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No lights in multiple rooms after power surge - breaker didn't trip.

No lights in multiple rooms after power surge - breaker didn't trip.

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  #1  
Old 06-17-14, 12:16 PM
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No lights in multiple rooms after power surge - breaker didn't trip.

My home was built mid-50's in Indiana. It has breaker boxes, and copper wire but no grounds or GFCIs. All the 4 bedrooms, halls, living and kitchen lights (not appliances) are on the same breaker. This past weekend I had plugged in a power washer in the inside of the house - everything was moving along fine for a few minutes. My daughter who was in the bathroom said the lights were flickering, she heard a pop and they cut out. With this surge it did not trip the breaker, rather cut the lighting in the bathroom light (but not bathroom exhaust fan?), one bedroom and living room, every other room still has power. We have pulled all the living, bedroom and bathroom plugs to find out if power is being blocked but everything looks good. We've also switched out the double-light switch in the bathroom, and the outlet where the power washer was plugged in, even though both appeared to not be blow up. I find it strange that we can get power to the bathroom exhaust fan (which is on the same circuit breaker as the light), but not the light (separate fixture) and they share a dual switch. We’ve also taken the light fixture in the bathroom off and it looks fine, too. We had an electrician come out and he seemed stumped and couldn’t even give a price. He just kept saying, there’s a problem with your white wire and we’ll have to run a new white wire. Any other ideas what may be happening and where we should check?
 
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Old 06-17-14, 12:58 PM
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So you have an open neutral according to the electrician. Are any of the receptacles or switches back stabbed? If so move the wires to the screws (not relevant to most GFCI because they are back wired not back stabbed). Have you looked for the mystery GFCI inside, outside, in the attic, in the basement, in the garage, the one hidden behind something that hasn't been moved in years? Have you removed all wire nuts and redone the connections either with new wire nuts or the old ones after inspecting the inside for corrosion?

Do you have a multimeter, preferably analog?
 
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Old 06-17-14, 05:19 PM
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With this surge it did not trip the breaker, rather cut the lighting in the bathroom light (but not bathroom exhaust fan?), one bedroom and living room, every other room still has power.
Surge? What surge? What makes you think you had a surge? The electrician might be right, an open neutral, but testing would confirm it.

We had an electrician come out and he seemed stumped and couldn’t even give a price.
There is no way to give a price for a service call when no one knows what the problem is for sure till it is found. He should have given you an hourly service rate.
 
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Old 06-17-14, 06:08 PM
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Try these steps. Your "electrician" should have known these steps.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ther-info.html
 
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Old 06-17-14, 07:37 PM
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Thanks for your feedback. I guess we will start with going back though the receptacles and switches and rechecking connections before we call someone else out. None of them are back stabbed. Also do not have a multimeter.

Surge may not have been the correct word. He did minimal testing, was very friendly but didn't really seem like he wanted to bother. He also didn't give any hourly rate. He didn't even charge for the trip out and he spent a good hour trying to figure it out.
 
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Old 06-18-14, 04:30 AM
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Sounds like you called a crappy "electrician". Any sparky worth his keep could have fixed this issue in 10 minutes and you wouldn't have to be posting about it here.

This so called electrician was smart in one regard... he didn't charge you. For if he did and otherwise fouled up the situation, he would be held accountable. Did this gentlemen give you an invoice showing what he "tested" or disassembled during his free visit?

Perhaps there is more to the story, because any real tradesmen wouldn't be spending time at a persons house troubleshooting for free.

Please call a real electrician, Im sure your problem will be corrected for nothing more than a 1 hour service call. Good luck.
 
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Old 06-18-14, 06:07 AM
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Sounds like you called a crappy "electrician". Any sparky worth his keep could have fixed this issue in 10 minutes and you wouldn't have to be posting about it here.
I don't think I'd necessarily agree with this blanket statement. I can think of several reasons why this guy didn't find the problem or was happy to bow out with no charges to the OP. Not all electricians are excellent diagnosticians, many have done nothing but new work for their entire careers. It is also possible that you had a service manager or estimator come to your home and knew he didn't have the required manpower to staff your service call promptly because they were already loaded with a waiting list for service work. Don't get discouraged, try calling some smaller companies with a brief description of your problem and ask if they can send someone out to troubleshoot and solve your problem. Ask for service rates when you call.
 
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Old 06-18-14, 07:42 AM
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Finding this problem could be an Easter egg hunt that could take awhile to find. I agree that it sounds like they did not know how to troubleshoot. At least it didn't cost you anything.
 
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