Confusing Situation-Multiple outlets no power

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  #1  
Old 01-13-08, 07:29 AM
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Confusing Situation-Multiple outlets no power

I have four different outlets not getting power. There is no rhyme or reason that I can figure out. They are the front porch light, downstairs bathroom plug, storage room above bathroom light and upstairs bathroom plug. The bathroom lights work fine. The hall light that is on the same two switch as the porch light works fine. No breakers tripped. I pulled the downstairs bathroom plug out and checked the black and white wires and there is no power. I fully accept that this is beyond me, but I thought I would throw it out prior to calling an electrician. I couldnt find anything in my search. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

Brian
 
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Old 01-13-08, 08:28 AM
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Probably a tripped GFCI.
Look in all the bathrooms, the garage, outside receptacles, basement.
Most of the time it is in the garage behind the fridge or pile sports equipment from last summer.
 
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Old 01-13-08, 08:29 AM
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It seems very likely that this is all on one circuit. You do not say how old your house is, but this type of arrangement was used to some degree in older houses.

I assume you know what circuit this is, and which breaker it goes to. If you don't know, you should. A map of your circuit breakers will make your life easier - and could even save it someday.

Since you mention bathrooms, there *should* be GFCI's involved here. Are you 100% certain that none of them are tripped? Press the test, then reset, button on each one. It is likely you have a GFCI somewhere that you may not even know about that is tripped. Even if the bathroom outlets are not GFCI, it is very likely a GFCI exists somewhere on the circuit and is tripped. Look behind boxes in the storage room, at the outlet in the hallway you never use, maybe even an outlet off to the corner in a garage or basement that you would never have thought to look at. Outlets hide in the most unusual places sometimes, and a GFCI can be installed (almost) anywhere.

It is very common for a homeowner to call an electrician, and then end up paying them $150 or $200 to find a GFCI and push a button. Find that GFCI! It is almost certainly the root of your problems.


In a less likely scenario, are you positive no breakers are tripped? Sometimes they can trip and not "look" tripped. Cycling the breaker(s) off, then back on, often resolves this. Again, something easy you can do as a last resort before calling an electrician. A tripped GFCI is MUCH more likely to be the issue, though.
 
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Old 01-13-08, 09:39 AM
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That definatley a GFCI tripped. All the locations listed would need GFCI protection and I'm sure they are all running off the load side of your hidden GFCI.


Most old ones don't have indicator lamps to let you know if they are tripped so look carefully.
 
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Old 01-13-08, 01:01 PM
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Thanks very much. The house was built in 1984 and the bathroom outlets are not GFCI's. Any other clues what to look for are appreciated, but I will start looking for a previously unidentified GFCI. This is a terrific resource and I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my question.

Brian
 
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Old 01-13-08, 05:02 PM
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The bathrooms are not GFCI because in 1984 it was common to put the GFCI in the garage. Most of the time when people say they can't find it and look for the 3rd or 4th time it is found behind a box or something that hasn't moved in many years in the garage.
 
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Old 01-14-08, 10:13 AM
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Quite a few people end up paying an electrician $50 to come out and push a reset button on a GFCI. Save yourself the trouble and find it yourself. As Joe says, it's probably in the garage. Most people's garage is so cluttered that they don't even know that there's a receptacle out there because they haven't seen it in ten years.
 
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Old 01-16-08, 02:12 PM
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I just wanted to follow up and say I found the GFI. It was actually the one in our Master bathroom where nothing had been plugged in. I reset it, and it took care of all the problems except the front porch light. I will now try and diagnose that which will be much easier than dealing with multiple outlets. I just want to say thank you all again for taking the time to respond to my problem. This has been a big help and undoubtedly saved me time and money. It is a tremendous service you provide and I know I am not the only one who appreciates it.

Brian
 
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Old 01-16-08, 02:30 PM
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Now you know why you should have mapped out your circuits and made detailed notes. You would have noted on your documentation that the master bathroom had a GFCI receptacle, and that it protected all the other bathrooms, and you would have fixed your problem a while ago...
 
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