No circuits tripped but 3 bedrooms with no power! Help!

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Old 07-25-11, 03:53 PM
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No circuits tripped but 3 bedrooms with no power! Help!

Last night - the power went out, but only in 3 of my bedrooms all on the same side of the house, but no circuits were tripped. About 5 minutes later the power came back on. Today in the afternoon - the power went out again - again no circuits tripped. I flipped the circuits anyway hoping to get them back on and nothing. Not sure what to look for or what to do? Nothing unusual was on that isn't normally on in these rooms. Could this be something with a wire on the outside of the house? Have no idea what to check for or do. Any help is greatly appreciated as they are all children's bedrooms and night time is approaching!
 
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Old 07-25-11, 03:58 PM
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Do you have any 240v appliances? Do they work? Are the bed rooms on separate breakers? If so are they all odd numbered or all even numbered breakers?
 
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Old 07-25-11, 04:11 PM
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Not sure what a 240v appliance would be. The 3 bedrooms from what I can see are on the same breaker. Where would I find if they are odd or even numbered. Sorry about being so naive with this. Husband isn't home yet and am trying to figure it out on my own!
 
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Old 07-25-11, 04:16 PM
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if you have a meter go to the wallplate mounting screw then each opening on any of the effected sockets...trying to see if you have the hot 120V leg on the socket...if you see a voltage remove off the walplate screw and put the lead into the other socket opening...this will telll us if the neitral is present....ever do this before not a new house no mystery wall switches...and no its totally within your home nothing to do with outside...hows everything else in the house....either its a hot wire loose or neutral on those 3 bedrooms
 
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Old 07-25-11, 04:26 PM
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Everything else in the home working fine. Sorry to say I have not done anything like this before. We have been in this house only 3 years. Our old house still had fuses so it was easier. Guess I'll have to wait on the meter solution until my husbands gets home as I am not too electrical savy. Anything else I can try in the meantime??
 
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Old 07-25-11, 05:29 PM
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Do you know if there are any subpanels? Those bedrooms could be on their own subpanel and that's what tripped. If you're seeing any signs of fluctuating power -- lights dimming/brightening, etc. I would strongly urge you to turn off all power at the main box until it's diagnosed. I've had that situation occur twice (once a tree-severed neutral, once a problem of the power company's). That can be dangerous.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 05:39 PM
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Do you have an electric range? Doezs it work?
If so are they all odd numbered or all even numbered breakers?
This thes tis useless as one half of my panel is odd, other is even.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 05:43 PM
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Nope - gas range and it works fine.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 05:54 PM
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There is a meaningful test here but it's probably more than just all odd/even. I think the point of that test is to see if all the circuits are on one of the 120 legs coming in. Typical residential service has 2 120 wires and a neutral. For 240 volt devices like electric dryers, ranges, ovens, etc. you use both legs. For regular circuits only one leg is used. Each one of these two legs will, however, typically not be all odd or even. In my box, the numbering is odd left, even right but the two legs alternate up and down in the box so that 1/3 are different legs, 2/4 are different etc. That is, each adjacent vertical slot in the box is a different one of the 2 120 volt wires. This allows a normal 2 pole (double) breaker to sit on both legs to get the 240 volts it needs -- the two breakers are vertically aligned together and each one is tapping a different 120 volt wire. If all the circuits that are out are on one leg (one of the 2 wires coming into the house), the problem may be with just that one wire. Whenever there's an issue with any of the 3 wires coming in, and not all three together, there are potential dangers -- the voltage may not be properly regulated between the 2 hot wires.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 06:05 PM
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Typical residential service has 2 120 wires and a neutral.
Off topic of the question but that statement is a common misconception about household wiring. You have two 240v wires and a neutral not two 120v wires and a neutral.

The OP has written she thinks only one breaker is involved so most likely it is a bad connection. First though the breaker should be checked by measuring the voltage from it to the neutral. If the breaker is good then connections at all involved receptacles, lights and switches need to be checked. Any wire nuts replaced, and any backstabs moved to the screws.

See also: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rminology.html
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-25-11 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 07-25-11, 06:32 PM
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Tested outlets - outlets are fine. Any electronic device plugged into outlets will not work. TV, AC unit, even plugged a blow dryer into a surge protector. The light is on the surge protector but when you turn the unit on - the light on the surge protector flickers.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 06:41 PM
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Relative to neutral or ground, each leg of my system is 120v. I've measured it at the box. Relative to each other, 240v but I thought that was because each leg was out of cycle with the other (+120 measured to -120 = 240). I may be wrong but I know each of my legs measures at 120 when measured to ground or neutral.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 06:44 PM
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When you say the outlets are fine, do they measure somewhere close to 120 volts? How did you test them?
 
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Old 07-25-11, 06:52 PM
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Success

Just found it it was a loose wire in a ceiling fan in one of the rooms. FYI - all of the three bedrooms are on the same circuit. Thanks for all of the help! Greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 07:06 PM
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Did the breaker for that circuit trip? It sounds like it should have.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by srs06 View Post
Did the breaker for that circuit trip? It sounds like it should have.
I am curious about your reasoning on why you think the circuit breaker should have tripped. I don't see a reason for it.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 07:51 PM
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I guess it depends on "loose." Since the entire circuit was out so it seemed to me like either the breaker tripped or a GFCI outlet in circuit tripped. "Loose" as in hitting another wire or ground should trip the breaker, no?
 
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Old 07-25-11, 07:56 PM
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I guess it depends on "loose." Since the entire circuit was out so it seemed to me like either the breaker tripped or a GFCI outlet in circuit tripped. "Loose" as in hitting another wire or ground should trip the breaker, no?
Loose as if there was no continuity between two wires. Only an afci would trip if you're lucky.
 
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Old 07-25-11, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by srs06 View Post
Relative to neutral or ground, each leg of my system is 120v. I've measured it at the box. Relative to each other, 240v but I thought that was because each leg was out of cycle with the other (+120 measured to -120 = 240). I may be wrong but I know each of my legs measures at 120 when measured to ground or neutral.
O/T Your house is supplied by a transformer with a center tapped 240v secondary. That center tap comes to the house as the neutral. 120v is derived from the center tap and one leg of the 240v. Since the center tap is grounded you will get approximately 120v if you measure between either leg of the 240v and ground.
 
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