No Power in 1 Room in House

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  #1  
Old 05-23-14, 03:48 PM
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Exclamation No Power in 1 Room in House

Good Day DIYers!

I have a room in my home that was without power this morning when I got up. I also notice that one outlet in the room next to it was not working either. Here is everything that I have tried, but I still have no power. Please give me some input as I have electrician experience, but that was well over 10 years ago.

Must Know!
It is an old house. When I bought this fixer upper 2 years ago, I had to replace the aluminum wiring from breaker box into home with copper wiring. Throughout the home is still aluminum wiring.

Also, I did notice a few months ago some flickering in this room after I setup a 4 PC office in the room next door. I changed the room around to balance out the power and everything seemed fine.

1st- Immediately I checked office in next room, the power outlet on the wall the two rooms share was out. I took it off and noticed burn marks. I went and bought a new receptor and replaced. The problem persisted.

2nd- I checked all breakers with a voltage tester. All breakers tested good. From there I tested the wires coming from the junction box. Everything tested was good.

3rd- I went into the attic, I went as close to the breaker box I could and everything tested OK.

4th- In the attic I went to the junction box in office over fan fixture. The cable coming from box to powerless room did not test good. It was not hot. I proceeded to the room and took the fan down. I checked all wire nuts. All seemed to be in good condition though they looked old.

5th- I took the fan down in the powerless room. I noticed a wire nut was damaged and I replaced. This did not fix the problem.

I know that this is long but i wanted to include all details. I do not know where to go from here and I may have missed something. I am unable to afford an electrician. Any info is helpful.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-23-14, 04:18 PM
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By voltage tester did you mean a multimeter? If you meant a non contact tester then you have not yet tested for voltage in a meaningful way.
I went and bought a new receptor and replaced.
No magic parts inside a regular receptacle to go bad. If the tabs between the screws are still in place the receptacle isn't the cause of down stream failure..
 
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Old 05-23-14, 04:20 PM
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Welcome to the forums! If all the wiring is still aluminum, anything you touch must be reconnected using proper aluminum or al-cu connectors and the receptacles you use must be rated for aluminum. Locate the first receptacle in line from the panel on this run and remove it from the box. I venture to say you will find either a burned receptacle or a loose connection. Turn the power off to this circuit before you pull it from the box.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 04:24 PM
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And remember there are no wires nuts rated for aluminum to aluminum.
 
  #5  
Old 05-23-14, 04:48 PM
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I used both a non contact voltage tester in the attic around the junction box because there was no bare wire to touch. I don't have a test with a meter, but I used a contact tester in the places that I could (breaker box, junction box, receptacles, etc.)

I would love to find the problem as this fix would be applicable to other places where burnt receptacles caused power outages on a particular breaker. In the past, when I replaced the damaged receptacle with a new one and it the power was restored on the breaker. It just didn't work this time so I am trying to find out what type of things might cause this. I checked for open connections and all but nothing...
 
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Old 05-23-14, 05:31 PM
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I don't have a test with a meter, but I used a contact tester in the places that I could (breaker box, junction box, receptacles, etc.)
Then you don't know if you have power or not. What you need is a cheap ($8-$15) analog multimeter. Don't get a digital meter.

A quick way to check the breaker is to move the wire in it to to a known working breaker of the same amp rating.
In the past, when I replaced the damaged receptacle with a new one and it the power was restored
Most likely because you fixed a bad connection. To eliminate a receptacle that has two cables as the cause disconnect the cables and wire nut the wires together. (Wire nuts are okay for a short test.)

To solve this you will probably need an analog multimeter.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 06:07 PM
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I am unsure about this one. I let my wife pick out the "... prettier one." I didn't see anything different about it from the reciptacles I used and/or replaced. I do know there is an importance for using the right receptacle, though. Is there a quick way to tell? The package isn't helping.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 06:18 PM
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A quick way to check the breaker is to move the wire in it to to a known working breaker of the same amp rating.
This was the method I first used to test the questionable breaker (I didn't want to dig for my tester...). However, once I realized that I was gonna have to actually do some work, I retrieved both my testers.

Then you don't know if you have power or not. What you need is a cheap ($8-$15) analog multimeter. Don't get a digital meter.
I am assuming that just because my testers light up doesn't mean that the breaker is not testing at the required voltage (is 120v?). I can pick one of those up, I think Wal-mart may sell them. I will update soon.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 06:37 PM
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I will also get some things to do a pigtail connection. This store doesn't carry any alumninum rating receptacles.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 06:57 PM
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Probably have to go to a supply house for aluminum rated receptacles. I'd suggest side or back wired* that use pressure plated if you can find them. Old aluminum will tend to crack when you wrap them around a screw. Don't forget the anti corrosion grease. It may be you will have to pigtail copper to the aluminum using Polaris or Alcon connector.
I let my wife pick out the "... prettier one
Next time ask your wife if she wants the house to burn down? I'd bet the pretty ones are not rated for aluminum.

*Back wired not to be confused with back stabbed where the wire is just stuck in the back of the receptacle and held only by a light weight spring.

If the helpful people at BigBox try to sell you purple wire nuts for aluminum give them this URL: What's Wrong With Using Twist On Connectors For Aluminum Wire Repairs? - AlumiConn | Aluminum to Copper Electrical Connectors

Also be sure the receptacles are marked CO/ALR not CU/AL. CU/AL or older style that were just relabeled receptacles for copper wire.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-23-14 at 07:20 PM.
  #11  
Old 05-23-14, 10:28 PM
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Yes... I used alumicon for the junction box when I first moved in. I am familiar with this process. I appreciate the quick tips. I must ask, how should in test the junction where the cable stop working as there are 3 hot wires together with the multimeter. Must be honest... I am not sure how to tell which wire is a part of which cable here. More quick tips will suffice as I don't mind researching anything I am not sure of.
 
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Old 05-23-14, 11:04 PM
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When you have a circuit failure you need to identify everything on the affected circuit. Then you need to determine which items are live and which are dead. The problem can be at a working or dead device on that circuit.

You said a room was dead and a receptacle in another room. Is that all that is on that circuit ?
You may end up checking every location in the circuit.

Touch the probes to the white and black wires. If you get 120v on the meter - then check the splices visually and by moving the individual conductors.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 03:38 AM
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I lived for a time in a trailer house with Al wire . Had to replace several receptacles that burned up .

Would have rewired it in copper , but that would have meant ripping just about all the walls and ceilings out . :-(

It is often the last non dead device in the circuit .

God bless
Wyr
 

Last edited by WyrTwister; 05-24-14 at 03:58 AM.
  #14  
Old 05-25-14, 03:36 PM
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Thanks again to everyone for their help and tips. I purchased the multimeter and retested the connections. I found that at the original receptacle that was burnt up, their is not 120v output. It is just above 50v. At breaker and first junction box, it reads 120v. I am suspecting that maybe there may be a bad cable, but I am not sure what might be the issue.

Much of my knowledge is theoretical, as I do not have a lot of applicable experience in this field. I have tested all connections leading up to this one.

Also be sure the receptacles are marked CO/ALR not CU/AL. CU/AL or older style that were just relabeled receptacles for copper wire.
I still have to get to a supply store for aluminum rated receptacle. However, the results I removed the non-rated receptacle to test the voltage.

You said a room was dead and a receptacle in another room. Is that all that is on that circuit ?
You may end up checking every location in the circuit.
I have not removed the covers for all receptacles and tested the bare wires. I just inserted the pins into the socket for reading. I have taken down the ceiling fan and tested there in the powerless room as well; I didn't get a reading. Are you suggesting that I have not accurately tested each receptacle in the area and that I should remove all receptacles to be sure? I don't mind doing the work, but I was trying to work smart and not hard as time is not something that I have a lot of. (Glad it happened Memorial Day weekend, I have an extra day!) I will remove all recpetacles (As I may find more damaged ones anyway) and test bare wires.

Thank you all again!!!
 
  #15  
Old 05-25-14, 03:56 PM
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I am suspecting that maybe there may be a bad cable,
If it is bad cable you can make an educated guess it is the cable between the last working receptacle and the non working receptacle closest to it assuming the closest working receptacle has at least two cables.
  • Disconnect the working receptacle.
  • Turn the breaker on and determine which cable at the working receptacle is hot using a multimeter.
  • Turn the breaker off and and connect a switch to the black and white of the cable that is not the hot cable at the working receptacle.
  • At the non working receptacle disconnect both cables. While a helper flips the switch on and off at the working receptacle use your multimeter to see if either cable at the non working receptacle is fluctuating between continuity and open.
 
  #16  
Old 05-26-14, 06:59 AM
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I am not saying it is impossible for it to be a bad cable . And with Al wire , the possibly seems to be higher . It seems that Al wire breaks more easily than copper wire ?

Having said that , my prediction is 80% - 90% , the problem is at a device / outlet . Most likely at a receptacle , since they tend to endure higher currents than switches & lites , on the average .

Most likely at the last non-dead receptacle . And the receptacle you forgot was there . Which will usually be behind the heaviest piece of furniture in the house .

I once did a repair for a friend of my wife . In a trailer house . After removing receptacles , switches & lites all over the house , I was about to give up .

The lady said they had had this problem before ( dead circuit ) when the washing machine overflowed . Problem went away when all dried out . Overflowed again , but problem did not go away .

I crawled under the trailer & there was a receptacle under the trailer . Probably for a heat tape . And it was under the washing machine . The receptacle was corroded and burned up .

I replaced the receptacle & all was fine .

Do , these problems can be just about any where , including on the other side of the wall where Romex feeds from one box to another .t

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 05-26-14, 07:07 AM
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To add while I gave a method for testing cable I agree with Wyr that it is highly unlikely.
 
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