Power going out intermittently - breaker not tripping

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  #1  
Old 07-25-13, 10:48 AM
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Power going out intermittently - breaker not tripping

about a third of our home goes out intermittently. Power goes out and comes back without tripping the breaker. Resetting breaker does not always bring power back. Power goes out for a few minutes to as long as several hours.

One of the light fixtures and a switch were rewired in the area where the problem lies. Could a loose connection cause these problems?
 
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Old 07-25-13, 02:03 PM
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One of the light fixtures and a switch were rewired in the area where the problem lies. Could a loose connection cause these problems?
Not only can it, it is likely to. Work on one fixture and one switch should not affect a third of a house, but you also say "Resetting breaker" as though it's limited to one circuit. Is it?
 
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Old 07-25-13, 05:06 PM
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First thing I would do is call the power company to have them check there side.
If your loosing power to one leg of the incoming power or it's a loose neutral it can take out anything in the house that's plugged in.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 05:27 PM
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I may have overstated the percentage of house that goes out. portions of three bedrooms and the bathroom. All on the same circuit. Bathroom is where switch and fixture were worked on.

Power company has checked out their side. They of course say the problem is on our end.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 05:43 PM
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Power company... say the problem is on our end.
They're right; it is:
portions of three bedrooms and the bathroom. All on the same circuit.
and here's the probable cause:
Bathroom is where switch and fixture were worked on.
Did you do the work or have someone else do it? Are you planning to troubleshoot this yourself?
 
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Old 07-25-13, 06:10 PM
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I did the work with the guidance of a electrician friend of mine. I plan to check for loose connections and see if this solves the problem.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 07:03 PM
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I plan to check for loose connections and see if this solves the problem.
I wish you success. Check the neutral connections particularly carefully, because a loose neutral can cause the hot side to start to fry things. Not a good scenario.

As you do it, feel free to come back and ask us about anything that seems puzzling if you need to. And if you haven't read Troubleshooting a dead receptacle or light... yet, you might find some useful tips there.
 
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Old 07-26-13, 07:48 PM
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reconnected all wirenuts in the light fixture and the problem remains. Learned while doing this that another circuit in the kitchen is also doing this. Electrician scheduled.
 
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Old 07-26-13, 08:50 PM
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reconnected all wirenuts in the light fixture and the problem remains.
How did everything look at the switch?

Learned while doing this that another circuit in the kitchen is also doing this. Electrician scheduled.
OK. It may be a problem in your panel or meter.

What are the numbers of the two circuits with the problem?
 
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Old 07-26-13, 09:03 PM
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Unfortunately, they are not numbered or labeled very well. But I would say the kitchen is #2 (from top) and other #5 (from top).
 
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Old 07-26-13, 09:09 PM
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aibarra

What I would do to save time and money is to go to your main breaker box (preferably in the daytime) and look at the wiring. If you know a little bit about electricity or have some electrical experience, you can go one step further. Before you turn the main breaker off to the entire house get a safety person to standby just in case with instructions. Not trying to scare you but it is always good to have someone close by. Get a multimeter and make sure all the power is off by going to the individual house circuits, then start checking all the ground wires and neutral wires are snug on the terminal bar with an insulated screw driver. Finally, after making sure they are all snug and tight, check the hot (black wires) going to the individual circuit breakers. Again use a multimeter to make sure the power is off (no voltage present) and check the side of the wire going to your house circuit. If you don't feel confident or comfortable doing it yourself then by all means get an electrician.
 
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Old 07-26-13, 09:48 PM
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I did not check the switch yet. Will do that next .


The power company did notice the connections were corroded. Had the entire box cleaned and checked and the problem went away temporarily, then returned a couple days later and has gotten progressively worse, with power staying off for several hours at a time.
 
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Old 07-26-13, 10:24 PM
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I would say the kitchen is #2 (from top) and other #5 (from top).
Standard NEMA numbering is odd numbers on the left and even numbers on the right, increasing from top to bottom. Like this:

1 - 2
3 - 4
5 - 6
7 - 8

and so on. Each number is assigned to one standard (1" high) breaker space.

What are the numbers if you use that pattern, and what is the make and model of your panel?
 
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Old 07-27-13, 09:20 AM
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There are a couple numbers listed

model JA110S
model JA110F
model 2, type r



circuit numbers 1 and 9
 
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Old 07-27-13, 09:35 AM
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Thanks, but who made the panel?

In most panels the hot buses are built so that circuits 1 and 9 are on the same leg of the service. You may have a problem with the feeder for that leg.

Circuits 5, 13 and 17 would also be on that leg. On the right side the circuits would be 2, 6, 10, 14, etc. Are any of those having problems?
 
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Old 07-27-13, 10:19 AM
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Murray

Only these 2 circuits are out. No problems with even numbered circuits.
 
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Old 07-27-13, 09:12 PM
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Murray

Only these 2 circuits are out. No problems with even numbered circuits.
Then the problem is likely either in wiring out in the house or, if it's in the panel, no further back than the connections for those circuits.

Have you reworked the switch yet?

BTW, I just realized that based on your first description:
I would say the kitchen is #2 (from top) and other #5 (from top).
I was expecting you to say circuits 3 and 9, using standard numbering, not 1 and 9. I'm guessing you checked the panel before posting the second answer and that's the correct information. Right?

Also, which circuit in your kitchen is showing problems? Is the lights or something else?
 
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Old 07-28-13, 10:22 PM
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They should be #1 and #9. There are eight on the left, eight on the right. #1 at the top left is the dedicated plug for the stove and refrigerator.

The bedrooms are on the 5th circuit from the top on the left side. I will try to post a picture tomorrow.

I did check the switch and it seemed okay, but when the power came back on today all of the bedrooms came back but the bathroom didn't. I may have disturbed something inside the switch box or the switch is bad or failing. I bought a new switch today. I will see if a new one makes a difference.
 
  #19  
Old 08-01-13, 08:53 PM
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Electrician was here today and as Naskat1 suspected, something was going on at the box. Apparently the box was installed with a load imbalance (one side of the bus was overloaded which caused one of the breakers to wear down(arcing?) and the contracts were corroded. Electrician cleaned up the contacts and now everything is back up and working.

Glad we called in a pro, I would have never found this.

Thanks for all the advice.
 
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