Lights out in 2 rooms-What caused it?

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  #1  
Old 11-11-15, 10:10 PM
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Lights out in 2 rooms-What caused it?

Just today, the lights in the master bedroom and bathroom went out. there is also a connection at the end of the hallway that if something is plugged into it, it will power it up then die out. The power outlet in the restroom has worked only a few times but the majority of the time it does not work. Thats okay, the issue is the light will not come back on in the master bedroom or the restroom.

I have gone to the breaker circuit, shut off each breaker about 7 times now. Nothing has changed. The switches are not pushed to the off position as they normally would be if a breaker went off.

I don't know what is causing this.

about 2 days ago i did install 2 new light fixtures in the garage for added light. I hooked them up to the original garage light fixture, it did not have a fixture as we use the lights from a newer installed garage door.
So i wired 2 fixtures into the connections of the old one.
But that is a completely different circuit right? and the light fixtures still work. Wouldn't they not be working if they were affecting the room and bathroom?

I have read it might be a bad wall outlet in the rooms? or an open in the wires, which i really hope its not.

Can anyone help me or direct me in what steps to take in order to fix this please?
thank you in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-11-15, 11:31 PM
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But that is a completely different circuit right?
Would you like us to guess the answer to that question ?

It sounds like you have several problems there and this is a new one to add to the list.

You need to determine everything that is on the the affected circuit, If you don't know which circuit number you are dealing with you may have to go thru the whole house.

Once you've determined everything that is on that circuit you will have to check the devices (switches/receptacles) one by one until you locate the problem.
 
  #3  
Old 11-12-15, 12:21 AM
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I undid the wiring from the light fixture i did.


I rechecked the breakers and they are not flipped and the still no power with the garage wiring removed.
I cannot find any GFCIs. The past 15 years i have lived here, I have never seen one. The house was built in 1984 by the way.

I will check the breakers to see exactly which breaker is for those 2 rooms. That is what you mean right? When you say to determine what is on the circuit?

This all started when a small heater was plugged into the bedroom.
 

Last edited by Serf27; 11-12-15 at 01:38 AM.
  #4  
Old 11-12-15, 02:55 AM
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Remove the power to those circuits and remove the receptacle you had the heater plugged into. You may find there is a burned connection. Those excessively high wattage heaters can cause problems.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 04:59 AM
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... this all started when a heater ...
You need to check for loose or compromised connections all along the daisy chain from the receptacle you had the heater plugged into (perhaps through several other outlet boxes in the room) and down to the panel.

Where you find wires inserted into the backs of receptacles, switches, etc. and not proactively and explicitly held inside via a screw on the side, the connection should be re-done using the screws on the side.

Fortunately a problem in the wall between outlet boxes is extremely rare.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 07:49 AM
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If you are going to use that heater this winter when you are finished solving your problem you need to add a dedicated circuit for the heater. It appears to be too much on that circuit to use it for a heater.
 
  #7  
Old 11-12-15, 08:49 AM
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AllanJ has the correct approach. My guess is one of the two circuit wires has arced in the breaker panel and insulated the wire. I would first go to the breaker panel and remove the front cover. I would retorque all the screws attaching wires to the neutral bus. If this doesn't fix the problem, I would shut off the panel breakers 1 at a time (assumes u don't know the breaker for the affected area) and retorque the screw attaching the feed wire from the breaker. Turn the breaker back on. If this doesn't fix the problem, follow AllanJ's approach. You now should have voltage at least to the first load (lightswitch or outlet) on the breaker circuit. Purchase a non-contact voltage sensor to find the lightswitchs and outlets with power. Your problem is between those with power and without power. Turn off the breaker At all the circuit boxes without voltage for light switches , lights and outlets, retorque the screws for the black and white wires. Make there are no loose wires inside the wire nuts. Turn the breaker back on. If the same loads are without voltage, the problem is the feed connection from a powered box in the circuit. Repeat breaker off, retorque screws, check wire nuts, breaker on , check for power at unpowered devices for each powered box. One of them has to fix the problem .Good luck

Mod note: Non contact testers are a waste of money and time in this case. They often give false positives. You need an analog multimeter.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 11-12-15 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 11-12-15, 09:35 AM
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Purchase a non-contact voltage sensor to find the lightswitchs and outlets with power.
Bad idea. They are worthless for real testing. They often give false positives. Buying one is a waste of money. You need a multimeter, preferably analog.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 09:51 AM
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As an electrician.... the bulk of the problems I come across are on the neutral side of the circuit. Those non contact testers were designed only to warn you of high voltage where you are working.
If you lose the neutral... the circuit will not work but the tester shows power.

I rarely find problems at a breaker either. The number one problem I find is where there are several wires on a receptacle using both the screw terminals and the push in connections on the back.

A non contact tester is good for quick circuit checks especially when trying to identify devices on a circuit.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 05:48 PM
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The number one problem I find is where there are several wires on a receptacle using both the screw terminals and the push in connections on the back.
.......................................
 
  #11  
Old 11-12-15, 07:48 PM
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In California, almost all tract homes are wired using backstab connections.
When you start pulling out receptacles to check wiring, the loose wire might be very obvious.

I see this way too often where backstabbed wires are loose, barely connected or have completely separated from device.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 10:39 PM
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Chandler, today i removed the receptacle where i had and extension cord plugged in that i plugged the neater into(the receptacle is behind the dresser, thats why i used an extension cord.) where the cord was plugged in, there was a burn mark.
I replaced it with no luck. I also replaced another receptacle in the room and nothing.

AllanJ, My receptacles are using the clip to hold the wire in, i will try to out the wires on the outside screws instead. Also ill replace any receptacles that are out due to this(the room bathroom and hallway) or did you mean, plug the wire into the back of the receptacle and screw in the side screws?
I think they use a clip to hold the wire in place that has to be pushed to release the wire. I can see a mark where the clip bites the wire. Sorry for the confusion, just need to know what exactly to use, clips that hold the wire or the screws.

Ray 2047, i may use the heater again but in another receptacle or not at all. The gas heater doesn't work and its getting as low as 35F. That will be my next mission, figuring out why the heater doesn't work. All wires plugged in the receptacles were secure, i had just replaced them a few months ago while installing wood floors in the house.

PJmax, the receptacle that was used for the heater has 5 wires and all are plugged in. 2 black, 2 white are pushed in and 1 ground wire on the screw, for some reason some receptacles in the house have the 5 wires and some have only 3. Should i remove 1black and 1 white from the receptacle and cover them up and just use 1 black/white with the ground?

Handy one, more of my old receptacles used back stab connections, if not all of them used them. When i removed the receptacle, the ends of the wires were in all the way, very secure and no separated. I was hoping for an issue like this to occur for an easy fix but nope.

beelzbob, i opened up the panel box and removed the cover and torqued all the screws down, some screws were loose, and again i hoped it was the issue! But it was not. I will go through the breakers 1 by 1 with some help and determine which breaker makes no difference and recheck the wires that are used for that breaker in the panel. Once i find it ill switch it off and go through each receptacle affected and verify the connections are secure.


If someone doesn't want to read all that.
Long reply short
Receptacle that was used when power went out in the rooms was replaced.
Breaker panel screws have been tightened up.

What I will do tomorrow, find what exact breaker is used for the room and bathroom, guess the kitchen pantry that is affected too with no power to the light in there..
Check wiring from the exact breaker in the breaker box.
Check all affected receptacles for loose connections.

THANK YOU all of you for the replies. They are greatly appreciated and Great info! Any more replies are welcome.
i am in CA by the way.
 
  #13  
Old 11-13-15, 02:55 AM
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You may have to go one receptacle beyond the ones that are not responding. THAT is possibly where the loose wire is located. It is not serving the dead receptacles. I would, once you locate that particular breaker, remove all the receptacles and replace the wires under the screw heads and reinstall. I feel certain, as mentioned, you will find a loose wire at one of the receptacles. You should never use an extension cord with a heater.
 
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Old 11-13-15, 05:14 AM
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Keep this in mind when you are rewiring the receptacles, moving wires from backstabs to screw terminals.
Some of your receptacles might be half-switched. This is particularly true in bedrooms, living and dining rooms that have no ceiling lights.
Some clues to if a receptacle is switched are the presence of a red wire, and you will see the little tab broken off that connects the two hot terminal screws.
 
  #15  
Old 11-14-15, 01:05 AM
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Wow great info both of you.
Once I check all receptacles chandler, I will continue to check other receptacles for a loose wire.

Handyone, I will swap the wire to the screws.
And I don't think any receptacles are switched. There's no red wires coming out of any places and all rooms have a light

I will do both of those things.
Thank you both.

Also, is it okay to check a removed breaker with an ohmmeter? To see if the breaker is damaged internally
 
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Old 11-14-15, 03:12 AM
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No. You can't really check a breaker to see if it is damaged. The best thing to do if the breaker is suspect is to replace it.
 
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