Circuits (not all) keep failing intermittently.... :mad:

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-30-13, 01:20 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question Circuits (not all) keep failing intermittently.... :mad:

Hello all. Looking for some guidance.

I have a situation that is baffling me because it makes no sense. My home has recently started to have some circuits fail, but the breaker does not trip. The oddities are as such:
1) One of the circuits that is failing is on a new subpanel that has 7 circuit breakers on it. The other 6 circuits are fine. This is a recently (6M) added subpanel to service new appliances in our renovated kitchen. This particular circuit only has the microwave outlet on it.
2) 3 of the failing circuits are in the main panel (an old Taylor). Two are 15A, single pole circuits and the 3rd is a 40A, double pole that services our new stove. One of the 15A circuits services only lights and outlets in our kitchen and the other services lights and outlets in our livingroom and the outdoor lights.
3) After all this started to happen, I moved the circuit that is servicing our livingroom from its original breaker to a different one, that did not have a circuit on it. The intermittent failure is still happening on this circuit.

I am totally at a loss trying to figure out what is going on. I'm wondering if a degraded main service from our county may be the problem but I have no way of confirming whether or not this is the situation, or if this would in fact contribute to the problem.

I should mention what I have:
100A Main service panel
1 sub panel to service my garage (40A breaker in main)
1 sub panel to service renovated kitchen (40A breaker in main)

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-30-13, 02:46 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,280
Received 43 Votes on 35 Posts
My home has recently started to have some circuits fail, but the breaker does not trip.
Can you define "Fail" a little better. Exactly what is happening? I assume you are losing power? Do you have a meter to do some troubleshooting?
 
  #3  
Old 03-30-13, 09:00 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
All power is lost to the circuit for a period of time. The length of time that power is lost varies, from a few minutes to over an hour. Yes, I do have a meter.
 
  #4  
Old 03-30-13, 09:37 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
What are you using to test the circuits? Do you have a plug-in receptacle tester or an analog multimeter?
 
  #5  
Old 03-31-13, 07:17 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I haven't tested anything, as I'm not sure what to test. I have both a plug in receptacle tester and a multimeter.

Thanks again.
 
  #6  
Old 03-31-13, 08:15 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,280
Received 43 Votes on 35 Posts
I'd start by removing the panel cover and check the voltage across the two incoming hot legs, then each hot leg to neutral and also both hot legs to ground. Then, I'd move on to testing the voltage at the load side of the circuit breakers and more specifically the breaker in question.
 
  #7  
Old 03-31-13, 05:34 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 49
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Are any of these GFCI breakers or receptacles? Or those newer breakers that have the neutral wired to ground or whatever?
 
  #8  
Old 03-31-13, 06:57 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the reply. No, none of the circuits have GFCI breakers nor are they the newer ones you noted. Some of the breakers are the older Taylor ones, and others are brand spankin new ones from Square D. All the outlets on the newer sub panels are brand new ones too. The ones on the older main subpanel are both new replacement ones and original ones (I'm assuming as I've only lived here for the past 12 years).
 
  #9  
Old 03-31-13, 08:23 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I haven't tested anything, as I'm not sure what to test. I have both a plug in receptacle tester and a multimeter.
Test every receptacle on any circuit that's failed, while it's failed. Use the plug-in tester and let us know what you find.

This is an ideal time to start mapping your circuits onto a sketch of your floor plan, if you haven't already done that.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 04-02-13 at 01:40 PM. Reason: typo
  #10  
Old 04-02-13, 08:11 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 49
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I've thought about this a bit over the last couple days. The best thing to do is, if you had an electrician do the work for your kitchen, tell them about your issue and have them come take a look. I wouldn't mention the living room circuit until they look at the kitchen work they did.

Otherwise, to me it seems like a loose connection(s). Maybe the insulation wasn't stripped all the way back and is in the terminal.
 
  #11  
Old 04-03-13, 06:19 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I just checked the voltages at the load side of the breakers in my main panel, and all the breakers on one bus have 120 V at the connections and the ones on the other bus are less than 10. It goes without saying that all the circuits in my house on those breakers are out.

OK, upon further investigation, it seems that one of my main incoming hot legs only has 120V, the other is indicating next to nothing.

Does the issue now lie with my electrical supplier or is this something that could have been caused from the work that was done in the panel?

Thanks again for all the great feedback.
 

Last edited by IceZebra; 04-03-13 at 06:38 PM.
  #12  
Old 04-03-13, 06:40 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,280
Received 43 Votes on 35 Posts
It appears you have lost one hot leg to your main panel. Have you checked the line side of the main breaker yet? The next upstream connection is probably inside your meter socket and you probably do not have access to it. You'll need to call your power company's 24/7 emergency number to get a trouble truck out there tonight to check it out because it is more likely the problem is on their service drop or at the pole. Regardless, you'll need them to open the meter socket anyway.
 
  #13  
Old 04-03-13, 08:06 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
My local utility company has dispatched a crew to investigate, as the line side of the main breaker shows only 1 of the 2 leads with any signs of life. I have an odd setup here (40+ year old home) whereby my service comes in to my main panel directly from the road, connects to my main breaker, then goes out again to my meter, and then back in to my home's main panel. Apparently, that's the way they hooked up service back when my house was built.
 
  #14  
Old 04-03-13, 08:39 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Sounds like you're on the right track now. Let us know how it turns out.
 
  #15  
Old 04-06-13, 09:59 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 49
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Any updates?

Looks like it will be a boring end to an interesting problem.

So were all the failing circuits on the same leg? Cause it sounds like your new panel was loaded up on one leg and not the other if it has 7 circuits and only 1 was failing.
 
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
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: