Intermittent Circuit - half not working

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Old 01-28-18, 11:37 AM
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Intermittent Circuit - half not working

I have a circuit for my Master Bathroom, Master Bedroom, and Guest Bathroom. All of the 3 rooms are on one breaker. Half of the Circuit started working intermittently several months ago. For a week it would turn off and then it would come back for a week. It has been off for a few months now. The GFIs in the bathroom work fine as they are on separate circuit.
The circuit in question has 4 outlets, 1 double light switch in bathroom for bathroom vent and bathroom light and 1 double light switch for ceiling fan with lights. We checked each outlet and the wiring looked good. I even replaced one outlet that had the most things plugged into it. We disconnected the bathroom light fixture completely and disconnected the ceiling fan completely.
I have a GreenLee GT-10 outlet tester. It has three indicator lights on it to indicate if an outlet is wired correctly. When no load on circuit is shows as either "Correct" or "Open Neutral". When any switch is turned on or any small device (i.e. phone charger) is plugged into the outlet, it changes to "Hot and Ground Reversed"
This circuit worked fine for 15 years and only stopped working in the past year. All of the wiring comes from the ceiling/attic. I have not noticed any rodent issues. I had thought it was possibly the steam in the bath affecting the light or the ceiling fan having a short after years of vibration.
Any ideas where to look or what to try next???
Any help would be appreciated.
 
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Old 01-28-18, 11:41 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Start by making a list of everything on the circuit. The problem will be at the last working device or the first dead one. Since wiring usually follows an order by looking at the live and dead devices you can determine a close point to check first. You may have to check every device in the circuit..... working and not.

A homeowner should know everything on a circuit. If not.... it should be done. As an electrician.... a customer has to pay me to do his job and locate everything on the circuit. Once I've found everything on the circuit, what's live and what's dead... I have a pretty good visual idea of where to check.
 
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Old 01-28-18, 11:50 AM
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I have made a list of everything on the circuit. I took 3 of the outlets 'out' and they 'looked' ok. Wiring was clean, not crimped, not exposed, etc. I did the same for 2 double light switches and again they looked 'good' but don't know how to otherwise test the light switches. The last 3 devices are the ceiling fan w/ lights and the bathroom light and the bathroom vent. I have disconnected completely the ceiling fan and the bathroom light fixture. I have not looked at the vent fan, but I guess I can remove it from ceiling to check.
Aside from a visual inspection, how else can I 'check' the light switches and outlets for the issues?
 
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Old 01-28-18, 11:54 AM
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I think you have an open neutral. It's not going to be on a switch. It could be at a neutral splice behind the switch. You need to check for 120v across the white and black and from black to ground at the receptacles.
 
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Old 01-28-18, 12:38 PM
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Backstabs can look good but are actually loose. Move the wires to the screws.
 
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Old 02-01-18, 08:26 AM
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Completed...THANKS for all the help

The issue ended up indeed being at the "LAST" good receptacle. I had inspected each and every non-working item in the circuit and even replaced several outlets and light switches that looked suspect. Low and behold, the receptacle behind my headboard (which had a lamp plugged into it) had been working and I failed to originally move the entire bed and inspect. It had almost caught fire on the output side. Therefore the input was good and it was grounded at the outlet, but the output to the rest of the circuit was completely melted and looked pretty scary.

Thanks for all the help. You guys were great.....awesome forum.
 
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