A few lights won't come on


Old 11-20-04, 03:27 AM
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A few lights won't come on

Suddenly a few of my lights will not come on. The bathroom light, the light in the hallway outside the bathroom and the lights in one of the bedrooms next to the bathroom. Seems like everything else in the house works properly. Tried replacing the bulbs. No luck. Checked the breaker box and no breakers were "thrown". What could be the problem? I am not very electrically savvy so need help. Thanks much.
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Old 11-20-04, 05:16 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
First, try turning the proper breaker off and then on. Sometimes a breaker does not look tripped even though it is. Do you know if anything else on the proper breaker is working? If you don't know everything that is on the breaker then shame on you, this is something you should know.

Then check for a tripped GFCI receptacle. A GFCI receptacle has a test and a reset button on the front. You should be testing these receptacles monthly. Look for such a receptacle in the bathroom, basement, outside, garage and kitchen.
Old 11-20-04, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Could "suddenly" correlate to the use of a vacuum cleaner?
Old 11-20-04, 07:15 PM
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It is a GFCI outlet somewhere in your house. Usually the GFCI circuit contains an outdoor outlet also. You spray it with the hose, etc and it gets tripped. Then, depending on your home wiring, many things could be disabled as a result. I have seen this twice recently: Once, the GFCI was in a remote corner of the basement. The second time, the GFCI was in an upstairs bedroom. Both were tripped due to moisture on an outdoor outlet. Good luck, Joe.
Old 11-25-04, 09:29 PM
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I had a customer with the same problem...turned out they were attached to a GFCI that was tripped located in the garage...
The gardener had sprayed an outside outlet with a hose

Old 11-26-04, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
A GFCI usually doesn't feed lighting, but anything is possible so keep looking for a tripped GFCI.

As far as what could relate to use of a vacuum cleaner, if the cord was tugged sideways, the strain may have caused an already loose connection in the outlet box to become open, causing an open neutral or open hot. Such a fault will often affect many items " downstream " from the box where the fault is located. Shut down the circuit, and open that outlet box up to look for loose connections.
Old 11-29-04, 05:13 PM
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A few lights won't come on - Thanks very much!

I hope to answer all of the responses to my dilemna here. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to offer help. Very much appreciated! (Was away for the holday. Sorry for taking so long in replying) Yes, I did check all of my breakers (even the GFCI) and they checked out fine. Swapped breakers just to be sure. Nothing was tripped. All switches and outlets were fine as were the lighting fixtures Was not using a vacuum cleaner that morning. Checked as much of the wiring as possible without tearing apart the walls, etc. Everything was fine. Finally ended up running everything off another breaker - a spare not being used. As of this moment everything works. It is believed that there is an open circuit somewhere between the breaker box and the junction box - but where that junction box is could be anyone's guess. Of course there is no wiring diagram for the house. But for now...problem resolved. Thanks again to everyone for your help!

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