Short in basement wiring?

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  #1  
Old 02-18-16, 02:08 PM
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Exclamation Short in basement wiring?

Last night the wife unplugged a lamp from an outlet in our basement. She said that there was a spark and the lights in the basement went out. I went to the breaker panel and reset the breaker but it kept going off. I waited a few minutes and reset the breaker. All of the lights and outlets on the were dead except for one ceiling light. I replaced two outlets (one that sparked and another that I see is connect via a cord on the other side of the wall as it is an unfinished wall). The outlets and all lights linked to it; except for 1 ceiling light are dead. I do not know what to do. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:41 PM
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That fact that you mentioned an unfinished wall suggests that there is a finished section too. Try to determine where the new & the old meet (electrically). That's where I would look first.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 02:46 PM
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There is a broken or burned off wire somewhere on this circuit. Could be at a device (switch or receptacle), could be at a light, could be in a wire nut. The approach is an iterative one, go one by one through the boxes on the circuit, check and remake the connection. Move any backstab (push in) wire connections to the adjacent screw terminals.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 03:50 PM
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What am I looking for? I changed both outlets. I looked in the junction box and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. The first junction box has a line to each of the outlets that I changed and a 3rd line that goes out to a two different lights and there is another junction box that has the lines coming from the two separate lights and it has two wires in it from the home security system. The home security system is out (good thing I have a dog for protection) and both lights are out as well. The wires go toward two other lights on the line. Those two lights work, but there is another outlet that does not. I guess the line goes back to the breaker box.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 04:22 PM
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I looked in the junction box and didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
You can't just look at the box. Twist the wire nuts, to make sure that there a tight connection.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 05:07 PM
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You should know everything on that circuit. Then you need to find out what is working and what is not.

When I get to a customers house they usually have no idea what is on what circuit or what is working or what is dead. It's a homeowner's responsibility to know everything on a circuit. I charge by the hour and it costs the customer for me to do their job. I look at the circuit as whole and identify the likely places for the working and non working parts of the circuit to join. Those are the first places I check. It's not rocket science and it's not hard but it takes time.
 
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