Power is out but Circuit breaker isn't tripped

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  #1  
Old 06-17-07, 11:29 AM
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Power is out but Circuit breaker isn't tripped

Hi,

The power in my upstair bathrooms(2) and part of one room is out while I was using the hair dryer. I figured the circuit breaker was tripped. However, I checked the circuit breaker in the basement and none of the switches is tripped. What could be possibly the problem? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks much.
 
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Old 06-17-07, 01:36 PM
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some breakers do not appear to be tripped when they actually are, so, go down and exercise ALL of your breakers. You should be doing that at least once per year anyway.

then if you do not restore power, we start with troubleshooting 101.

Do you have some method of checking for voltage? Preferrably not a digital meter but something in the line of a "wiggy" which actually applies a load when checking voltage to prevent a mistaken "phantom voltage" situation.

If not that, then an analog meter would be the next choice.
 
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Old 06-17-07, 01:45 PM
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There must be hundreds of questions on this topic.

This is a bathroom. Check for and reset any and all GFCI receptacles on the circuit. Remember that, depending on the age of the house, a GFCI protecting the bathroom could be in the basement, in the garage, outside, or in any other bathroom.

If it;s not a GFCI then it could be a failed connection somewhere on the circuit. You will have to check every junction box on the circuit, including those where the receptacle works properly.
 
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Old 06-17-07, 06:40 PM
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Probably a tripped GFCI. Usually if not in the bathroom then it is inthe garage. Often behind the beer fridge or the pile of boxes that hasn't moved in years.
 
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Old 06-17-07, 07:18 PM
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Usually by the time I get called to find it for them, it's behind a cabinet in the garage! I found one (by sheer chance), plain as day, on the wall in the garage, BUT ABOVE A HIGH WINDOW!! Looks like it had been a clock outlet or something. We just never looked up...
 
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Old 06-17-07, 09:16 PM
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anybody game for a new code rule that a if a gfci recep protects other recepts that all receps protected as such are in the same room? I know it would cost a couple bucks because that would mean pretty much that each gfci protected recep would be by itself since there is usually only one gfci protected recep in a room.
 
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Old 06-17-07, 11:26 PM
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Power is out but Circuit breaker isn't tripped

Thanks all for your responds.

Nap - I reset all the switches multiple times without much success. I'm not really familiar with the electrical stuffs so I don't really have anything to measure the voltage. I'm open for suggestions.

Racraft, Joed, Mac702 - 2 bathrooms and one bedroom and part of another bedroom is out. Sorry for not being clear in my original message. So with the above information, is GFCI suggestion still apply. As you can tell by my questions I'm not really familiar with these stuffs but are hoping to educate myself more in this forum. Can you describe to me what the GFCI looks like.

Thanks all again for you help.
 
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Old 06-17-07, 11:42 PM
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Depending upon the age of your house the culprit could well indeed be a single GFCI outlet in an out-of-the-way location.

In my house (before I changed things) the outside receptacle, both bathroom receptacles, the garage receptacle, the garage door opener, the alarm system power and the garage light were all on the same 15 ampere circuit. There was no GFCI outlet visible. I knew that the bathroom receptacles were GFCI protected because I tripped them with my tester. I had a devil of a time locating the tripped GFCI device.

I finally found it was the garage receptacle. I missed it the first several times because the previous owner had installed a fourplex adapter over the receptacle.

If you desire to purchase an electrical tesing tool I strongly suggest a solenoid-type tester. They will not respond to so-called phantom voltages.

http://www.acehardware.com/sm-square-d-wiggly-voltage-tester-vt-1--pi-1297996.html

Various manufacturer's and various prices averaging about $35 or so.
 
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Old 06-18-07, 12:19 AM
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The outlet that the dryer I was using plugged in in the bathroom does have a GFCI but it did not tripped when the power went out. Can the GFCI causes the outage of ALL power (including the lightings) in the 2 bathrooms, 1 bed room and a partial bedroom?

Thanks
 
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Old 06-18-07, 12:57 AM
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It is possible that the previous homeowner installed the GFCI in the bathroom thinking he /she was making it safer and not realizing that there was already a GFCI in the circuit but in another part of the house. That same exact thing happened to me and while the GFCI at the receptacle didn't trip the GFCI in the other part of the house did indeed trip.

Yes, depending on what electrical code was enforced at the time the house was built it could very well be serving those other rooms.
 
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Old 06-18-07, 01:13 AM
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Turd - Thanks for your tips. I'll try to search the entire house tomorrow for any GFCIs that was tripped. I wish I could do it now but it's 3AM in this part of the country
 
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Old 06-18-07, 10:49 AM
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Hi everyone,

I checked all the receptacles for any GFCIs but don't see any. The circuit breaker box doesn't have any GFCIs either. My place doesn't have a garage so I also did a complete checked of the basement and couldn't find a culprit.

What's the next step I should do?

Thanks.
 
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Old 06-18-07, 10:51 AM
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If it's not a GFCI then it could be a failed connection somewhere on the circuit. You will have to check every junction box on the circuit, including those where the receptacle works properly.
 
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Old 06-18-07, 11:07 AM
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Did you look outside? It could be behind a shurb, or up in the eave.
Do you have a crawl space?
 
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Old 06-18-07, 12:02 PM
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Racraft - Can you please expand on the 'every junction box'? Do you mean open up the circuit breaker and check each switch with a device to measure voltage? Please excuse me for my ignorance regarding this subject.

Joed - I didn't check my attic yet. I remember the little attic thanks to your 'craw space' comment. I'll climb up there and check it out.
 
  #16  
Old 06-18-07, 12:20 PM
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I mean to open each and every junction box on the circuit. That means the junction boxes that contain receptacles that are on this circuit, the junction boxes that contain switches ion this circuit, and the junction boxes for any hard wired lights or appliances on this circuit.

Look for a loose or non-connected wire.

It will help if you know what you are looking for. Use your plug in tester on the receptacles that don't work and see whether it is a neutral or a hot wire that is the problem.
 
  #17  
Old 06-19-07, 12:02 PM
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It turns out that one of the receptacles in the upstairs went bad.

Thanks all for your help.
 
  #18  
Old 06-19-07, 04:47 PM
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Thanks for letting us know the cure. 90% of the time your problem would have been the GFCI.
 
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