Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Electrical, AC & DC. Electronic Equipment and Computers > Electrical - AC & DC
Reload this Page >

Power going in but dead inside the house...at least I HOPE it's dead!

Power going in but dead inside the house...at least I HOPE it's dead!

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-11-14, 09:06 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Power going in but dead inside the house...at least I HOPE it's dead!

My Grandfather built a house in the late '40's but no one has lived in it for 20 years.
I started removing the wiring because someone broke in and took some, destroying the walls and ceiling in the process.
Out of pure stubborness, I decided to pull it just to keep their grimy, thieving hands off of it
So here's the problem, My Circuit tester lights up like a Christmas Tree outside of the house (in the pipe coming out of the ground & at the box itself....the fuses are out of the box but where they were still reads hot when I put the circuit tester in each spot)
But inside the house, the outlets, switches and wires themselves are dead (per my tester)
I have all the wiring removed w/ the exceotion of the room where the wires go thru the wall to the box.
So.......am I safe taking that wire or could there be power in the wires coming out of the box?
I don't see how there could be if there wasn't any power in the rest of the wiring but I'd really rather not find out the hard way.
Thanks and I hope that made sense.
I can take pictures if
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-11-14, 09:59 AM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 235
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
House Power

If the house is supplied from another building I would go to that location and disconnect the supply. If the house has a meter and utility feed I would call the utility and have the service disconnected. If the fuses are removed the conductors on the load side should be deenergized. Using a wiggie type tester will give you a better result than an LED type tester. Again if the structure is not being used and the wiring removed, I would disconnect all power to the building.
 
  #3  
Old 03-11-14, 12:08 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I called the power company before I touched anything.
The lady I talked to said their S.O.P. would have been to disconnect power to the old house when they connected the 2nd residence in '97.
She asked how many meters I saw (1) and said that indicated there's only power to 1 residence.
Apparently she was guessing because the 1st wire I started to cut (outside the house) went zzzzzZZZZzzzzzz
I don't know how the hell it didn't fry my a** It took a chunk out of the box cutter blade!
I'm pretty sure the power to all three buildings is tied in together (There's a detached garage)
Stupid question.....which side is the load side? At 1st I assumed it was where the power loads in....then thought maybe it's being loaded inside???
I have a Greenlee GT-11 detector.....I wouldn't consider it an led but don't know what a wiggie is so...???? I'm going to turn off the power @ the only breaker box I've found and see if that shut's everything off
Btw, I did test the outlets/switches w/ the volt detector AND I plugged something into the outlets to make sure there was no power....then went to cut the outside wire and zzzzzaaaapppppp!!
 
  #4  
Old 03-11-14, 01:34 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
I called the power company before I touched anything.
If you called Customer Service you called the wrong number and the information can't be trusted. You need to call the emergency service number and ask a truck be sent out to verify there is no power at the house.
I have a Greenlee GT-11 detector
Not accurate enough to be safe for this purpose. You need a multimeter, preferably analog, or a solenoid tester (Wiggy). An $8-$15 analog multimeter will work well for this.

Could you post pictures of the fuse box, the meter, and wiring in the garage. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...-pictures.html
 
  #5  
Old 03-11-14, 01:53 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 5 Votes on 5 Posts
One thing to do is stop cutting wires until you are dead sure the power has been removed. Arbitrarily cutting the wires is dangerous. The analog meter will be invaluable for now and future use. As ray said, pictures would be super to help us help you.
 
  #6  
Old 03-11-14, 04:00 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
To add I never heard of cutting wires with a box cutter though I suspect you were actually using a utility knife (box cuter is a holder for a single edge razor blade). When you do cut wires use a pair of diagonal cutters or a pair of linesman pliers with UL listed insulation on the handles even if your sure the wire is dead. You should also keep one hand in your pocket when cutting the wire.
 
  #7  
Old 03-11-14, 04:22 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
f you called Customer Service you called the wrong number and the information can't be trusted. You need to call the emergency service number and ask a truck be sent out to verify there is no power at the house.


I guess my mistake was assuming that Customer Service would be smart enough not to guess I thought if they weren't sure, they'd get me to someone who was sure.....my bad I shouldn't have assumed she knew what she was talking about.
She did mention sending someone out but since it wasn't an emergency or problem w/ their equipment, they would've charged me as much as if I hired an electrician.
Yeah I know, if I'd gotten zapped, I would have wished I'd spent the money.

As far as not cutting wires until I know they r dead for sure, yeah Lesson learned w/ the only harm done to my pride and it scared the bejeezus out of me
In my defense (and yes, it's a sad, dipstick defense) When I first started, the outlets had power A friend came by, fiddled w/ it and said it was off.....I plugged my drill into an outlet & got nothin so my silly a** thought it was all good
And I wasn't cutting the wire w/ a box cutter, I was cutting thru the pvc type tube to get to the wires Wasn't concerned about hitting the wire tho cuz I thought it was dead....still dumb but not AS dumbs as cutting wire w/ it.
I'm going out to take pics now....I can figure that out but how do u quote part of someones post?
 
  #8  
Old 03-11-14, 04:49 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The first 3 pictures are of the box outside the house, the fuses (not sure that's the right terminology??) and where the wires go into the ground from the box.
The last 2 are the box outside the pump house and where those go into the ground.
Inside the door of that box, the breakers are labeled, 'House' 'Pump House' and 'Garage'
There's another box that controls the house that was built in the late '90's.
I'm heading to the store to buy a multimeter...Is there anything in particular I should look for in a multimeter? A specific brand or application?
And thanks to all for helping me stay UNcrispy
 
Attached Images      
  #9  
Old 03-11-14, 04:52 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The pics are in the opposite order than I thought they'd be but since u guys know electricity, u should know what's what....unlike certain dipsticks who try to fry themselves w/ a boxcutter
 
  #10  
Old 03-11-14, 06:06 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Need the covers removed from the boxes so we can see the wiring inside.
I'm heading to the store to buy a multimeter...Is there anything in particular I should look for in a multimeter? A specific brand or application?
A cheap analog not digital $8-$15 multimeter.

Name:  Quoting.jpg
Views: 252
Size:  44.3 KB
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-11-14 at 06:39 PM.
  #11  
Old 03-11-14, 08:09 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Well hell You said preferably analog The digital was $6 cheaper so I bought the digital.
I can exchange it tomorrow.
I'm such a tard....didn't even think about you needing to see the wiring
When u give me instructions, talk slowly and use small words!!
There must be an "Electricity for Dummies" out...then again, it'd only b one page that said, "Put the box cutter down and back away slowly. Dummy"
I'm not sure when I'll be able to take the pics u need I'll try to do it in the a.m. before work but 99% of the time I'm flyin out the door w/ moments to spare.
Thanks again
 
  #12  
Old 03-11-14, 08:47 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
The digital is okay you just have to be sure the battery is good and allow for the occasional false reading due to induced voltages.
 
  #13  
Old 03-11-14, 10:04 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Went ahead & took the pics tonight since I know better than to think I'll do it in the morning.
These are the 'innards' of both boxes.....hope they show what u need.
And I've read the Multimeter 'manual' (I use the term loosely) It is written for people who know what the heck they're doin which is, obviously, not me.....but I'm gonna look online for some instructions that are dumbed down
I'm starting to think I'm destined to end up (I know it's the mad as he** icon but it looks like someone bursting into flames)
 
Attached Images     
  #14  
Old 03-12-14, 08:46 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Name:  IMG_20140311_204035.jpg
Views: 232
Size:  31.5 KB

Name:  IMG_20140311_203703.jpg
Views: 226
Size:  35.8 KB .
 
  #15  
Old 03-12-14, 06:56 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'm confused...Doesn't turning the breakers off cut the power? If they r on, there will definitely be voltage right? So am I checking the level of the voltage?
I know that's probably a dumb question but I think it's obvious that I know next to nothing about electricity.
And here's a pic of the multimeter I bought....I know, it looks like a toy but it was only 9 bucks....what setting do I use and what should the display read?
 
Attached Images  
  #16  
Old 03-12-14, 07:32 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
In the breaker panel the two lugs I indicated should be power in. However here is a very slight chance it is being back fed from some where else. You want the breakers on so you can detect that. If it is hot I would expect to see approximately 120-240 volts.

Name:  IMG_20140312_184136030.jpg
Views: 238
Size:  37.3 KB
 
  #17  
Old 03-12-14, 08:59 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Here is a shot of the instructions from my multimeter....it shows the leads going in opposite to what u said....are the instructions wrong or does the position of the leads depend on the application??
It's kind of scary if they r wrong.
And thank u SO much for ur help & patience
 
Attached Images  
  #18  
Old 03-13-14, 03:36 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 5 Votes on 5 Posts
Sissy, ray may have the leads backwards, but it doesn't matter with alternating current. Swap them like your instructions say, set the meter as Ray stated. You should be good.
 
  #19  
Old 03-13-14, 04:10 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
What Chandler said. Either way is okay on AC.
 
  #20  
Old 03-16-14, 08:33 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I tested both boxes twice...the 1st time, the display bounced between 240 & 243....the 2nd time, between 237 & 240, occasionally jumping to 243 I'm really confused tho...I was already 99.% sure the wires going in were hot What I want to know is if the power stops there Now, like I said, I don't know diddley about electricity so tell me if I'm completely missing somethin.....since the wiring has been pulled from every other room in the house except the room where the power comes in, wouldn't that indicate there is nothing live inside? Or..... is it possible that the wires coming out of the box r hot?
That doesn't seem likely but it's y I'm checking 1st.....
 
  #21  
Old 03-16-14, 08:40 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 5 Votes on 5 Posts
If you tested between the terminals Ray said to, and you are getting volts 240 volts+/-, then the circuits are hot to that point. If all the breakers/fuses are off and/or removed, you have no voltage beyond. Stay away from the two terminals in the boxes, as they are always hot. Have you tested any of the other wiring? This can quickly turn into a Non-DIY project really quickly. I would endeavor to find where each box gets its power and remove the power to the boxes so you can work on it.
 
  #22  
Old 03-16-14, 10:59 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 32
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks to all for your help.
I was pretty sure it was safe to pull the wire inside the house since I've already pulled 90% of it out but being so close to the box made me nervous.
Now just to be clear, u said if I tested BETWEEN the terminals....I put the tips of the leads right on the screws where Rays arrows pointed.....that was the right way right?? Probably a dumb question.
And how do u ever know for sure that the power stops @ the box? Is there a way to use a multimeter (or some other tool?) To check the wires that come from the box to outlets/switches etc?
 
  #23  
Old 03-16-14, 11:29 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 5 Votes on 5 Posts
If you have been pulling cables all this time and haven't arc'd out yet, the circuits are dead. You went about it backwards. You started at the receptacles and switches and should have make the fuse/breaker box the first stop. You will use the multimeter in the same manner, black lead to the neutral and red lead to the black wire. You should be receiving 120 volts if they are live, which I doubt. Have you found where these two boxes receive their power, yet??
 
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: