Electrical Wiring

Old 07-02-02, 09:18 AM
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Question Electrical Wiring

I am having 2 major problems with our house. A bedroom does not have power to 1/2 the outlets, on 2 walls. Also, adding to my concerns is the lights in 1/2 (one whole side) of the house, which is the same side as the bedroom in question, will flicker. The house doesn't have any GFI outlets and has had a lot of previous home owner "modifications" to the electrical system. Does anyone know/or have any thoughts as what might be the cause and how to correct it?
Old 07-02-02, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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Pretty hard to tell without looking and testing, but here are some ideas:
  • Lights flickering is sometimes caused by loose connections, particularly loose neutral connections. After you shut off the appropriate breakers, you can check all the boxes for good connections. Sometimes the bad connection is in the panel itself. If you get that far, I recommend knowledgeable help. Working inside the panel requires experience.
  • Receptacles without power can also be caused by loose connections. A $7 receptacle tester from Home Depot can aid in analyzing such problems.
  • Loose connections of the neutral often result from the use of backstab connections on receptacles. We often recommend that you move backstab connections to the immediately adjacent screw.
  • Other causes of receptacle problems are GFCI (as you have already mentioned), tripped breakers, and wall switches that control said receptacles being turned off.
The most important question to ask yourself when encountering such problems is "what changed?" Was there any event that you can correlate to the time that the problems began? Sometimes there isn't, but often there is.
Old 07-02-02, 05:49 PM
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I would like to expound on John's third point - backstab connections. Most houses in FL have "backstab" wired outlets. What I used to do to check for a bad backstab is this: Turn on all the light switches to the lights that are not working. Take a rubber mallet. GENTLY tap the receptacles in the area you are having the problem. If you suddenly see all the lights flicker on - that's your bad receptacle.
I would reiterate to GENTLY TAP the receptacle. I may catch some criticism for this suggestion but it works. Just don't tap it hard enough to crack the cover plate or the receptacle itself.
Hope it helps. If not, it may be time to call a professional.

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