Help! Power out after surge protector got wet...

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  #1  
Old 02-02-06, 08:45 AM
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Unhappy Help! Power out after surge protector got wet...

I need help! I was ironing the other day and when finished, turned off and then unplugged the iron. I left the iron laying flat on the iron rest. I then left the house and came back maybe ten hours later.

Using this iron for the first time, I didn't realize it would continue to release steam (or the water had dripped out) right over a cheap surge protector. Now none of the outlets and light fixtures work in certain sections of the house. The outlet itself didn't get wet, just the surge protector.

I checked the tripper on the electrical box and it wasn't flipped / tripped. I turned it off and then back on and that didn't work. I then turned off all the power in the house and then back on and that didn't work either. What might have gone wrong?

Thanks in advanced!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-02-06, 08:48 AM
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You were probably using a circuit that is protected by a GFCI receptacle. Those are the receptacles located in places like bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and outdoors. You know, the ones that you test every month by pushing the button. You'll probably find one that needs to be reset, just like you do after your monthy test...

They will not reset until the fault is corrected, so unplug the power strip, just in case it still has moisture in it.
 
  #3  
Old 02-02-06, 09:10 AM
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I should have mentioned, the power is out in 2 of the bedrooms. I was ironing in one of them. None of the outlets in the bedrooms have a reset "option". The light in those bedrooms don't work either. The bathrooms are fine.
 
  #4  
Old 02-02-06, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by messedUp
I checked the tripper on the electrical box and it wasn't flipped / tripped.
How many breakers have another button on them that pushes in?


How did you know which breaker to check?



What is the approximate age of the electrical system? Less than 7 years?
 
  #5  
Old 02-02-06, 10:05 AM
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Do you know everything that is on this circuit? Do you know if there is a GFCI on this circuit? Do you know if anything on this circuit has power?

Either you have a tripped GFCI, or you have caused a receptacle to open.
 
  #6  
Old 02-02-06, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bolide
How many breakers have another button on them that pushes in?

How did you know which breaker to check?



What is the approximate age of the electrical system? Less than 7 years?
There are maybe 7 breakers.
The house is used over 1 year old and within the first month we flipped the breakers to see which controlled what (and then labeled them).
 
  #7  
Old 02-02-06, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by messedUp
There are maybe 7 breakers.
How many of these breakers have test buttons on them?


> The house is used over 1 year old
Do you mean recent construction?




Check every 15 or 20 amp breaker by flipping it completely off and back on.
 
  #8  
Old 02-02-06, 08:11 PM
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I remembered wrong, I have a lot more than 7 switches. See pics here .

I had originally switched everything off and then turned off the main power coming in the house. I waited about 30 secs and then turn on the main power and each switch individually. I didn't play with the test buttons.

So today, I played with the two switches with a test button on them. I pressed the top one and it flipped off. I then pressed the 2nd one and it flipped off. Now I can't turn the top one back on.

I did the same thing I did the first time, turn off all switches, then the main power, waited, turn on main power, turned on each switch one at a time. The first test breaker won't turn back on anymore and now all bedrooms (4/4) have no power. Bathrooms are working fine.

What is going on? I'm getting quite frustrated. This is my first house and it is brand new, just built over a year ago.

Thanks for any input!
 

Last edited by messedUp; 02-02-06 at 08:28 PM.
  #9  
Old 02-02-06, 10:47 PM
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So today, I played with the two switches with a test button on them. I pressed the top one and it flipped off. ... Now I can't turn the top one back on.
These breakers are sensistive to problems.
An electrician can check it for you.

The possiblities are:

1) You have something plugged in.
Unplug everything and turn off the lights in all rooms where there is no power.


2) Turn the breaker completely to the left (OFF). Then all the way to the right (ON).

3) The breaker has a loose neutral. Not likely. Bad electrician.

4) The breaker died. This can happen. Fairly likely, I'm afraid. Bad breaker. AFCI/GFCI seem to work once like a very expensive fuse.

5) Missing one pole. Not likely. Half the stuff in your house would be off. Stove and dryer would not heat up.


Does the other breaker with a yellow button control the other bedroom(s) in the house?



You should be testing these breakers periodically.

Homeownership is hard work.
 
  #10  
Old 02-04-06, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bolide
These breakers are sensistive to problems.
An electrician can check it for you.

The possiblities are:

...

3) The breaker has a loose neutral. Not likely. Bad electrician.

4) The breaker died. This can happen. Fairly likely, I'm afraid. Bad breaker. AFCI/GFCI seem to work once like a very expensive fuse.

5) Missing one pole. Not likely. Half the stuff in your house would be off. Stove and dryer would not heat up.

...
So I did 1) & 2) and the other 2 bedrooms are now back to normal. The original rooms I messed up are still not working. Does it look like any of the problems you mentioned above 3) 4) or 5)? Should I just call an electrician? Don't really want to spend the money.

Thanks for your help bolide!
 
  #11  
Old 02-04-06, 04:56 PM
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Nowhere do you mention checking for a popped GFCI. The way circuits are wired, it could be anywhere in your house, basement, or garage. Search them out and check them all before going further.
 
  #12  
Old 02-04-06, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by messedUp
The original rooms I messed up are still not working.
Is the picture still the same, that the handle does not stay in the ON position?



> Does it look like any of the problems you mentioned above 3) 4) or 5)?
Yes, #4.



> Should I just call an electrician?
Yes, I'm afraid you'll have to. If you did steps one and two correctly, that's all you can do.


An electrician can determine whether it is #3, 4, 5, or whatever it might be.
Tell him that you have a arc-fault breaker to your bedroom that tripped and cannot be reset even after be turned completely off.

The existing breaker is an AFCI, 15 amp, single-pole, BR style, made by Eaton Electrical.
Your panel is probably labeled Cutler-Hammer (a brand name of Eaton; look on the door).
The electrician might want to know these things before he comes so that he brings a replacement.

Don't be surprised if he has to replace the breaker.
If he does, ask him to leave the bad breaker with you (just say its for a possible warranty claim).
 

Last edited by bolide; 02-05-06 at 04:17 AM. Reason: CB amps
  #13  
Old 02-04-06, 05:27 PM
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not a GFCI receptacle problem

Originally Posted by goldstar
Nowhere do you mention checking for a popped GFCI.
It would be kind of silly to put a GFCI on an AFCI circuit.

If that was done, she needs to have the whole house checked for weirdness.

She did say that none of the bedroom receptacle have a reset button and that the lights are out too.

Did you check the photo she posted?
I think it explains in less than 1000 words that the problem is not a popped GFCI.
 
  #14  
Old 02-05-06, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bolide
The existing breaker is an AFCI, 20 amp, single-pole, BR style, made by Eaton Electrical.
Your panel is probably labeled Cutler-Hammer (a brand name of Eaton; look on the door).
The electrician might want to know these things before he comes so that he brings a replacement.
Did I look at the wrong picture? I saw a tripped 15A breaker when I followed the picture link...
 
  #15  
Old 02-05-06, 04:21 AM
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I blew that one

Originally Posted by MAC702
I saw a tripped 15A breaker
Right on! Good catch! Touchdown!

Thanks. I should have looked at the picture again.
I thought I was working from memory, but my "memory" just isn't what I thought it was.
 
  #16  
Old 02-05-06, 06:45 PM
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Ok, I checked the whole house, including the garage, and found only one outlet with test / reset buttons. Is one normal? I have 2 full baths plus a powerder room.

Anyways, the reset was not popped. I pressed the test button anyway, the reset popped, and I pressed it back in. I'll have to find an electrician on Monday.

Thanks for your help!
 
  #17  
Old 02-05-06, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bolide
Is the picture still the same, that the handle does not stay in the ON position?
The picture has changed, the handle now stays in the ON position ...
 
  #18  
Old 02-05-06, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by messedUp
The handle now stays in the ON position ...
Do you have a new picture for us?

Same two bedrooms that are not working or what?
 
  #19  
Old 02-06-06, 02:02 PM
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No new pics. The only differenct is the switches with the Test option are now ON.

The same two bedroom are out (the two that went out originally when the surge protector got wet).
 
  #20  
Old 02-06-06, 02:10 PM
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If you have exhausted all other possibilities, then the likely cause is an open circuit.

Have you checked for any power at the receptacles that are out?
 
  #21  
Old 02-07-06, 12:58 PM
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There is no power coming out of the recepticles in those two rooms ...
 
  #22  
Old 02-07-06, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by messedUp
There is no power coming out of the recepticles in those two rooms ...
How did you verify this?

Have you checked the other receptacles on the circuit?
 
  #23  
Old 02-08-06, 12:18 PM
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I plugged a small lamp into the outlets in those two room and no light comes up ... in the other rooms it lights up.

I don't know if the other rooms are on the same circuit. Everything in the two rooms don't work, light switches don't turn on, outlets give now power. The rest of the house is fine.
 
  #24  
Old 02-08-06, 12:42 PM
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You cannot check for power by using a light. Your test is inconclusive.

Use a three wire plug in type tester. You need to see if you have power on the hot wire and no neutral. If you have a two wire tester test for power between the hot wire and the ground, or a known good ground.

Shame on you for not knowing what else is on the circuit. You should know this. This information is invaluable at a time like this. In other situations, it might even save your life. You would be wise to figure this out once you solve your problem.

In the event that you have power, but no neutral, or have neutral but no power, you may have to search much more than you would if you knew what was on the circuit.
 
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