45 Year Old Home with Various Electrical Issues

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Old 12-21-16, 02:06 PM
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45 Year Old Home with Various Electrical Issues

Hey All,

This is my first time posting to the forum, so i do apologize in advance if i am asking a redundant question.

My wife and i bought a 45 year old home earlier this year, and have intentions to do some work ourselves in order to make it perfect. Due to a few issues that arose on the inspection, we over looked a few minor issues in order to get the major issues fixed.

With that being said, I have 3 electrical issues that i want to try and "fix" myself.

1. My breaker box isnt very organised. There is no ryhme or reason to the breakers, and there is actually a space after the last breakers on each side. One has plastic plate covering the opening, and the other side is just wide opened. Is there any way that i can go through and find all of the outlets that coincide with each breaker?

2. There are two outlets in my kitchen that are not working. I have replaced both of the receptacles, and gone through a handful of others trying to find an open tap with no luck. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

3. I have a dimming light in my living room that sometimes flickers. There is no correlation to any high voltage devices powering on. I did have to change the dimmer when we first moved in because the metal plate would get very hot. I put in a plastic slide dimmer, and that seems to have resolved the heating issue, but it still causes me to lose some sleep at night.

Again, this is my first time posting. I dont know what i dont know, making it very difficult to ask the proper question. I am very "handy" and a quick learner, so i would like to try and do it myself, plus i have a handful of friends that are electricians that have said they could help me if i supply the beer and burgers. (After we are done working, of course )

Thanks and God Bless!
B.Cox
 
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Old 12-21-16, 02:15 PM
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1) Labeling of the box is a bit of a hassle, but simple procedure. Plug in a lamp or radio at a receptacle and flip off breakers until it goes off. Using a long extension cord can save you numerous trips up and down stairs. Make a map of each light fixture and receptacle in the house and write the circuit breaker number next to it as you figure them out. The open breaker slot in your panel can be plugged with a plastic insert or with an unused breaker.

2) That problem is almost always the first non-working or last working receptacle on the circuit. It sounds like you have already tried replacing the two non-working receptacles, so you'll need to look for the previous one in the circuit. You can generally make some good guesses by looking for the next receptacle(s) closer to the panel box. Another possibility in a kitchen is that it is on a shared circuit with a bathroom, garage, basement or outdoor receptacle. It could simply be a tripped GFCI device in one of those locations or could be a bad connection.

3) Flickering is usually caused by a loose connection or something else kicking on; it doesn't necessarily have a to be a huge load or high voltage device to cause a minor dim or flicker. Given that you have already replaced the switch, the next place to look is the light fixture itself. Perhaps just a tab in the bulb socket that needs to be bent out, perhaps a loose connection in the box above the fixture. Perhaps the flickering lines up with a fridge or freezer compressor cycling on? In that case minor flickering could be normal.
 
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Old 12-21-16, 02:37 PM
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Thanks!

With my issues in the breaker box, i believe there is a little issue with being able to locate which is the last outlet on the circuit. I have a Tick Tracer and Multimeter that i put on the hot wire of the dead receptacle with all of the breakers on, and got no read. Would that indicate that issue is coming from before the outlets that arent working?

Thanks,
 
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Old 12-21-16, 02:39 PM
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Is your home wired with aluminum wiring by any chance?
Andy
 
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Old 12-21-16, 02:46 PM
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Andrew,

I am not sure, to tell you the truth. How would i be able to verify that?
 
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Old 12-21-16, 03:51 PM
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What color are the wires going to the receptacles. If silver looking you have aluminum wiring.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 07:36 AM
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To save some time, it is common for the lighting circuits to be the same as receptacles in the area.

Breaker finders allow you to plug into a receptacle and run a wand up and down the breakers to hear the signal sent by the transmitter. If you have a friend they can move from room to room with the sender.

The opening should be filled, but if a multiwire branch circuit is involved you need to keep the two hots on opposite legs of the panel if you move circuits.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 08:03 AM
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Okay. So after going through just about everything the only oddity i found, is in the Kitchen above the suspended light. I took some pictures, and have attached them. Can anyone tell me if i need to connect anything in the box to get the receptacles hot again.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 08:49 AM
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It doesn't look like there is anything wrong from the picture, but you probably won't be able to tell unless you remove the mounting bar. Pull the wires out and verify the wirenuts are on tight and that none of the wires has twisted or burned loose inside the wirenut. When I'm doing this I usually just go ahead and undo/redo the wirenuts anyway just to be sure.
 
 

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