Weird electrical issue.

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  #1  
Old 10-17-11, 06:35 AM
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Weird electrical issue.

I have what appears to be 1 circuit giving me problems. My basement lights, 1 overhead light in the kitchen, my dishwasher, and my exhaust fan in the kitchen randomly stop working. This started last year. I poked around a little and was just getting ready to call an electrician and they came back. That lasted a month or so and then it happened a second time, waited a few days, then it came back and hasn't been a problem for at least 6 months. Now it's happening again. There are two banks of switches affected and on both banks it's 2 of the 3 switches that don't work. Plus the dishwasher.

I'm really just asking where to even start looking for the problem? It makes no sense since I know for a fact that the two overhead lights in the kitchen are wired together, but one works and one doesn't.

Any thoughts?
 
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  #2  
Old 10-17-11, 06:41 AM
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Are they all on the same breaker or different breakers?
 
  #3  
Old 10-17-11, 07:06 AM
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I'm not 100% sure. I can try and check tonight. I do know that resetting the breaker/s doesn't fix it though. And also the load on the circuit doesn't change either.
 
  #4  
Old 10-17-11, 08:08 PM
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Start at the panel. With that many things being affected it likely starts close to home.
 
  #5  
Old 10-17-11, 08:51 PM
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Sounds like you have a grounding bar issue inside the circuit breaker panel.
 
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Old 10-17-11, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by RICLIN View Post
Sounds like you have a grounding bar issue inside the circuit breaker panel.
No, it would not be a ground bar but it may be a loose neutral.
 
  #7  
Old 10-18-11, 06:37 AM
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Ok, checked this morning. As far as I can tell it is not a single breaker. I've tested the one breaker I know is involved and it's reading normal, 120v. The problem I'm having is that much of the wiring involved is behind walls thus making it very difficult to get to. There is one possible problem area. I had a contractor come in to install a dishwasher a few years ago. He used a junction in the basement and did a really half ass job with it. I haven't been able to get to is to test it thoroughly yet though.

Any other thoughts/suggestions? I'll be testing the junction tonight or tomorrow depending on work.
 
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Old 10-18-11, 09:30 AM
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You mention a loose neutral, where should I start?
 
  #9  
Old 10-18-11, 06:27 PM
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It sounds like you have a loose connection somewhere in the path. If you think the junction box is the issue, start there. Open it up and (carefully) see if there's anything loose. If it's not there, you'll have to try another junction. With it affecting so many things, it should be pretty close to the main breaker box.

Unfortunately, there's no secret formula to find it. Think about how the original electricians would run the wire from the breaker box to the fixtures. It'll at least give you a path to start with.

Good luck - and who knows what else you might find along the way!
 
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Old 10-18-11, 07:34 PM
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Unless there is a splice buried in the wall, it will not be in the wall. It will be in a receptacle or switch box or junction box. I would start at the box that was done half assed.
 
  #11  
Old 10-19-11, 05:36 PM
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Thanks guys. I appreciate the help. It magically came back on so for now I'll leave it. I'll dig into it this weekend when I have more time.
 
  #12  
Old 10-19-11, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rob989_69 View Post
Thanks guys. I appreciate the help. It magically came back on
Did you have a strong breeze today. Is the feed to your panel a drop from a pole?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
  #13  
Old 10-19-11, 06:19 PM
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Personally, I'd be a bit concerned that it came back on by itself. It likely means you have a loose connection somewhere. The problem with loose connections is that they can create excess heat... which isn't a good thing.

I'd suggest looking around and seeing if you can find the loose connection. It'll help you sleep better at night.
 
  #14  
Old 10-20-11, 01:01 PM
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We have had high winds recently. And yes, the main line comes in from the pole, but we're only having issues on this one circuit.

I'm going to check it out tonight.
 
  #15  
Old 10-20-11, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by rob989_69 View Post
We have had high winds recently. And yes, the main line comes in from the pole, but we're only having issues on this one circuit.
I'd still call the emergency number for the power company and tell them you have power problems when the wind blows. I would not mention it seems to be one circuit. Lets be sure it isn't on their side first.
 
  #16  
Old 10-24-11, 06:27 AM
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Alright, power company came out, nothing wrong into the house. The power went out again this weekend and there was no wind this time. I checked the junction I thought was the culprit and no joy. Everything in there is nice and tight. The one common factor is this always happens when we run the dishwasher, but not every time we run it. The dishwasher is wired into the junction I thought was the problem, is there a chance it's the dishwashers wiring that's loose or causing the problem?
 
  #17  
Old 10-24-11, 06:40 AM
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is there a chance it's the dishwashers wiring that's loose or causing the problem?
It can't be ruled out till you check it. Remove and replace any wire nuts. If you reuse the existing wire nuts check inside them for corrosion and that the spring is intact.
 
  #18  
Old 10-24-11, 04:26 PM
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I was helping brother-in-law look for a problem very similar to this one about 10 years ago. What I found was a junction box with all connections wirenutted and tight, but I also found when taking apart the connections that 2 #14 conductors had been pre-twisted too tightly and one of the #14 conductors had actually broken from the aggressive pre-twisting. The broken conductor was just outside of the compression of the wire nut. Once the splice was repaired, there were no more problems and none since. Bottom line is this, if you think all connections are tight, take them apart and reinstall the wire nut again to be sure you have good connections.
 
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