breaker or circuit?

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-10-05, 07:54 PM
confusedcondo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question breaker or circuit?

Hello,
I am new and glad to find you! I have a strange thing going on. Every once in a while the light over my inside stairway and a single outlet in a bedroom won't turn on. It was previously "fixed" by flipping the breaker switch off, then on. Just now, it happened again, but the light still didn't work. I flipped the breaker switch a few times, still nothing worked, but I left it on. By the way, when this happens the breaker switch has not flipped off (as I believe should happen if the fuse blows). A few minutes after flipping the breaker switch off and on, the stairway light came on "on it's own." So, any ideas anyone? Is this dangerous as is? Thanks in advance for any help! (Yes, I plan to call an electrician in the morning.)
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-11-05, 04:26 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
You have a loose connection. It could be at the light, the switch for the light or the bedroom receptacle, or somewhere else on the circuit. With the power off you need to open each box and check the connections. Do this one at a time, and put the power back on and make sure that everything works after each check.

Check each wire nut connection and make sure all screw terminals are tight. Move any back stabbed connections to screw terminals. Somewhere you will find a loose connection, which is what is causing your problem.
 
  #3  
Old 10-11-05, 09:32 AM
confusedcondo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks! That makes sense because the problem started only after my sister moved in an loaded that one outlet with her computer, phone, etc.
 
  #4  
Old 10-11-05, 09:39 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Then start your testing with the one receptacle.
 
  #5  
Old 10-11-05, 04:18 PM
confusedcondo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
I tested the wall outlet (with a circuit tester) and it tested okay. In the investigation, my sister told me that she had a 15 year old power strip with a single bad outlet for plugging in her computer, printer, and telephone, and an old extension cord with a light and her paper shredder plugged in to that. These were both plugged in to the one wall outlet! She will buy a new power strip. I also told her that I have previously been told that a power strip and an extension cord are too much for one wall outlet (at least in a home built 30 years ago). Perhaps I am too cautious?
 
  #6  
Old 10-11-05, 04:48 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Originally Posted by confusedcondo
I also told her that I have previously been told that a power strip and an extension cord are too much for one wall outlet (at least in a home built 30 years ago).
You have been told wrong. A power strip in good condition and an extension cord by themselves do nothing to the circuit. It's what is plugged into them that makes a difference. The circuit you have is either 15 or 20 amps, probably 15. If the circuit is not heavily loaded then you can safely load the extension cord and power strip up to a total of 15 amps (assuming you don't overload the extension cord).

There is another caution. A power strip is generally three prong. The grounding is useless if the circuit is not properly grounded. Also, any surge protection is useless if the circuit is not grounded.
 
  #7  
Old 10-11-05, 08:51 PM
confusedcondo
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks. How do I check the amp load and the circuit grounding? (told ya I was confused )
 
  #8  
Old 10-12-05, 04:29 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
If these are grounded receptacles (ie three prong) then use a plug in tester to check for a ground. If the residence is fairly new and if all the receptacles are three prong then they are most likely grounded.

As for the load, determine what else is on the circuit. You should already know what receptacles are on the circuit (if you don't please figure that out ASAP, as the information could save your life someday). Are there heavy loads on those receptacles?

If the extension cord is not heavy duty then don't use it. Extension cords are for temporary use and small ones are only able to support small loads.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'