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No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped #934720
03/12/18 08:51 PM
03/12/18 08:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
Joe_Guy Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel
Joe_Guy  Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
I have an old house built in the 1920s. Today, the power to one circuit went off and on twice. Each time was only off for about 1 minute. I checked the circuit breaker and it didn't need to be reset but I turned it off and on anyway to see if it would have an affect. The power to the circuit went out after that one more time but is now working fine.

This circuit has a refrigerator hooked up to it, a TV and nothing else but two lamps. These same things have been on this circuit for many years without any problems like this.

Any ideas? I've called and am waiting for the local electric company (PG&E) to come out but I'm wondering if I should consider this an emergency and also call an electrician.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: Joe_Guy] #934721
03/12/18 09:10 PM
03/12/18 09:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 9,810
Welland Ont. Canada
jdevlin Offline
Carpal Tunnel
jdevlin  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 9,810
Welland Ont. Canada
While the circuit is working identify everything on it. It will make the search easier.

It is most likely a loose connection somewhere on the circuit. Did the entire circuit go out or only part of it? If the whole circuit, then the problem could be in the breaker box.

Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: jdevlin] #934723
03/12/18 09:28 PM
03/12/18 09:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
Joe_Guy Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel
Joe_Guy  Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
Thanks for your response. The entire circuit shut down. What type of problem can occur in the breaker box? Do breakers go bad?

Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: Joe_Guy] #934727
03/12/18 10:03 PM
03/12/18 10:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 24,095
Wilmington, Delaware
Just_Bill Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Just_Bill  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 24,095
Wilmington, Delaware
Not likely in breaker box. Probably a loose connection at an outlet box, possibly in a feed thru in a switch box. Aluminum wires?? Common problem with loosening at the neutral connection, worse with incorrect metal outlets/switches. If the circuit is working, feel at each outlet, if warm, check it out.

Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: Joe_Guy] #934731
03/12/18 10:49 PM
03/12/18 10:49 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,979
Connecticut, USA
FredDwyer Offline
Carpal Tunnel
FredDwyer  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,979
Connecticut, USA
If back stab connections were used, pull them and fasten the wiring under the screw connectors. Since the whole circuit went out, it must be a problem in the first box on the line.


________________________________________________________________________________________

I was always taught to honor my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.

Fred
Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: Just_Bill] #934734
03/12/18 11:09 PM
03/12/18 11:09 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
Joe_Guy Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel
Joe_Guy  Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
For the record - the wiring is copper. I've called for an appointment with an electrician to troubleshoot the problem. The circuit has gone off and on a couple more times within the last hour. Every time this happens it's only for a minute or so.

The connections in the outlets are screwed in. I'm curious how a problem like this starts. Barring a rat chewing on an outlet box, how do connections like this come loose?

Thanks for your comments.

Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: Joe_Guy] #934772
03/13/18 01:33 PM
03/13/18 01:33 PM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 9,810
Welland Ont. Canada
jdevlin Offline
Carpal Tunnel
jdevlin  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 9,810
Welland Ont. Canada
A loose connection at any point on the circuit. Since it is the entire circuit it could be a loose screw on the neutral or hot connections in the breaker box. It could even be the breaker connection to the bus bar in the panel.

Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: jdevlin] #934823
03/14/18 05:02 AM
03/14/18 05:02 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
Joe_Guy Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel
Joe_Guy  Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
Thanks for the information. I had it looked at and will post the results here when I have more time tomorrow. (Wednesday).

Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: Joe_Guy] #934888
03/14/18 06:48 PM
03/14/18 06:48 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
Joe_Guy Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel
Joe_Guy  Offline OP
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,709
Redwood City CA
Well, everyone was right. It was a bad connection at one of the outlets. However, it was a much more serious problem than I had anticipated.

Here's the short version: The circuit shut down completely on Monday evening. I had called already called PG&E and decided to call an electrician for a night time appointment. Neither of them showed up.

The next day I was able to get a good electrician to come out. He found that one outlet connection in the circuit had actually burned and severed the connection to the remaining parts of the circuit. I was lucky there was no fire.

We think the cause is a space heater that my wife has been using on that circuit. The electrician recommended that since this is an old house with old wiring, the refrigerator on this circuit should instead have a dedicated circuit and one or two other circuits created for the remaining outlets in the existing circuit.

We have scheduled repairs that might take a week or more to begin. In the meantime, we have a 14/3 extension cord from the refrigerator to a working outlet on a circuit that has no other appliances connected to it.

Thanks to all for your comments.

Re: No Power to Circuit and Breaker Not Tripped [Re: Joe_Guy] #934890
03/14/18 06:59 PM
03/14/18 06:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 12,200
Bristol,ny
code_ceis Offline
Carpal Tunnel
code_ceis  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 12,200
Bristol,ny
If I had time I would have asked about a heater.That often causes problems on old circuits.

To others reading this for help in future.
FYI
If you used a small electric heater and your circuit died and did not trip the breaker it probably melted a connection.


"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine

Do not be a Monday. No one likes Mondays.

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