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Dangerous to leave tripped GFIs that won't reset for a week?

Dangerous to leave tripped GFIs that won't reset for a week?

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  #1  
Old 03-08-15, 01:29 PM
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Dangerous to leave tripped GFIs that won't reset for a week?

I have a lot of outlets that are not working as of last night. I have gone over the circuit breaker box and all the GFI receptacles and tried to fix it. Last time this happened it was due to a GFI in the kitchen. When I reset that the other outlets started working again. This was a few months ago.

QUESTION:
I'm supposed to go out of town in a couple of days for about 5 days. Is there a possibility of fire or anything if I leave it until I get back in town? (I am not going to DIY any electrical issues since I'm not ready to die yet , I would have to call someone)

PROBLEM/DESCRIPTION:
The kitchen GFI that fixed it last time isn't fixing it this time. The outlets of that GFI do work. That GFI has the garbage disposal switch right next to it and the disposal won't turn on. The outlet the disposal is plugged into under the sink is not a GFI and does not work.

Resetting that GFI did not fix all the other outlets that it fixed last time.

Now, I *think* there are more outlets not working than last time. (I was literally about to leave town last time so I didn't check the bathrooms, but this time I noticed the bathrooms weren't working anymore as the lights wouldn't come on and the dryer wouldn't start).

The GFIs in the bathrooms won't reset. All my inside GFIs are the kind with red and black buttons on them. I checked the two exterior ones I know of and they were fine. No garage.

So... I'm supposed to go out of town in a couple of days for about 5 days. Is there a possibility of fire or anything if I leave it until I get back in town? I've read this problem can be due to a loose wire so that has me worried.

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 03-08-15, 03:24 PM
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Probably safe but turn the breakers to the GFCIs off to give your self peace of mind.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 03:49 PM
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I agree. Since you don't have any issues with possible freezing temps. I would cut off all the breakers on the affected circuits (not the fridge!) and get it checked when you come back.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 03:50 PM
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One loose wire is all it takes.
Modern codes would have called for totally different 20 amp. circuits for the kitchen and the bathroom.
Dryer will not start has got me worryed.
May very well be a dropped neutral.
Which can be a major safety.
First thing I would have done is called the utility company and had them check there side.
A dropped neutral no matter who's side it's on can destroy anything that's plugged in running or not.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 04:48 PM
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Sounds like some very busy circuits that certainly would not meet any recent codes.

I agree, turn off the breakers until you can get this sorted out.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 04:53 PM
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Thanks everyone. Trying to get someone out before I leave but in case I can't I'll turn off most of the breakers.

"Dropped neutral"... that's a particular wire?

I don't know about wiring up a house but some of the outlets affected seem to me to be in odd places. When the kitchen GFI got tripped it affected various kitchen outlets, not continuous in terms of placement, and also one on the other side of the house in the living room, but not the other living room ones or the dining room ones that were on the way there. And the house was gutted when I bought it so it was completely rewired (~1997) from scratch to get rid of the old cloth wires, so it seems like it should be more logical. But maybe there's a reason for it...
 
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Old 03-08-15, 05:14 PM
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Still another red flag.
Did there get a permit for the work?
A flipper is going to try and cut cost anyway they can.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 05:17 PM
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"Dropped neutral"... that's a particular wire?
Yes. Your house is supplied with 240 volts and a center tap from the transformer called the neutral. The 120 is derived from the neutral and one of the 240 legs. Problems on a 120 circuit can be because of the neutral wire.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 07:33 PM
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It is normal for a kitchen ground fault circuit interrupter to control several receptacles that are not consecutive, say every other receptacle where another GFCI controls the intervening receptacles.

But I'll let you in on a little secret. The kitchen counter receptacle circuit is not supposed to serve living room receptacles or any lights, that's against the code. The circuit can serve dining room or pantry receptacles.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 08:21 PM
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The kitchen counter receptacle circuit is not supposed to serve living room receptacles or any lights, that's against the code.
Nor should it be serving the disposer.

I don't think it's a dropped neutral because the OP stated that some 120 volt receptacles do work. Without a good neutral this would be impossible. I am more inclined to think one leg of the service has been lost and that it could be a power company problem.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 08:45 PM
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House was not "flipped". I bought it as a fixer upper.

Interesting about the code regarding what the kitchen GFI receptacle can service. I know that last time the outlet that's out in the living room and the one just outside the kitchen at the top of my stairs both started working again when I reset the kitchen GFI, but this time the GFI is reset and they are still not working. Disposal either.

The GFIs that won't reset... does that mean they are not getting power? I read something to that effect somewhere earlier if I understood it correctly.

Well I guess I'll call the power company to check their end and then hopefully my contractor can come and check how it is all connected and fix anything necessary. I did have an outlet added and a light above the stove added a few years ago by a terrible contractor so perhaps that has something to do with it?

Thank you so much for all the replies, I really appreciate it!
 
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Old 03-08-15, 08:55 PM
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The GFIs that won't reset... does that mean they are not getting power?
You need two things for a GFCI device to reset. Power is one thing (Blk or Red wire) and the other is a neutral (Wht wire) connection. Take away either one and it won't reset.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 09:39 PM
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And both the white and the black (red) must be connected to the line side. If either isn't and is instead connected to the load side it won't work.
 
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Old 03-09-15, 01:54 AM
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Everything is working again!

Earlier I had turned off every breaker I could think of that might control the non-working outlets and they had been off for 6-7 hours. I had just turned on a couple circuit breakers that were marked "kitchen counter" since I needed power for my laptop I was using to watch TV while I cleaned up. Then I heard a smoke alarm chirp that I believe is on a circuit that was not working as it was directly above a non-working outlet so I figured of course, it's on the battery back up and the battery is running low. So I went down to check it and the nightlight in the outlet was working now. So I tried the bathroom light and it worked, other bathroom light as well. Checked the GFI and it was fine.

I'll check with the power company to see if they know anything and I'll still have someone check it all out.

Any ideas why things came back? Did it have to do with the circuit breakers? I had switched all of them off and on again before and it hadn't fixed anything. I'm certain I got them all the way "off" then on again. Did leaving them off for hours do anything? I've never heard of that.
 
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Old 03-09-15, 04:37 PM
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Any ideas why things came back?
My best guess is an intermittent utility problem.
 
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