No power to attic

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  #1  
Old 09-17-05, 12:27 PM
Oldsiamsir
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No power to attic

My wife was plugging a small desk lamp into an outlet in our attic. When she turned the light on the bulb popped and we lost all electricity in the attic as well as the upstairs bathoom and hallway. I have to admit there is more stuff plugged into the attic outlets than there should be.

None of the breakers have been tripped. There really isn't any particular one that says attic either. We tripped all of them and reset them to no avail. We also tested them and it shows that there is juice coming from all breakers.

We did test all outlets in the attic as well as bathroom and there is no juice whatsoever. Also, I did check all the outlets that are GFCI and they are fine.


Is it possible there is another breaker panel or fusebox hidden in the house? We have only lived here 1 1/2 years. It seems that the panel in the basement has nothing to do with the attic. Or is there some other complicated problem?

I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks so much!
 
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  #2  
Old 09-17-05, 01:41 PM
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Location: Central New York State
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Shame on you for not knowing what breaker control your attic. This information is invaluable in a situation like this, and could save your life in another situation. After you resolve this problem, do what you should have done within a short time of moving in, completely map out your entire electrical system. You should be able to immediately know which breaker controls any particular receptacle, light or appliance.

Now to your problem.
It is unlikely that there is another electrical panel somewhere. While some large homes do have multiple panels, they usually are not for attics. Instead I suspect one of the following:

1) You have a GFCI somewhere that has tripped.
2) You have an open circuit at the receptacle.

When you say that the bathroom is out, what do you mean? The bathroom light is out, or is the wall receptacle, or both?

Use a simple plug in tester and see what it tells you for ALL the receptacles in the outlet and for any other receptacles that are out.
 
  #3  
Old 09-17-05, 05:46 PM
Oldsiamsir
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Originally Posted by racraft
Shame on you for not knowing what breaker control your attic. This information is invaluable in a situation like this, and could save your life in another situation. After you resolve this problem, do what you should have done within a short time of moving in, completely map out your entire electrical system. You should be able to immediately know which breaker controls any particular receptacle, light or appliance.

Now to your problem.
It is unlikely that there is another electrical panel somewhere. While some large homes do have multiple panels, they usually are not for attics. Instead I suspect one of the following:

1) You have a GFCI somewhere that has tripped.
2) You have an open circuit at the receptacle.

When you say that the bathroom is out, what do you mean? The bathroom light is out, or is the wall receptacle, or both?

Use a simple plug in tester and see what it tells you for ALL the receptacles in the outlet and for any other receptacles that are out.

Yes, the bathroom light and wall receptacle are both out. Is a plug tester the same thing we used? It has two prongs and a light that comes on? If not I need to purchase one. I did check all the CFGI and they are not tripped. Maybe I am missing something.

I know....SHAME on me! I have learned a BIG lesson here. Can you explain more what an 'open circuit' means?

Thanks again for your help!
 
  #4  
Old 09-17-05, 05:53 PM
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Location: CA
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By an "open" we mean that a connection or a part of the receptacle itself which was "barely hanging on" became completely dislodged or burned when the lamp current hit it.
 
  #5  
Old 09-17-05, 06:00 PM
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Location: Central New York State
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What does your tester tell you about all the receptacles on the circuit? Test it between the hot wire and the return, and between the hot wire and the ground.

You will also have to use it to test all the lights as well.

I suspect that somewhere you have an open. A connection that has failed. The most likely failures are back stab connections that have failed.
 
  #6  
Old 09-18-05, 01:21 AM
jim97219
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Oldsiamsir,

A couple of years ago, I had a new panel put in and had to tackle the task of mapping out the electrical panel. Using walkie-talkies one afternoon, a friend and I made two lists. One was the traditional one, showing what breaker controls what device. The other way was a list by room showing what device is controlled by what breaker. I printed them out and put them in a plastic sheet cover that's held in place on the inside of the panel door with a magnet.

While I was doing it, I took cover plates off and used a Sharpie to mark each device with its appropriate breaker # (4R, 3L, whatever was correct). Then I put on those insulated covers and followed with the cover plates.

Now, I'm covered three ways: one, the traditional "this breaker controls..." two, room by room, this device is controlled by this breaker and three, each device says on it what breaker controls it. Plus I got a bit of insulation done at the same time.

Make sense? Maybe I got a bit anal about the whole thing but that's me.

Jim

P.S. In case you didn't know, "backstab" refers to simply pushing the wire into the little hole in the back of the outlet or switch. If any are done that way, undo them and put the wires around the screws, one wire per screw!
 
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