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Losing power to all bedrooms and bathrooms after plugging in drill

Losing power to all bedrooms and bathrooms after plugging in drill

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  #1  
Old 10-09-13, 10:21 PM
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Losing power to all bedrooms and bathrooms after plugging in drill

Hello.

First time poster,

I'm in search of some help.

I just got my first home. In one of the back bedrooms I am setting up my computer office. When I plugged in my electric drill it wouldn't work after a few min. My drill has a light on the plug that shows when it has power. When I plug it into the wall outlet, the light on the drill turns on, but when I squeeze the trigger the light goes off and the drill won't work.

Now ALL the outlets in both bathrooms, all 3 rooms won't work.

The first time this happened it corrected itself somehow and all the wall outlets worked again after about 40 min. Tonight it did the same thing but they all have not worked yet and it's been over an hour.

What could be causing this issue?

I checked the circuit breaker and nothing is off.

What would cause this problem? My house was built in the 1960's and a lot of the outlets are the old no ground outlets were the white and black wires going to the outlet push into the back of the plug.

I am looking for any help before I spend a ton of money on an electrician,

Thank you
 
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  #2  
Old 10-09-13, 11:57 PM
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All it takes is one loose wire in those back stabbed outlets to loose power to all of them down stream.
#1 Go buy a real volt/ohm meter.
#2 Shut off the breaker to that circuit and test to make sure there's no power and change all of them to the screws on the side of the outlet.
DO not be tempted to switch out the outlet to three prongs. It's against code to do so.
What you can do though is change it to a GFI outlet. Still not going to be grounded, but will prevent getting shocked if there's a short.
 
  #3  
Old 10-10-13, 12:07 AM
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Lost power to outlets

From what you describe it sounds like you have a neutral (GCC) that has failed at one of the receptacles on the circuit. If you have no ground at your receptacles you can use a two wire voltage tester that has an led lamp which are available at any hardware store. Just hold one lead in your hand and check the receptacle to see if it is energized. Then use both leads to check the receptacle, if the neutral is not working the light will not come on. Open neutrals are sometimes hard to locate since you don't know the circuit routing. You will probably have to check several receptacles to find the bad one. Usually the one that is bad will test out OK because the neutral is open on the load side of that receptacle but the line side is still working. The only other thing I can think of is if your have GFCI receptacles in one of the bath rooms that has tripped, but if the home is wired per code, the bed rooms should not be on the same circuit as the bath room receptacles......but that does not mean it has never been done.
 
  #4  
Old 10-10-13, 12:13 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

where the white and black wires going to the outlet push into the back of the plug.
That would be the problem. With time, age, and use ... the push in contacts have loosened up. They are making contact but as soon as you connect a load they can't carry the extra load.

Back bedroom and two bathrooms on one circuit Circuits were wired differently back in the 60's. Now the bathrooms are usually separate and don't share with any other rooms.

To fix your current issue.... you need to determine which circuit you are having problems with. Identify which receptacles on that circuit are live and which are dead. Ideally you would want to replace them all with new two prong receptacles. If the house was wired in BX (metal jacket) you may be able to install 3 prong receptacles.

What needs to be done is that the old device gets removed. The two white wires are connected together along with a 6" piece of wire called a tail and that tail will go to the receptacle. You will do the same thing with the black wires. The splice will take the load of the circuit instead of the receptacle.

While you have the receptacles out.... look in the back of the box and see it you can tell what type of cable it's wired in. You can also look at the panel and see what type of cable leaves there.
 
  #5  
Old 10-10-13, 07:46 AM
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if the home is wired per code, the bed rooms should not be on the same circuit as the bath room receptacles
That would be today's code, but this house was built and wired in the 60s when having bathrooms and bedrooms on the same circuit was not a code issue.

All it takes is one loose wire in those back stabbed outlets to loose power to all of them down stream.
I think the backstabbed connections is where you'll find your problem. I'd go through all the dead receptacles and change the wires to the scews to fix this problem and then do the same on all other receptacles in the house to prevent further problems.
 
  #6  
Old 10-10-13, 08:43 AM
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When I go home today I will replace all the wall outlets to the new side screw ones.

What is the name of the tool to test the outlet to see if its bad?

Also, what kind of outlet do I need if I need to replace some with 3 prong instead of 2? Since I have no ground wire .

You all have been a lot of help and I will post back once I'm off work and replace all of the wall outlets.
 
  #7  
Old 10-10-13, 08:59 AM
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What is the name of the tool to test the outlet to see if its bad?
What ray says in post #8

Also, what kind of outlet do I need if I need to replace some with 3 prong instead of 2? Since I have no ground wire .
You can install a 15 amp GFCI outlet and then protect all downstream 3 prong outlets connected to the load side of the GFCI device. When you do this, you must use the enclosed stickers to mark each 3 prong device with no actual ground wire "No Equipment Ground".
 

Last edited by CasualJoe; 10-10-13 at 09:10 AM. Reason: I goofed
  #8  
Old 10-10-13, 09:00 AM
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What is the name of the tool to test the outlet to see if its bad?
The best tool is a cheap analog multimeter. (Cheap digitals can be influenced by induced voltage.) They make a plug in tester but it can give misleading results. An analog multimeter can be bought for less than $20 and have many uses.
 
  #9  
Old 10-11-13, 08:42 AM
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Thank you everyone for your help. I changed out all my old 2 prong outlets with 3 prong.

Also when my dad and I looked in the breaker and the wire going to the switch that controlled that whole circuit was so corroded that when we turned off the main switch and touched the wire it just broke off. So we cut it down past all the corroded copper and got a new switch and put it in.

Power is working fine and strong. So I think we corrected the issue.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
 
  #10  
Old 10-11-13, 09:39 AM
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I changed out all my old 2 prong outlets with 3 prong.
So, did you find you had a grounded system after all or did you just install 3 wire grounding type receptacles on a non-grounded system?
 
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