Please help!!! I'm not an electrician

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Old 11-29-16, 12:02 PM
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Please help!!! I'm not an electrician

Ok so I am not looking to die today due to electrocution. So nothing out the ordinary has been plugged into any receptacles in the whole house. No thunderstorms or obscure amouts of rain. No power outages in the neighborhood or in my house. I was sitting in my living room, in the evening, watching t.v. all of a sudden all the lights in the house went out. All of the outlets still work and nothing in the breaker box was tripped. In about 1 hr the lights turned back on. 2 days later about 10:00 in the morning it did it again for about 3 hrs. Then the lights came back on. I checked every gfi in the house and the only one tripped was the one in the bathroom. When I reset it nothing happened. I assumed it was a bad gfi and changed it out with a new one. It is a gfi with a light switch attached to it. I thought I fixed the problem but the next morning (today) around 7:00 in the morning the lights went out again. I checked the breaker box all is good. I reset all other gfis and all was good. I tried to reset the new gfi in the bathroom and it wont reset. It has been 7 hrs now and the gfi is till tripped and the lights are still off. I did all the troubleshooting I'm capable of and am now at a loss. Please any help with this would be very much appreciated.
 
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Old 11-29-16, 12:30 PM
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It is possible the screw(s) clamping wire(s) to your main breaker in the breaker panel is/are loose. Since the only way to disconnect the power to the breaker panel is to remove the power meter, I suggest you get an electrician to tighten the clamps with power connected as the potential for shock is high if you don't understand what you are doing. Hope this is not shocking to you.
 
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Old 11-29-16, 12:33 PM
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Just trying to get this clear. Outlets still had power, How did you check this. Lights went out, are they ceiling lights or lamps plugged in somewhere? Do you have a analog volt meter?
 
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Old 11-29-16, 12:38 PM
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Do you know which circuit breakers are for the lights? If so, next time lights go out, turn those breakers completely off and then back on.

If there are multiple circuits that are losing power simultaneously, one immediate suspicion is that you are losing one leg of your power service, but it would be odd to not lose any outlets at the same time. Losing a leg of the service would justify a call to the electric company emergency line.

Do you have any 240 volt loads, such as an electric oven? If so, does it continue to work normally when this happens?

Do you have a multimeter?
 
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Old 11-29-16, 01:24 PM
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A picture of the wiring on the GFCI you replaced will help:
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html

You've had this problem for a while now though and it's probably just a loose wire somewhere.
Have you checked all switch boxes and light fixtures for loose wires?

You might be surprised how easy a backstabbed wire can sometimes just fall out of a device.
 
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Old 11-29-16, 01:51 PM
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I have power to plugs by the tvs stayed on and the microwave still works and stove ect. There are a few outlets that don't work. I used a plug in tester and it is readind hot ground reversed. I found two like that. Also the gfi plug in bathroom has no power and it won't reset when the button is pressed. I do have a volt meter. It's at work. I am bringing it home tomorrow.
 
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Old 11-29-16, 02:00 PM
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I do have an electric oven and it still works. As well as most other outlets. I checked by plugging in my phone charger to outlets without anything plugged it to it. The lights are on both sides of my breaker box so I don't think I'm losing a whole side. I've tried tripping and reseting every breaker switch. That hasn't helped. The biggest problem I think right now is that the gfi isn't resetting in the bathroom.
 
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Old 11-29-16, 03:02 PM
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The breakers for each leg are not all on one side, they alternate up and down. So the 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc. slot on one side is Leg A and 2nd, 4th, 6th, etc are Leg B. Same for the other side except starts with Leg B.

Newer GFCI's won't reset if they don't have power to them, so that could explain the bathroom.
 
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Old 11-29-16, 03:10 PM
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Quick update. The lights just came on. The bathroom gfi was still tripped so at least I know they are not on that circuit. All outlets are reading good wiring. I have a friend of a friend thats an electrician and he's coming over tomorrow evening to take a look. I'll update then. Thank you all for your suggestions. This house was built in 1951 and I have been here 6 years problem free. I'll be sure to update the wiring as much as I can after this debacle.
 
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Old 11-29-16, 07:11 PM
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Call the power company and have them check the connections inside the meter and out to the transformer. They should do this for free.
 
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Old 11-29-16, 07:26 PM
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As Electromen said call the power company. Call the 24 hour emergency service now. (Do not call customer service.)
 

Last edited by ray2047; 11-30-16 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 11-30-16, 06:27 AM
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Do you know, or can you figure out, which lights and which receptacles (outlets) are controlled by which breakers?

Even if some of the things are dead you can still figure out which breakers go to which things that are still working.

With that information you can see such things as all the odd breakers control thing that are still working and all the even breakers control things that are dead, etc.
 
 

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