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Every person reading this forum should, as soon as practicly possible, determine which circuit breaker or fuse in their house control each and every light, receptacle and electrical applicance. Having this information accurate and available could someday save a life. It will most certainly some day save aggravation when diagnosing a problem, as evidence by this post.

Determine if each and every breaker is working properly. In other words, for the working lights and receotacles, determine which breaker controls them.

By doing this you will determine if your problem is an entire circuit (everything on a single circuit ) or if it is only part of a circuit. If the problem is part of a circuit then you know that the problem is not the breaker, but somewhere along the circuit. if the problem is the entire circuit then it could be the breaker or it could somewhere along the circuit.

Theis exercixe will also help you make sure that the breakers are turned on. Sometimes when a breaker trips it does not always look tripped, and has to be completely turned off before it can be reset.

I am betting that the problem is a tripped GFCI somewhere in the house. Have you pushed the reset button on each and every GFCI outlet in the house? Do you even know ehere all the GFCI outlets are located? They could be outside, in the garage, in the basement, or in the kitchen. (It is unlikely that a kitchen GFCI is the problem, but testing them is a good idea anyway. At each and every GFCI press the test button. It should trip and shut off the outlet. Then press the reset button, which should reset the outlet and make it work.
Old 03-24-04, 05:50 PM
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Originally posted by hotarc
I'd start by fully switching all the breakers to "OFF" then back to "ON". Then I'd look for any GFCI devices anywhere in the house, garage, basement, outdoors, etc., and reset all of them.
OK. That worked. Thanks for the advice and bearing with an electrical dunce. I powered the whole house down and then powered back up and then reset all the GFCI's.

Thanks again,

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