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Power out in one room only; need a fix

Power was lost in one...

Power was lost in one room only, breaker is not tripped. Lighted voltage tester shows power is present, but will not power a load, all grounds are tight on buss bar, and all breakers are showing correct voltage is passing through, So, why isn't it getting into the room at a usable level??

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
1/16/2008
Joseph
Joseph, Electrician
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 4,772
Experience: Licensed Master Electrician
Verified

Sounds like what you have is an open neutral on the circuit. What you will need to do is find the outlet box immediately preceding the affected box - that is where you will likely find the problem. Check all your connections and if your outlets are connected using the push ins on the back of the outlet, remove them and pig tail the connections like the one shown in the pic:
graphic
Now once you do this, it should work just fine.

If you happen to need any more information or additional help, please don't hesitate to ask.



Joseph
Joseph, Electrician
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 4,772
Experience: Licensed Master Electrician
Verified
Joseph and 87 other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 10 years ago

Joseph, I forgot to mention that none of the breakers are marked. So without knowing what item is first on the circuit, how do I determine which breaker controls that room?

Ok just to be on the safe side - I want you to check the breakers again. Go to the panel and physically push on each breaker handle to see if there is any "play" in the handle. If there is - then you will need to turn the breaker all the way off - then back on again in order to reset the breaker.

Now onto the outlets - what you need to do is find the closest outlet to the affect one and that will more than likely be on the same circuit. But just to be on the safe side - purchase what is called a plug tester. See pic:
graphic
You can plug this into the affected outlet - and if you still have some power there- the tester will light up. Then flip the breakers off until all the lights go out. Then go to the other outlets and test to see what all is off now the power is shut down. Then you can narrow it down from there.

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Just to be sure that I did not confuse you.... once you find the circuit for the bedroom - keep that breaker shut down. Then use the plug tester to see what all outlets are off as well. Then turn the breaker back on, and find which outlets are still working - those will be the outlets that you need to check for the bad or loose connections.

Again hope this helps.

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Customer reply replied 10 years ago
None of the outlets or light are working in that room, can a circuit breaker pass 115V yet still not be able to pull a load? I understand what you are saying in that-barring any unforseen or stupid wiring snafu(hidden splice) then there should be at least one place on that circuit where power is usable, unfortunately I dont know what else besides that room is included on that circuit,all other plugs in house tested with plug tester are working correctly. I also understand this is like trying to find a needle in a haystack with out actually seeing the hay, so rest assured, I trust your knowledge. Thanks

If a circuit breaker is outputting 115v - then the breaker is definitely not the problem. But what you need to do is physically take out all of your outlets and check your connections. Unfortunately with problems like these, they do become very labor intensive. But like I said in my last post, you can help yourself narrow it down by finding the outlets on the same circuit that are still working and open them up to look for the broken wiring.

Now if you have any additional questions - please don't hesitate to ask.

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Customer reply replied 10 years ago
Joseph, FOUND IT!!! While checking voltage at light switch, i had approx.40V, so plugged in outlet tester, and had dim light for "open ground". At that point i went out and found the breaker for that socket, once shut off, I also found out what other working items I had shut off. Sooo, it ended up being a light switch in a small storage room off of that bedroom that had always worked perfectly. Had two burnt black wires on it... Thanks for the help!!! JIM

You're welcome. Its always the most unexpected that usually gets ya. I'm glad you found it. Have a great night.

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