Dead outlets, lights, and flipping breakers

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  #1  
Old 07-19-04, 11:25 AM
hollym
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Dead outlets, lights, and flipping breakers

I sure hope someone can help me with this problem. I was moving some furniture around on Saturday and knocked over a lamp, which fritzed the lightbulb in it, and then my entire living room went dead, lights, outlets, all, including the outdoor porch light. The wierd thing is that there were no breaker switches flipped? I turned everything on and off to see if it would reset, but it didn't. Then yesterday I noticed that the bedroom and bathroom off of the living room are also dead. This morning the microwave flipped on and off several times, and the test gfci breaker switch was turning off. I turned it back on and it would stay for a minute and then flip off again. Can anyone tell me what is going on and how to fix it? Also if I can't fix it, how much should it cost, or is it dangerous to just leave that room off for a while? I live in a doublewide.

thanks in advance,
hollym
 
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  #2  
Old 07-19-04, 11:43 AM
mgb
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Is the lamp you tipped over still plugged in? If so, unplug it and try resetting the gfci. The kitchen gfci(I'm assuming that's the one you're referring to) shouldn't be feeding the living room and bathroom but with double wides you never know.
 
  #3  
Old 07-19-04, 12:51 PM
hollym
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will check

Thanks, yes, it is unplugged, and I have been reading all over this site, so am going to go home and check all of my gfci switches, I know where three are, and I think this site said somewhere that that is how many I should have?

Any other insights would be appreciated, I really can't afford an electrician right now, and would also like to know if this is potentially dangerous. I'm learning as I read, too, ya'll know a LOT!

hollym
 
  #4  
Old 07-19-04, 01:06 PM
mgb
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Yes this could be dangerous. If there is a loose connection there could be arcing which could cause a fire. I would be willing to bet that all the receptacles and switches were connected using the stab-ins, meaning the wire was pushed into the back of the device instead of around the screw. This wiring method is notorious for loose connections. If this is something you feel you could change yourself I highly recommend doing so. You should get a voltage tester if you don't already have one before attempting this. But yes, check the gfci's first to see if that is your problem. If you're not eager to remove the wires from the back and connecting them to the screws then I think hiring an electrician would be money well spent. Good luck!
 
  #5  
Old 07-19-04, 01:37 PM
hollym
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Sounds very probable. I have learned that everything that can be done quickly and cheaply in a doublewide, is. I am not averse to changing the wiring, you turn off the main breaker first, right? LOL, JK. But do you just do the receptacles and that will fix it? I guess I will be able to tell which wires are loose by sight? I'll just have to look at it this weekend. In the meantime, will turning off the main breaker while I am at work prevent fire and arcing?

Thank you so much, I am feeling lots more informed about all of this.

hollym
 
  #6  
Old 07-20-04, 05:49 AM
mgb
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Yes, shutting the main breaker off while at work will make it safer. But what about while you're sleeping? You'll have to do the switches also. The stab-ins may not be your problem but it's a good thing to do regardless. You could also have loose connections in your panel as well. Did the gfci resetting do the trick? Keep us informed.
 
  #7  
Old 07-21-04, 01:24 PM
hollym
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Hi ya'll.

Well, it didn't work, I tried shutting all of the breakers all of the way off and back on, and resetting the ONE gfci and it still is all out. Also the gfci in the panel keeps shutting off if you bump ANYTHING that is plugged in in that room with extension cords, and shutting off the microwave? I can only find one gfci, I thought there were two others in the kitchen and other bathroom, but I was wrong. Oh, and one of the circuits seemed a little bit loose? Could that be the problem? Can you replace one?

I'm at a loss. Do I just start checking outlets, or what?

hollym
 
  #8  
Old 07-21-04, 01:41 PM
mgb
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Did you mean one of the circuit breakers was loose? Yes they can be changed, but is that the circuit feeding your living room? Sometimes they feel loose but still have a good connection. What room is the extension cord plugged into? It still sounds like you'll have to start removing receptacles and switches to check the connections. And connect them to the screw terminals if they aren't already. I would check the receptacle that the extension cord is plugged into first, sounds like that could be one of the bad connections.
 
  #9  
Old 07-21-04, 03:53 PM
hollym
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Wish I could draw on here! The receptacles that the extension cords are plugged into are in the same room, but on the opposite wall, the one that is still working. I will check which one the fans are plugged into, because perhaps, like you say, that is the bad one? So would that make the ones behind it in the circuit go off? It is in line with the GFCI in the bathroom, too, if you followed the wall straight back, so you may be on to something. WOW!

It's safe to take it off and look if I shut off the main breaker, is that correct? I feel sort of excited about trying this, maybe it will fix the entire problem if I'm lucky.

Thanks a lot, by the way, for all of your patience and suggestions, appreciated!
hollym
 
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