Entire house has power but nothing is working...

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-19-12, 06:18 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Exclamation Entire house has power but nothing is working...

Ok so me and my fiance were in the basement replumbing the house when his sister who lives on the other half(a duplex) came over to let us know all of her power had gone out. My fiance went to look at the breaker box and the door shocked him. All of the breakers are on and meters are reading it has electricity, the same with all of the outlets/lights in that side of the house, they have power but nothing works. The only room that was working was the bathroom and we found a glade plugin smoking in it and the light was on and we went to do something else and came back and the light was off. I could understand there being an issue with just 1 or 2 outlets but the whole half of the house is out! Any ideas?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-19-12, 06:38 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Sounds like you have lost your neutral connecion. Use your main breaker to turn off all power to prevent more damage and call an electrician.
 
  #3  
Old 03-19-12, 06:40 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
me and my fiance were in the basement replumbing the house when his sister who lives on the other half(a duplex) came over to let us know all of her power had gone out
I have a wild idea. I am guessing you have an open neutral at the service and the service neutral is grounded to a cold water pipe. I am also guessing that as you are working on the plumbing, you removed a section of pipe that has interrupted the ground connection. If this is right, the service was using the ground as the neutral and once the ground was also opened, nothing any longer works.
 
  #4  
Old 03-19-12, 06:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 4
The side we are plumbing is on a seperate breaker altogether, seperate side as well. We are thinking maybe removing one of the pipes we may have skimmed and exposed a line from the other side? The other side of the house has no plumbing though so we don't know whats going on
 
  #5  
Old 03-19-12, 06:53 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
His sister lives in the other side of the duplex that has electric, but no plumbing? Is there an outhouse in the back yard? I didn't know there were many homes left in this country in the 21st century with no plumbing.
 
  #6  
Old 03-19-12, 06:58 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
Open Neutral.
...................................
 
  #7  
Old 03-19-12, 07:05 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
The side we are plumbing is on a seperate breaker altogether, seperate side as well.
The open neutral would be on the electric service that feeds the other side where his sister lost lights and power, not the side you are working on. That being said, it would be pretty common to have just one city water feed for both sides and it is also pretty common for both electric services to be grounded to the cold water piping. Did you remove a section of the cold water line just before the power went out?
 
  #8  
Old 03-20-12, 04:24 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,280
Glade Recall

The only room that was working was the bathroom and we found a glade plugin smoking in it
Did this give you a hint? There was a recall on Glade Plugins.
 
  #9  
Old 03-20-12, 05:11 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,671
You need to call the power companies emergency number and tell them you think you have an open neutral.
 
  #10  
Old 03-20-12, 05:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 4
CasualJoe we just bought the house, apparently the other half hasn't even been used in over 60 years. I don't know why there is no plumbing on that side unless it was removed when this side was updated but it is gone. We share the one bathroom in the house that works since both sides are opened up to each other.

We discovered something else weird last night as well. While doing the plumbing shortly after the power went out on the other half one of the plumbing pipes shocked me. We discovered all of our heating ducts and water pipes were electrically charged. We believe it has been like that for some time though not just last night because there have been numerous occassions that we had breakers off on the hot water tank and still getting a slight shock while working on it. We used a tester on the heating ducts and tripped breakers to find out that the one that was charging the pipes and ducts was on his sisters side as well.
 
  #11  
Old 03-20-12, 06:25 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,671
If the power company finds nothing wrong on their side of the meter you need to call an electrician immediately. This not a DIY project because of the potential danger. I would suggest staying with friends or at a hotel till it can be corrected. It takes only a small amount of electric to kill.
 
  #12  
Old 03-20-12, 01:12 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,280
Breaker Off

breakers off on the hot water tank and still getting a slight shock while working on it.
As you may already know, turning off he breaker only disconnects the hot wire(s) on the circuit. Any neutrals and grounds remain connected.
 
  #13  
Old 03-20-12, 03:25 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,987
This is late, but if you haven't yet: CALL THE POWER COMPANY! They will check their side for free and 24/7. Tell them you are getting shocked by anything metal in your house. I'm sure they will be there in less than 1/2 hour.
 
  #14  
Old 03-20-12, 04:22 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
We discovered something else weird last night as well. While doing the plumbing shortly after the power went out on the other half one of the plumbing pipes shocked me.
I figured as much yesterday, but was hesitant to ask. My wild guess could be pretty close to right. I am guessing you removed a pipe that opened the circuit to ground and the lights went out. That still leaves voltage on what remains of the water piping.
 
  #15  
Old 03-20-12, 04:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Ok so after reading all of the posts this morning about calling the power company I called and they showed up like 20 mins later. After looking at the wires they said that it is the neutral outside of the house. Water leaked into the outside box and the guy said when water hits the aluminum wire it just disintegrates. He said it had run down the wire and into the breaker box inside and that the whole service needs replaced and upon leaving took the meter with him, said that he couldn't risk something happening by leaving it on. The side we are on is on a total different service so we don't have to worry about that just now we have to share this side with his sister since she obviously can't stay on the other side now. My fiance worked in an apartment complex for 10 years doing maintenance so he has installed services and rewired quite a bit so he is going to just rewire the other side over again, upgrade the service to a better one and just basically redo that whole side. As for a ground wire turns out there never was one since we bought the house. For us to get the appraisal they had to fix a few things and in the process had cut the ground at the breaker box.
 
  #16  
Old 03-20-12, 04:45 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,671
Glad you found the problem before someone got hurt. Thanks for letting us know.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'