Mystery electrical problem!

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Old 04-05-13, 10:43 PM
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Mystery electrical problem!

I recently remodeled my bathroom. I moved two outlets and changed them from single gang boxes to double gang boxes. I then added a GFCI outlet (ungrounded circuit) to the first receptacle in the bathroom to protect all 4. I plugged in the tester, and it showed that it was working properly. I tripped the GFCI (the outlets were still exposed so I did it for safety sake) and went to work.

So I get home from work, turn a light on in the kitchen, and the light flashes and goes out. I go upstairs and I no longer have power to the bathroom outlets (I believe they are on the same circuit).

I removed the GFCI outlet and checked the panel, and the circuit was still on. A multi-meter reads 25V at the bathroom outlets. The only item in the circuit which still works is a flood light. It's a 3 wire circuit, but I am at a loss for how to fix this mess.

I did no heavy banging and did not nail a wire, so I have no idea what could have caused this problem. I have checked everything. There are no more GFCI's in the circuit which would be tripped, and the circuit breaker is fine. An electrician came over and said most likely there is a splice in the wall somewhere and I need to find it and repair the loose wire in it.

(Note that I put a jumper wire between the hot from the working flood light at the switch to the hot of the kitchen light switch, and the light and bathroom outlets came on. I did this to verify that I have a loose hot somewhere.

Anyone know any possible solutions, other than putting holes in my walls and ceiling to find the wires?
 
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Old 04-06-13, 06:10 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Pictures are worth a lot. Would it be possible for you to de energize the circuit in question, pull the switch(es) and receptacles involved and take pictures of them and include them in this thread? The flood light is a giveaway as it is outside and should not be on the bathroom circuit. But we'll look at what you have.
 
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Old 04-06-13, 06:25 AM
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As the electrician said, there's likely a loose/disconnected connection somewhere. Most likely (and hopefully) it will be at a box, either a receptacle, switch, or fixture. You'll have to start going through all the outlets in the house and see what's on and what's off, and try to deduce where this circuit might be coming from. I would also check the attic or basement for junction boxes, my experience has been they are the cause of many bad connections when an old homeowner taps into it.

On a different note, bathrooms need a dedicated 20A circuit for the receptacles. Since you're making changes, you should run a new circuit from the panel to the bathroom for the receptacle.
 
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Old 04-06-13, 10:21 AM
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Welcome to the forums, as Chandler said!

On a different note, bathrooms need a dedicated 20A circuit for the receptacles. Since you're making changes, you should run a new circuit from the panel to the bathroom for the receptacle.
That 20A circuit can feed everything in that bathroom, including lights, exhaust fan, heat lamp, etc., so long as it doesn't feed anything outside the bathroom. From your description of the affected loads, it sounds like your system would benefit from some added circuits.
 
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