No electricity to bathroom but all breakers seem OK

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Old 05-23-20, 05:58 PM
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No electricity to bathroom but all breakers seem OK

I hope someone can help me troubleshoot and find the cause of this problem.

I'm in a 19yr old home. I just realized the basement bathroom does not have electricity. I don't use this bathroom often but I would say this loss of electrical power to the bathroom occurred a few months ago and I only realized it now when I tried to turn on the lights in there.

I have 2 on/off wall switches in that bathroom. One is for the lights and the other one is for the ventilation fan. Neither the lights nor the ventilation fan now turn on. There is also one electrical receptacle in there and I realized there is no power going to the receptacle either.

I went to the service panel and unfortunately the breakers are not well labelled as to what circuit each breaker operates. So it is hard to determine which breaker belongs to that bathroom. But all the breakers are in the "ON" position. I flipped each one to OFF and then back ON again just to be sure. Everything else in the house seems to work except that bathroom.

I have also put a voltmeter probe to each breaker circuit. One probe to the white (neutral) bar and one probe to each of the brass screw on each the breaker in the service panel. All measure 120V.

What else should I check and what is likely to be the problem?

Thank you.
 
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05-23-20, 06:21 PM
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Bathrooms are often protected by a GFCI device. That device has likely tripped. Check all other bathrooms, basements, outdoors, garages, and every other place one may be. They often are hiding behind something.
 
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Old 05-23-20, 06:21 PM
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Bathrooms are often protected by a GFCI device. That device has likely tripped. Check all other bathrooms, basements, outdoors, garages, and every other place one may be. They often are hiding behind something.
 
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Old 05-23-20, 07:12 PM
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Tolyn left you some good information to start with.

If you want to confirm if you have an open or tripped GFI....... set your meter to measure 120vAC.
Check from each slot to ground to verify that there is no AC power.
Now set your meter to ohms. Check from the large slot to ground.
If you don't get any continuity.... there's a 99% chance there is a tripped GFI receptacle.
 
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Old 05-23-20, 07:31 PM
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Hey thanks guys.

I’ll check for GFCI devices. If we are talking about the receptacles with the two small rectangular buttons between the outlets, then I know what I’m looking for. Any other types of GFCI “devices” other than these receptacles?

To clarify, it is this basement bathroom that is without power. The rest of the basement has power. I haven’t actually checked all the other bathrooms on the other levels to see if they are on the same circuit and also have suffered an outage. However, I know the other bathrooms also don’t have GFCI outlets. (Could a basement washroom be on the same circuit as upstairs bathrooms? Is that normal house wiring?)

I know for certain there are a few GFCI outlets outside the house (front porch, back porch). Those are the only GFCIs I’m aware. I’ll check on them tomorrow. If one of them need a reset, I’ll do so. (I don’t know enough about how these circuits work) But I always thought if one of these outlets stop working because of GFCI, it is only that specific outlet that stops working? But you are saying everything else on the same circuit also stops working?
 
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Old 05-23-20, 08:27 PM
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At the time GFCI first came out they were expensive. It was common to put all the GFCI place on one GFCI. The common place to find the GFCI is the garage behind the pile of stuff or beer fridge. Could also be outdoor receptacle, any bathroom, basement, kitchen, laundry room.
 
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Old 05-24-20, 03:12 AM
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But I always thought if one of these outlets stop working because of GFCI, it is only that specific outlet that stops working?
It has Line and Load connections.
The Line is where the power gets connected.
The Load is where receptacles further down the the circuit get connected. Then those circuits are also ground fault protected.

But you are saying everything else on the same circuit also stops working?
Yes at least any receptacles connected to the LOAD connections.
 
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Old 05-24-20, 03:02 PM
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Just an observation. I don't think I have ever seen a ground bar installed outside of the main panel before. Is this something common to only Canadian code? Is this being used as an intersystem bonding bridge?

I'm in a 19yr old home.
I don't think that's the original panel, doesn't look 19 years old to me.
 
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Old 05-24-20, 05:39 PM
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I don't think that's the original panel, doesn't look 19 years old to me.
I moved into this house when it was newly built 19yrs ago. It's definitely the original panel.

However, I can't answer your other question about the ground bar.
 
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Old 05-24-20, 05:43 PM
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Hey, thanks for that help. I was at the house today and checked on your tips.

It ends up that there is a GFCI outlet 2 floors up in another bathroom. All the lights work in that bathroom on the top level but the GFCI on the receptacle was "tripped". I think it happened when I had the house painted recently and the paint crew worked around that receptacle. I pressed the reset on that GFCI and I've got everything working in the basement bathroom! The electrician must have taken some strange shortcuts when they wired my house 19yrs ago...

Anyways, all is good. And thank you for everyone's help, especially Tolyn Ironhand! Great to have people like you on these forums.
 
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Old 05-24-20, 06:40 PM
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An easy adjustment is to move the wires from the LOAD terminals to the LINE terminals and install a separate GFCI in the basement.
 
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Old 05-24-20, 07:42 PM
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Thanks for letting us know! Glad you got it figured out!
 
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