No power in kitchen - so frustrated!

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Old 05-13-10, 01:33 PM
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Angry No power in kitchen - so frustrated!

I have 4 outlets in my kitchen that are on one circuit breaker. About a month ago, the outlets stopped working. The breaker was not in the off position, but I reset it anyway. Then the power would be on for a little bit and turn off again. Sometimes it goes back on by itself. In outlet (1) was the refrigerator, outlet (2) microwave and can opener, outlet (3) coffee pot and toaster oven and outlet (4) tv. I replaced all four outlets and had the same problem. (They are not GFI's) I then unplugged the fridge and moved it to another outlet and unplugged the tv and moved that to another outlet. I am still having the same problem. I tried plugging the appliances in elsewhere to see if they were the problem, and they all work fine. I replaced the breaker today and made sure all the connections were tight. I am still having the problem.

I am unemployed and an electrician is very expensive. Any help that can be provided would be grateful!
 
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Old 05-13-10, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Stessie1231 View Post
(They are not GFI's)
They should be GFCI protected.

I replaced the breaker today and made sure all the connections were tight. I am still having the problem.
It sounds like you have a bad connection. The circuit is obviously overloaded, so a burnt wire would be my primary suspect.

When you replaced the receptacles did you notice if there were other connections in the boxes, like wirenuts or crimps? If you have those, they should also be checked for tightness and remade if necessary. Sometimes burnt wires cannot be seen until you unhook the wirenut.

Some other suspect locations would be another junction box upstream of these four -- perhaps a dining room or lighting box. Did you check the neutral (white) wire for a good connection at each receptacle box and at the panel box? When you replaced the breaker, were the stabs in the breaker box in good condition? Any signs of arcing, burning, pitting?
 
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Old 05-13-10, 02:03 PM
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I checked the wires in the outlets and on the breaker and they looked fine. Nothing looked "bad" so I'm not sure what else to check.
 
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Old 05-13-10, 02:34 PM
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How about the stabs where the breaker connects to the main bus in the panel? Only examine these with the MAIN breaker switched OFF and still be very careful of the live parts of the panel.
 
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Old 05-13-10, 03:16 PM
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The stabs look fine...there doesn't appear to be any issues with them
 
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Old 05-13-10, 04:04 PM
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Do you have a house where mice or squirrels got in and ate through wire?

Or can you trace wire enough to know for a fact it goes directly from panelbox to outlet #1 first without entering a junction box that has wire nuts?

And of the 4 identified outlets (wow what a load you have on that line!), are you sure there is not at least a fifth outlet upstream?, that is where your on again/off again connection is coming from?

I love to be sent to problems like this so I can solve them. A good ego booster.
 
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Old 05-13-10, 05:02 PM
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Have you checked all of your outside receptacles for a tripped GFCI? Same goes for basement, attic , bathrooms. garage, A forgotten GFCI in a cabinet or behind a piece of furniture.
 
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Old 05-13-10, 05:43 PM
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Do you have any problems anywhere else in the house? It could be a bad connection in the meter socket or even at the utility service lateral to your house.
 
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Old 05-14-10, 08:16 AM
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"Or can you trace wire enough to know for a fact it goes directly from panelbox to outlet #1 first without entering a junction box that has wire nuts?" I am not sure what this means

Unfortunately, we did have a problem with mice this winter and I was thinking the same thing...maybe they ate through a wire...

There isn't a 5th outlet...I properly labelled all the breakers to narrow down the problem.

Where would I check outside for a tripped GFCI? I am not sure how to do that...

There are no problems anywhere else in the house...
 
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Old 05-14-10, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Stessie1231 View Post
Unfortunately, we did have a problem with mice this winter and I was thinking the same thing...maybe they ate through a wire...
That could be it. Mice and other rodents love to chew up wire insulation for some reason.

Where would I check outside for a tripped GFCI? I am not sure how to do that...
In some older houses the kitchen circuit also powers a GFCI receptacle in the garage, porch, crawlspace, basement someplace like that. If you have an outlet in one of those areas it's possible it might be a tripped GFCI.
 
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Old 05-14-10, 08:32 AM
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Typically the exterior GFI receptacles are located near grade level or a deck.

You would look for a button that is sticking out indicating it tripped. Push the button in to attempt to reset.

Your problem should not be outside in a code-compliant installation, but stranger things haver happened.
 
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Old 05-14-10, 11:31 AM
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There comes a point some times when you just have to bite the bullet and abandon the bad circuit and install a new circuit. Whether that is a viable option and how difficult depend on a number of factors. I'm not saying we are to that point yet. Just putting it as an option.

Here is what I would do next if the likelihood of a GFCI was eliminated. Turn off main breaker. Open all four receptacle boxes. The following assumes the last box has only a single cable into it and all others have two cables. If this isn't the case stop put every thing back and turn the power back on and post what you have,

1 Disconnect the cable at the box with a single cable. Twist the black and white wires together. (Now you see why the main breaker must be off.)

2 Remove both cables from the receptacle that a appears to be first in line. With an ohm meter or continuity checker or multimeter set to ohms check each of the cables for continuity'

3. If one or both show continuity disconnect the black and white at the last receptacle. If one is now open you can reasonably assume that that cable is power out to the next receptacle and the other cable is power in. It is also reasonable to assume that wiring between the four receptacles is ok.

That means the other cable is power into the box. At the breaker box you need to disconnect both the black wire to the breaker for that circuit and the white neutral. These should be twisted together and the power in cable at the first receptacle checked for continuity. If no continuity you know there is an open between the breaker box and the first receptacle.

If you find there is a break your testing isn't done but I'll stop here. If you wish to try it post back and I'll continue.
 
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Old 05-14-10, 12:17 PM
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If a non-electrician can jump in for a minute, you say that "sometimes it comes back on by itself". If it goes off, and then comes back on without you resetting the breaker, then you either have an intermittent connection, which should trip the breaker, or you have some relay malfunctioning on one of these appliances. You already moved the refrig and the tv, now try moving the microwave to another circuit, and see if you continue to have the problem. Microwaves are always causing trouble!! LOL. I would try all of that before I called an electrician. I dont see how you could lose and just regain power without doing anything unless you have some internal appliance part overheating or a bad breaker, or a combination thereof.
 
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Old 05-14-10, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Stessie1231 View Post
I have 4 outlets in my kitchen that are on one circuit breaker. About a month ago, the outlets stopped working. The breaker was not in the off position, but I reset it anyway. Then the power would be on for a little bit and turn off again. Sometimes it goes back on by itself. In outlet (1) was the refrigerator, outlet (2) microwave and can opener, outlet (3) coffee pot and toaster oven and outlet (4) tv. I replaced all four outlets and had the same problem. (They are not GFI's) I then unplugged the fridge and moved it to another outlet and unplugged the tv and moved that to another outlet. I am still having the same problem. I tried plugging the appliances in elsewhere to see if they were the problem, and they all work fine. I replaced the breaker today and made sure all the connections were tight. I am still having the problem.

I am unemployed and an electrician is very expensive. Any help that can be provided would be grateful!
When you changed the breaker did you check the connection for your neutral for that circuit in your panel box? That would be the white wires in your panel box.

Jim
 
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Old 05-14-10, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Stessie1231 View Post
"Or can you trace wire enough to know for a fact it goes directly from panelbox to outlet #1 first without entering a junction box that has wire nuts?" I am not sure what this means

Unfortunately, we did have a problem with mice this winter and I was thinking the same thing...maybe they ate through a wire...

There isn't a 5th outlet...I properly labelled all the breakers to narrow down the problem.

Where would I check outside for a tripped GFCI? I am not sure how to do that...

There are no problems anywhere else in the house...
Thanks for answering the questions we have been asking!

With my first question that you did not understand, we all need to know if either the wire is broken between the panel box, or if there is a junction(bad wire nuts?) or GFCI (loose wire connection there?), located between the panel box and the first outlet in the series.

Can you physically trace that wire from the panel box, for that circuit? Where does it seem to head first, in relation where that first bad outlt is?
 
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Old 05-14-10, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rukkus11 View Post
When you changed the breaker did you check the connection for your neutral for that circuit in your panel box? That would be the white wires in your panel box.

Jim
Good point. One can test in such case to determine if it is the hot wire or the neutral wire instead, that is open! I have actually done a lot of that when circuits go down.
 
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