Intermitant current to gfci outlet

Old 07-19-05, 07:46 PM
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Question Intermitant current to gfci outlet

Hi. We have an old house, built in 1935 I believe. Most of the wiring is the old cloth wiring.
We had a gfci outlet in the bathroom that also included the switch for the light and the switch for the fan. Awhile back, there was not any current going to this outlet. We assumed our son had shorted it out because he was spraying water around. When we tested for the current we noticed it would come and go in the hotwire. Eventually, not really sure how(bought a new gfci) it worked. Last week it stopped working again. It went out for the day, came on briefly that night and hasn't been on since. Of course, now, my husband only has the wires exposed. (well hidden so no one gets hurt if electricity does decide to show up). None of the other rooms are effected nor did the circuit breaker trip. We can't find where this wire leads(i think to the attic but we need to go through some very old insulation).

Needless to say we are at our wits end and I am afraid he is going to start tearing down our plaster walls. Any suggestions?????

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Old 07-19-05, 08:36 PM
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I have a couple of questions that might help clarify this problem. When you (or your husband) tested the hot wire, was it going into the outlet (typically marked "line," or was it coming out (typically marked "load"). The GFCI will only block power to the outlet and to outlets downstream of it. If you are measuring intermittant power feeding into the GFCI the problem is somewhere upstream (i.e. possibly the wire coming down from the attic), assuming the circuit breaker isn't tripping. Also, are there separate hot wires feeding the light switch and fan?
Old 07-20-05, 03:22 AM
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There is no current feeding through the supply wire. The light switch and the fan are on the same supply. Does this help?
Old 07-20-05, 06:51 AM
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There's no magic forumla for solving this. You apparently have a bad connection somewhere. Theoretically, the bad connection should be in an electrical box somewhere, so you should start looking in all the electrical boxes on this circuit (whereever they might be). But in wiring that old, the chances that somebody make splices that have been covered up are pretty good. Try to find the bad connection yourself for a while, and then call in professional help. The professional can make more educated guesses once he sees what you have.
Old 08-16-05, 02:32 PM
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Thank you all for your help. After removing all the insulation from the attic (we were going to replace it anyhow), there were a few crazy things going on up there in regards to electrical boxes. We never did find the problem but my husband decided to seal those wires up and rewire the bathroom on a new circuit. Finally we have light and electricity! It was just completed yesterday. He installed a larger box to hold the wires and, now, we have a light switch, a gfci outlet and a switch for the ceiling fan. Before we only had a light switch and a combined gfci/switch.

There are other lighting issues he is going to work on in the attic while the insulation is out. We have a lot of old, questionable, wires in this house.

Thanks again!

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