No power to outlets

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  #1  
Old 04-24-05, 01:00 PM
dmm58
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Unhappy No power to outlets

Today, while watching t.v. in the living room, the power suddenly went out and the t.v. turned off. The computer (which is plugged into a nearby outlet) also turned off. However, the lights in the room stayed on. We, therefore, thought the circuit breaker had been tripped. When we checked, none of the circuit breakers were in the off position. After further checking, we discovered that the electricity in two bedrooms was also not working. We tried switching off and on all of the circuit breakers, but that didn't work. We then thought maybe one of the circuit breakers was bad. Unfortunately, not all of the breakers are labeled, so we went through each breaker and replaced it with a new one, but that didn't restore electricity either. We also checked to see if there were any GFCI switches that had been tripped, but they were fine. We are at a total loss as to what to do next? Any suggestions? We'd appreciate any advice you could give.
 
  #2  
Old 04-24-05, 01:10 PM
J
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There are several things that might be wrong. Rather than giving you a whole list of things to check, I'm going to suggest you spend $8 on an outlet tester, the kind that plugs into a receptacle and has three lights. Once we get the results of that test, we can offer more focused advice.
 
  #3  
Old 04-24-05, 03:54 PM
S
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TV off. Have you been neglecting your honey-do's, is your wife whistling.
 
  #4  
Old 04-25-05, 12:40 PM
dmm58
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Okay, I bought the outlet tester that plugs into the outlet and has 3 lights. When I plugged it into the outlets that aren't working, none of the lights lit up. What's next?
 
  #5  
Old 04-25-05, 02:56 PM
J
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Okay, that pretty much rules out all the flavors of open neutral. So we're left with an open hot. The two most common causes of an open hot are: (1) tripped breaker, (2) tripped GFCI.

You said that you already switched on and off all the breakers. If you did a good job of that, that would rule out (1).

It is uncommon for GFCI to be used in a circuit that serves only one bedroom and the living room, so that makes (2) somewhat unlikely. Is anything outside these two rooms affected?

I suggest you make a good list of everything that is without power. You may have to test everything in the house to find out. Then shut off the breaker that you think controls these outlets (do you know which one it is?) and see if anything else is now without power.

The next most likely causes are (3) a hot wire connection that has come loose, (4) a damaged wire, and (5) a bad breaker.

Since you said that this happened when you were just sitting there watching the television, that makes (3) a bit less likely. Is it possible that when the failure occured, somebody was trying to start up a microwave, vacuum cleaner, or hair dryer on this circuit?

If you haven't hung any pictures or mounted any bookshelves or put new siding on the house recently, (4) doesn't seem too likely either.

So unless something I said above suggests something to you, we may be down to (5). Unfortunately, testing for this involves opening up the main panel, and I don't usually suggest this for anybody except those with considerable electrical experience. Do you have considerable electrical experience? Did you really already replace all the breakers in the panel? That seems gutsy. If you've already gone that far, it's not much farther to buy a voltmeter and test each breaker for voltage. That would probably be my next step.
 
  #6  
Old 04-25-05, 03:50 PM
S
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With the breaker off, remove the affected recepticles, if they are back-wired, check and see if the wires are loose or easily removed or disconnected.

In back-wired conditions the conductors will rotate within the connection and over time the internal connection can deteriorate from stress. the conductor are then easily removed.

It would be a good practice to eliminate the back-wired condition and side wire.
 
  #7  
Old 04-26-05, 07:52 AM
dmm58
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In addition to the outlets not working that I already mentioned, the hallway light and outside porch light also are not working. The outlets and these lights are all in the same general area, so I assume they are all connected somehow. The only thing I did just before the outage was plug in my cell phone to recharge it. However, the outlet I plugged the cell phone into is still working, so I don't think that was the cause. Today I tried switching the breakers on and off again. Not only did that not help, but now my telephone is not working and the phone company said I had an electrical short in the phone wires. Does that give you any clues as to what the problem is?
 
  #8  
Old 04-26-05, 05:29 PM
F
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If you have all even or all odd circuits out, one leg of your main feed is dead. Could be the power company's problem.
 
 

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