Need advice on problem in new house...

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  #1  
Old 07-05-06, 07:46 AM
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Need advice on problem in new house...

Hi all. First off, let me get this out in the open: I don't know jack about electrical wiring. I know what electricity can do, so I tend to keep my safe distance and let the pros handle it, if needed.

Here's my problem: We just moved into our new house, and we have had about every problem imaginable prior to moving in. Now that we're in and have gotten a handle on most everything, we've just found that some of our electrical outlets are not working at all. In our kitchen, a whole wall's worth of outlets, plus 1 on the opposite side of the kitchen, do not work. And also, someone working on our house the other day, stated that our outside recepticle was dead, also.

Now, I have no intention of being Captain DIY on this one. As I said, I know what electricity can do, and I respect it too much to mess with it myself. I'm going to bring in an electrician to handle it. What I want to know is this: Right now, the dead outlets aren't really bothersome and as far as we're concerned, it can wait a week or two before we have someone come out to look at them. However, if this is a red flag issue with immediate potential danger (fire, etc.), I'd like to know. So, if somebody could shoot me a little advice, I'd appreciate it greatly! And yes, I've checked the breakers.

Thanks in advance!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-05-06, 07:55 AM
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Have you checked to see if all circuit breakers are turned on and none have tripped? Turn every breaker OFF and then on.

Have you looked for a tripped GFCI receptacle?

Do you know if these receptacles are on the same circuit?

Is this a new house (new construction with no previous owners) or a new to you house (you just bought a previously owned house)?

Have you tested the receptacles in question with a tester?
 
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Old 07-05-06, 08:04 AM
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Kitchen? Outside? Yep, I agree with the GFCI diagnosis.
 
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Old 07-05-06, 08:05 AM
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Hey. Thanks for the quick reply. To answer your questions, I have checked the breakers, but the only ones I have personally switched to the OFF position before switching back to ON have been the mains and the ones labelled to the kitchen. I've checked the GFCI outlets that we have and, unless I missed one somewhere, they're all OK. Of course, now I'm doubting myself and I'll definitely recheck when I get home today. As far as a tester, no I haven't done that. I don't even own one. I do know what you're talking about, though. If it's something I can do myself, you can better believe I'll have one before the day's over. I'll wait to see what you think about it first, though.
 
  #5  
Old 07-05-06, 08:08 AM
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Guys, I really hope I missed a GFCI somewhere. That would make me feel SO much better.
 
  #6  
Old 07-05-06, 08:25 AM
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Buy a plug in type tester. It will have three small LEDs on it. When you plug it into a receptacle it will tell you if the receptacle is working properly, or it will tell you one or possible problems with the receptacle.

You should also buy a two wire tester. You use a two wire tester by inserting the probes into the receptacle. You test between ALL combinations of the three slots on a receptacle. That is between the hot (the small vertical slot) and the neutral (the large vertical slot); between the hot and ground (the "D" shaped hole); and between the neutral and the ground.

Post back with the results of your testing.

Turn ALL your breakers off and then on. Some tripped circuit breakers appear to be on even when tripped and can only be reset by turning completely OFF first.

When searching for a GFCI receptacle, search everywhere. The basement, the garage, the bathrooms, and outside.

When was this house built?
 
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Old 07-05-06, 08:35 AM
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while your working on it map out your circuits and figure out what breaker , controlls what .

if this is a new house call the builder . new to you ,did you get any kind of warranty ?
 
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Old 07-05-06, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mango man
if this is a new house call the builder . new to you ,did you get any kind of warranty ?
Ditto to that. Regardless whether you know or do not know electric basics I would leave it for the warranty personnel. I would hate to see you void anything.

The three prong tester is not a bad idea though. It gives you information without the possibility of voiding warranties.
 
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Old 07-05-06, 10:43 AM
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Thanks guys. I went home at lunch and I think I MAY have found my problem, but I don't know. There's only one GFCI outlet in the kitchen, and it's right in line with the ones that don't work. Anyways, where you would generally press the reset button and get a "click", this one will not click. I pushed the RESET and TEST buttons to no avail. Have I found my problem?
 
  #10  
Old 07-05-06, 10:53 AM
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Actually, I think you just ruled out the easy fix. Now it's complicated.

Sure all the breakers are set? If so then you seriously need to call your home warranty people.
 
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Old 07-05-06, 11:01 AM
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So, I take it that it's not as easy as having that receptacle replaced?

Well, it's on to checking on getting the warranty work done, I guess.

Thanks so much again for the advice. If anyone has anything else to add, please do.
 
  #12  
Old 07-05-06, 11:07 AM
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Hey again. Just curious... Why would the problem with the receptacle complicate things? To me, it would seem like, "button doesn't work, must be the problem". But then again, what do I know? Educate me a little bit. Thanks.
 
  #13  
Old 07-05-06, 11:13 AM
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Champdog,

When you push in the reset button, make sure it goes in all the way. Sometimes those things are hard to reset - you should hear a click.

Good luck,

DWC
 
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Old 07-05-06, 11:28 AM
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You STILL haven't told us if this is a new house or just new to you.

If there is only one GFCI in the kitchen that implies an older house.

A GFCI not being able to be reset means either a bad GFCI or a break in the wire somewhere.

Fill in the missing details and we can help you solve the problem.
 
  #15  
Old 07-05-06, 11:30 AM
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DWC,

Thanks for the reply. I did that. I pressed it so hard, it was either gonna click or break. It did neither. It just won't push in. It really feels like the button is just screwed up on the thing. It'll push in a little bit, but not to the point where it should click. I don't know if something behind the button is sprung or what. I'd like to take it apart and check, but I don't want to risk getting fried, or even buzzed. It's happened to me before, and I don't recall liking it too much.
 
  #16  
Old 07-05-06, 11:35 AM
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racraft,

Yeah, sorry about that. It's a new house. It's a manufactured home that we should've been in last year, but had every problem you can imagine with it trying to get in there. None of those problems, by the way, dealt with the electrical system.

EDIT: The GFCI in the kitchen is the only one in that room.
 
  #17  
Old 07-05-06, 01:51 PM
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GFI's that meet the newer UL standard will not reset if they are not wired correctly, or have failed. This could be something as simple as the LINE and LOAD wires are reversed.

If this is a new house you should have at least 2 small appliance circuits the serve the countertop areas of the kitchen. This would require 2 GFI receptacles or breakers. The bathroom receptacles should be on a 20 amp circuit, and the receptacles should only serve the bathrooms, not any exterior receptacles.

Sounds like you may have some issues with the builder.
 
  #18  
Old 07-06-06, 06:45 AM
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Yep, sounds like I've got some bigger issues there. Thanks for all the help, guys. It's off to see the wizard, I guess. I'll let you know what the final verdict is.
 
  #19  
Old 07-06-06, 04:56 PM
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It's a manufactured home that we should've been in last year, but had every problem you can imagine
Well if the newer manufactured homes are like the older ones I have repaired that is your primary problem. Most kids build better tree houses then the ones I have seen. Oh they look nice but it's what you don't see that makes you shake your head.

A mobile home may well have been wired by someone whose main qualification was he was willing to work for what they were willing to pay. I'd strongly suggest having a master electrician check out all the wiring.

There can also be special bonding/ground requirements for manufactured housing. This problem could result from problems there and that could be a big safety issue. Another reason you should probably have an electrician check it out.

I have actually seen mobile homes wired with no outlet boxes. Just holes in the wall with screws in the paneling holding the outlets. Of course yours probably isn't that bad but you have no way if the person or persons who did the wiring were electricians or just someone trying to follow instructions.
 
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