All of a sudden I'm losing power in my kitchen

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by Givemeasec, Jan 4, 2019.

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  1. Jan 4, 2019 #1

    Givemeasec

    Givemeasec

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    Starting a month ago running my toaster oven and microwave simultaneously caused the toaster oven's circuit breaker to trip and both to lose power (the two are not on the same circuit). My refrigerator shut off, too.

    About a week ago just running my toaster oven caused it and the refrigerator to lose power (but didn't trip any breakers).

    A few days ago just charging a phone caused my refrigerator to turn off (while the phone oscillated between charging/not charging).

    Since then, my refrigerator just shuts off randomly. If I bang on the control unit containing the thermometer a few times then it'll turn back on.

    What could be causing all this? Would an aging refrigerator (11 years old) do it? Or did something else related to the original power losses mess up the refrigerator? (I'm at work so I can't verify exactly which appliances were/are sharing a circuit with the refrigerator but I can check when I get home.)
     
  2. Jan 4, 2019 #2

    pjones

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    This isn't my area of expertise but I'm wondering if you have a shared neutral somewhere in the circuit that became damaged or got loose.

    I doubt that the fridge is to blame, because when you hear it turn off you're phone was also affected so it seems like it's a power relate issue and not a faulty appliance thing.

    Do you have rodents in the house, attic, crawl space, that may have chewed into a wire somewhere?
     
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  3. Jan 4, 2019 #3

    Givemeasec

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    Would circuits that share a neutral have their breakers bonded together at the breaker control panel? The microwave's circuit's breaker and the toaster oven's are independent of each other.

    I've never seen any rodents inside the house itself, but last year I did find a mouse in the garage.
     
  4. Jan 4, 2019 #4

    jeffmattero76

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    Not an expert, but I do lots of electrical work on my rentals. I would suggest checking the panel. You may have a rusted or broken lug so that one of the hot buses is getting intermittent power. If you don't know how to check that, and/or are not comfortable inside the circuit breaker panel, please call an electrician.
     
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  5. Jan 5, 2019 #5

    zannej

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    Is this only happening in your kitchen or do you have power issues anywhere else in the house?
    I'm wondering if the main power line coming in could be damaged or loose. I had some similar issues with things shutting off. You might want to call your power company to come take a look & see if there is anything wrong with the lines- but I would also second jeffmattero's suggestion: Call an electrician.
     
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  6. Jan 5, 2019 #6

    Givemeasec

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    Yes, thankfully it's only in the kitchen.
     
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  7. Jan 5, 2019 #7

    Givemeasec

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    Okay, so I unplugged my refrigerator (which I think runs on the toaster oven's circuit) and ran the microwave and toaster oven simultaneously. The toaster oven lost power, but the microwave continued to run. No tripped breakers.

    Flipped the breaker back and forth and still no power on any outlet on the toaster oven's circuit.

    Went to plug the refrigerator back in and got a big spark. Leaving the refrigerator (and anything else) unplugged into that circuit's outlets for now.

    Been trying to reach an electrician but it's Saturday evening here, so no luck so far.
     
  8. Jan 5, 2019 #8

    jeffmattero76

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    I would suggest turning the breaker off, and inspecting the refrigerator receptacle. Sounds like something is loose in that box.
     
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  9. Jan 5, 2019 #9

    Givemeasec

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    I got an electrician to come out. He's here right now. The refrigerator outlet has char marks from the spark. He says at minimum that'll have to be replaced. Don't know what else he'll find. Praying this won't get too expensive.
     
  10. Jan 5, 2019 #10

    Givemeasec

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    Yeah, the refrigerator receptacle was in bad shape (the spark seems to have done some damage), according to the electrician, but there's also a bad GFCI outlet. That's the outlet the toaster oven was plugged into. He says the GFCI outlet should have tripped before the refrigerator outlet burned out but didn't and there could have been a fire. I did notice just before the electrician came that the test button on the bad GFCI outlet didn't do anything when pushed.

    So, to replace those two outlets it's $350. That doesn't seem too bad to me.
     
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  11. Jan 5, 2019 #11

    zannej

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    I'm glad you got it fixed and that it didn't start a fire. I hope you won't have anymore problems with your electricity now.
     
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  12. Jan 6, 2019 #12

    jeffmattero76

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    $25 in parts and 30 minutes labor. I would do that myself.
     
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  13. Jan 6, 2019 #13

    Givemeasec

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    Thanks!
     
  14. Jan 6, 2019 #14

    Givemeasec

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    Can a layman with no experience safely do that?
     
  15. Jan 6, 2019 #15

    jeffmattero76

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    If you turn the breaker off, yes. It's not rocket science.
     
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  16. Jan 6, 2019 #16

    Givemeasec

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    I'll keep that in mind for next time, though I'd probably still find a way to mess it up.

    Actually, the electrician himself may not have installed it entire correctly, since the new GFI outlet won't power anything, it's solid green light won't turn off, and it won't reset (he said he'll come back tomorrow).
     
  17. Jan 6, 2019 #17

    afjes_2016

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    Sorry, but I am not at all comfortable with the "electrician's" statement that the GFCI receptacle should have tripped before the refrigerator receptacle burned out which could have caused a fire. Yes, a burned out receptacle could possibly cause a fire in the process but GFCI receptacles don't function as sensing overloads or short circuits in a receptacle they are "protecting" (his statement is saying that the GFCI was up-line from the refrigerator receptacle). A GFCI either receptacle or breaker protects the circuit from a "ground fault" not an over load or short circuit. Take a few minutes and Google how a GFCI works and what it is supposed to protect and how it differs from a circuit breaker. A "ground fault" is far different from the dead short or over heat. A GFCI monitors the current going into it and and out on the hot wire to the circuit it protects and compares it to the current coming back into it by the neutral wire. If it senses a difference in loss of current to be between 4 to 6 milliamps it trips, this means it is sensing a "ground fault". If the electrician can not give you that simple explanation he does not know which way he needs to go to solve this.

    So far I don't see that you have confirmed that the refrigerator is on the same circuit as the toaster oven.

    Either you are not quite getting what he is saying to you or he does not know what he is doing. $350 to replace the receptacles and the other little work he did in my opinion is far over charged considering the issue is not solved and he must come back. I hope part of that $350 includes his return trip time.

    And then you say -
    "Actually, the electrician himself may not have installed it entire correctly, since the new GFI outlet won't power anything, it's solid green light won't turn off, and it won't reset (he said he'll come back tomorrow)."
    To charge you $350 and he did not install the GFCI correctly worries me as that should be a simple task for an electrician. Also, depending on the manufacturer and model of the GFCI the lights you see may not be the same reference to other manufacturer's and models. What I am saying is for one manufacturer a green light may mean something totally different when you compare that GFCI receptacle to another manufacturer. Read the instructions that came with the GFCI, it should tell you what the light codes mean.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
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  18. Jan 6, 2019 #18

    WyrTwister

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    Yes . Look at the panel for a loose wire or wire . Especially a neutral . Measure voltage between the in-coming hots & each other , and to neutral and to earth ground . Write it down .

    Then from the wire terminal of each CB ( Circuit Breaker ) to neutral and to earth ground . Write it down .

    In the mean time , call the power company and ask them to check theit part . They should not charge for this .

    BE CAREFUL ! As has been said , if you are not comfortable doing this , call an electrician .

    Wyr
    God bless
     
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  19. Jan 6, 2019 #19

    pjones

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    I've seen many different ways people have messed this task up. Electricity is not something that somebody should jump into blindly. Research of the task at hand and a clear understanding of what's required and how everything should be done is required. The installer also needs to understand how the component is supposed to work so that it can be properly tested after its installed and recognize if something is wrong.

    If the OP feels comfortable with this task and preformed the research to complete the work safely then they can do the work, but if thy are uncomfortable with doing the work or don't want to invest the time in learning what is required to be known then they should pay for a professional to complete the job, that is what's they are there for. There is nothing wrong with paying someone for help when you need it, we can't be expected to know everything.

    It takes my aunt 30 minutes to knit a pair of gloves. I still by mine from the store because I don't have the interest to learn how to preform that job to do it myself, so I would rather pay someone else to do it for me.
     
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  20. Jan 6, 2019 #20

    pjones

    pjones

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    Exactly!

    Hopefully he actually knew that and failed to explain it correctly. If he didn't know that then you may want to consider looking for a different technician. It can be from the same company but you should get someone with a more complete knowledge base to continue on with the troubleshooting. $350 sounds reasonable considering travel time, parts, and troubleshooting would be included in that.

    Is your fridge still working or have they confirmed that it is not shorted to ground?
     
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