Dropped a live extension cord in the pool - Doooh!


Old 08-22-05, 10:43 AM
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Dropped a live extension cord in the pool - Doooh!

Hi - any help would be much appreciated!

The other day while working in the yard I dropped the end of a hot extension cord in the pool. When this happened the attached outlet, my living room lights, and an outlet on the front of the house all went dead.

I've been through every breaker in the box, and feel confident the problem doesn't lie there.

I've read some posts about an "Open Nuetral". All of my receptacles are backstabs.

How would I test this exactly? I've removed all the receptacles (that i've found!). Presuming one of these is the first receptacle on the circuit, shouldn't I be able to test the hot that goes back to the box and get a reading?

By test - I mean taking my simple voltage reader and touching the white with the red and the black with blach - and then a light comes on.

Am I taking the right steps - or is there another way I should be going about this?

Thanks again for any help!
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Old 08-22-05, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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You tripped your gfci protection. Look for a gfci receptacle that is tripped and push the reset button. It could be in the garage, might even be in the bathroom, search the house top to bottom its there somewhere.
Old 08-22-05, 10:50 AM
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It's very possible that you tripped a GFCI on this circuit. The challange now is to find it and reset.
Old 08-22-05, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Roger's advice about GFCI is pretty likely to be correct. Its likelihood might depend on where you had the extension cord plugged in. Do you know what a GFCI is? In what year was your house built? The answer to this last question, and the information about exactly where your extension cord was plugged in, will help us suggest the best places to look for the tripped GFCI.

Below are some other ideas.

The difference between an open neutral and an open hot can easily be determined with an $8 outlet tester, the kind that plugs into a receptacle and has three lights, available at any home center. It can also be determined, although with a bit more skill, using a voltmeter or a $2 neon circuit tester. First test between the two slits on the receptacle. Then test between each slit and the grounding hole.

I've been through every breaker in the box
What doesn "been through" mean? Did you shut them off and then turn them back on again, even if they didn't look tripped? You should.
Old 08-22-05, 12:36 PM
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I can't begin to tell you how annoying that is...

A freak'n GFCI in the bathroom - you've got the be kidding!!!

I pulled out and tested (with a new one) nearly every breaker in the box. I tested nearly every outlet in the house (other than the bathroom), and have unwired 3 receptacles!

Thank you all for your help - much appreciated!

One last stupid question - can I put another GFCI receptacle downstream from the one in the bathroom?
Old 08-22-05, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
can I put another GFCI receptacle downstream from the one in the bathroom?
Yes, but to what purpose? None that I can think of.
Old 08-22-05, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
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Yes, but then you'd still have to check them both to see which of them tripped first.

You can rewire the one in the bathroom so it is independant, and then install independant ones wherever else you want them, BUT

Now that you know where it is, it's not a big deal anymore, right?

Every homeowner should know all the electrical circuits in his home; it only takes half a day to trace them out and you'll be ready for anything next time.
Old 08-22-05, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NA
Posts: 1,065
Well look at it this way, you just proved the value of gfci protection. Had it not been for gfci anyone in the pool may have been subject to electrocution including yourself. Might be inconvenient by being located in the bathroom but builders dont like to place gfci's everywhere they arent the cheapest things. If it makes you feel any better my house is the same way, built in 1988.
Old 08-22-05, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 96
I have a rule, no power cable of any kind in the pool area. It's a good rule.

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