Quantcast

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

Help Support House Repair Talk:

WyrTwister

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
341
Reaction score
60
Get your electrician back out there to finish the jpb .

If he installed a GFCI duplex receptacle , last I noticed , they are around $ 20 . Regular commercial specification grade receptacle ( a residential grade would probably be used ) is a few dollars . The rest labor . That is 2 or 3 times what we can charge and stay in business . Always ask beforehand what a service call costs .

Best of luck to you , :)
Wyr
God bless
 

pjones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
283
Reaction score
93
Location
Vancouver Canada BC
Get your electrician back out there to finish the jpb .

If he installed a GFCI duplex receptacle , last I noticed , they are around $ 20 . Regular commercial specification grade receptacle ( a residential grade would probably be used ) is a few dollars . The rest labor . That is 2 or 3 times what we can charge and stay in business . Always ask beforehand what a service call costs .

Best of luck to you , :)
Wyr
God bless
I guess the price is really subjective depending on how much troubleshooting there was and what kind of access was provided. If all he did was go and replaced the two receptacles them that price seems steep, but if he had to empty the fridge in order to move it out of the way, make the repair, move everything back, empty the counter to replace the other receptacle, open the panel to check connections, and preform other troubleshooting such as tracing out circuits, etc... The time can add up fast and I would expect them to charge for that. Since we don't know exactly what happened while he was there then it's hard to really judge how long he was there for. Since the installation of a GFCI should be a basic task for an electrician I'm going to assume that they were installed correctly and that there is something else that is wrong with the circuit which would have shifted his scope of work more towards troubleshooting. In hind sight I shouldn't have speculated on the pice because we really don't know enough to make a fare judgment. We don't know why he left without determining the cause but there are a thousand and one perfectly reasonable explanations that could answer that. If that is the case then have him back to finish the job since he will be the most familiar with what he has already found and can carry on from where he left off... If he was truly perplexed by the operation of a GFCI however, I suggest you kindly request a different technician to complete the job since more experience may be required to properly diagnose the issue.
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
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.
It's definitely possible I'm not explaining it correctly, but that is my best recollection.

He came back to look at it and said the new GFCI outlet is also bad and that he'd need to get a new one. He's supposed to be back today to install it. I believe that after disconnecting the new GFCI outlet the other outlets on its circuit were working again. Oddly, the refrigerator was working the whole time, even though it's on the same circuit (I think the fact that the refrigerator was running again is why the electrician assumed he'd fixed everything with the first visit). He didn't mention charging any extra for these additional visits (and I wouldn't accept being charged for them, either).

Yes, the toaster oven and refrigerator were on the same circuit.

I'll ask him if the new GFCI came with instructions and, if so, to leave them with me.
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
I guess the price is really subjective depending on how much troubleshooting there was and what kind of access was provided. If all he did was go and replaced the two receptacles them that price seems steep, but if he had to empty the fridge in order to move it out of the way, make the repair, move everything back, empty the counter to replace the other receptacle, open the panel to check connections, and preform other troubleshooting such as tracing out circuits, etc... The time can add up fast and I would expect them to charge for that. Since we don't know exactly what happened while he was there then it's hard to really judge how long he was there for. Since the installation of a GFCI should be a basic task for an electrician I'm going to assume that they were installed correctly and that there is something else that is wrong with the circuit which would have shifted his scope of work more towards troubleshooting. In hind sight I shouldn't have speculated on the pice because we really don't know enough to make a fare judgment. We don't know why he left without determining the cause but there are a thousand and one perfectly reasonable explanations that could answer that. If that is the case then have him back to finish the job since he will be the most familiar with what he has already found and can carry on from where he left off... If he was truly perplexed by the operation of a GFCI however, I suggest you kindly request a different technician to complete the job since more experience may be required to properly diagnose the issue.
I'd already moved the refrigerator before he arrived and moved it back after he left. As far as troubleshooting, I don't know. The fact that the refrigerator outlet was damaged and had to be replaced was obvious even to me. I noticed shortly before he arrived that the GFCI outlet couldn't be tested or reset, so it may not have been too difficult for him to figure out that it, too, needed replacing. But I don't know how this works, so there may have been other, more serious, things he needed to rule out, as well.

Additionally, I was able to get someone to my house relatively quickly on a Saturday night. Alot of places I tried wouldn't come out until Monday. I assumed I might pay a premium for that kind of service. Haven't hired an electrician as far back as I can remember, so I don't know if that's the case.

He comes back today, so I'll ask him to explain again. Maybe I didn't understand him correctly the first time.
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
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?
The refrigerator is working now. I think I need to ask him to explain the problem again. Sounds like one or both of us is missing something.
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
Get your electrician back out there to finish the jpb .

If he installed a GFCI duplex receptacle , last I noticed , they are around $ 20 . Regular commercial specification grade receptacle ( a residential grade would probably be used ) is a few dollars . The rest labor . That is 2 or 3 times what we can charge and stay in business . Always ask beforehand what a service call costs .

Best of luck to you , :)
Wyr
God bless
Maybe it depends on area? I'm in northern Virginia. I feel like things are more expensive around here than many other places (judging by our home prices and rents, at least).

He also came out on short notice on a Saturday night. Would that make a difference?
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
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.
I'm not a very handy person but to save money I try to fix things around the house myself as much as possible (that's why I'm here on houserepairtalk in the first place). And I don't mind messing up if I'm learning along the way. But doing drywall or laying tiles wrong is one thing. When it comes to electrical issues I'm a little more reluctant, given the potential for danger. I have a four-year old daughter in my house and I don't wanna take any chances.
 

zannej

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2014
Messages
2,134
Reaction score
638
I'm not a very handy person but to save money I try to fix things around the house myself as much as possible (that's why I'm here on houserepairtalk in the first place). And I don't mind messing up if I'm learning along the way. But doing drywall or laying tiles wrong is one thing. When it comes to electrical issues I'm a little more reluctant, given the potential for danger. I have a four-year old daughter in my house and I don't wanna take any chances.
Yeah, that's the intelligent approach. Electrical is something you do not want to mess with unless you know what you are doing. I've seen some spectacular screwups before. The expression "better safe than sorry" applies.
 

pjones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
283
Reaction score
93
Location
Vancouver Canada BC
Maybe it depends on area? I'm in northern Virginia. I feel like things are more expensive around here than many other places (judging by our home prices and rents, at least).

He also came out on short notice on a Saturday night. Would that make a difference?
Yes,
Where I work, regular business hours are billed out at our regular rate plus travel time to get there. After hours and weekend work is billed at double time and we bill from the time our socks go on until the time our socks come off. That includes travel to and from the location at this rate plus a little bit for having to get the work clothes on and off (if we are covered in insulation or something similar because of the repair and we need a quick shower before we can go back to bed or go back to our daily activities then that too is included so long that it is reasonable). This is standard procedure in my area and it is to compensate the technician for giving there weekend time, down time, and family time away to help the person in need of assistance. We don't mind helping, but we do ask that we be compensated fairly for our time that we give. I'll make an assumption and assume this is probably the reason why the cost was double or triple what WyrTwister was expecting, because there was additional travel time and at weekend rates. This is not my trade but I am in a closely related trade were the billing practices would be closely similar.
 

pjones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
283
Reaction score
93
Location
Vancouver Canada BC
I'm not a very handy person but to save money I try to fix things around the house myself as much as possible (that's why I'm here on houserepairtalk in the first place). And I don't mind messing up if I'm learning along the way. But doing drywall or laying tiles wrong is one thing. When it comes to electrical issues I'm a little more reluctant, given the potential for danger. I have a four-year old daughter in my house and I don't wanna take any chances.
I'm glad you know your limits and stay within them. At the end of the day the most important thing is that everyone is safe.
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
Yes,
Where I work, regular business hours are billed out at our regular rate plus travel time to get there. After hours and weekend work is billed at double time and we bill from the time our socks go on until the time our socks come off. That includes travel to and from the location at this rate plus a little bit for having to get the work clothes on and off (if we are covered in insulation or something similar because of the repair and we need a quick shower before we can go back to bed or go back to our daily activities then that too is included so long that it is reasonable). This is standard procedure in my area and it is to compensate the technician for giving there weekend time, down time, and family time away to help the person in need of assistance. We don't mind helping, but we do ask that we be compensated fairly for our time that we give. I'll make an assumption and assume this is probably the reason why the cost was double or triple what WyrTwister was expecting, because there was additional travel time and at weekend rates. This is not my trade but I am in a closely related trade were the billing practices would be closely similar.
Okay, that makes sense to me. I agree that special service calls for special compensation. I assumed I'd pay extra when I made the call and I even apologized to the electrician for dragging him out on a Saturday night.

But I've got maybe around $200 worth of food in the refrigerator. Had alot of it spoiled or melted I don't know if waiting until Monday would have saved me all that much money.
 

pjones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
283
Reaction score
93
Location
Vancouver Canada BC
Okay, that makes sense to me. I agree that special service calls for special compensation. I assumed I'd pay extra when I made the call and I even apologized to the electrician for dragging him out on a Saturday night.

But I've got maybe around $200 worth of food in the refrigerator. Had alot of it spoiled or melted I don't know if waiting until Monday would have saved me all that much money.
I don't question your choice to call him out to help, not even for a second. I have a freezer that has many home made pies and meals in it. The value in food may not be exceptional but the time required to replace it all would take weeks of cooking. That's now weekends and afternoons that would be gone, time now required to be spent replacing the food. That time is worth something too. It may be easy to make the food again but the time is really hard to get back. Plus you have an outlet that is clearly unsafe and a child to protect... If I was in your position, not knowing how to safely troubleshoot and repair the issue, I would have called someone out too.

I'm glad to hear you got it all resolved now.
 

WyrTwister

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
341
Reaction score
60
I'd already moved the refrigerator before he arrived and moved it back after he left. As far as troubleshooting, I don't know. The fact that the refrigerator outlet was damaged and had to be replaced was obvious even to me. I noticed shortly before he arrived that the GFCI outlet couldn't be tested or reset, so it may not have been too difficult for him to figure out that it, too, needed replacing. But I don't know how this works, so there may have been other, more serious, things he needed to rule out, as well.

Additionally, I was able to get someone to my house relatively quickly on a Saturday night. Alot of places I tried wouldn't come out until Monday. I assumed I might pay a premium for that kind of service. Haven't hired an electrician as far back as I can remember, so I don't know if that's the case.

He comes back today, so I'll ask him to explain again. Maybe I didn't understand him correctly the first time.
If the circuit is off , the trip / test and the reset on a GFCI receptacle do not function .

Wyr
God bless
 

WyrTwister

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2014
Messages
341
Reaction score
60
Yes,
Where I work, regular business hours are billed out at our regular rate plus travel time to get there. After hours and weekend work is billed at double time and we bill from the time our socks go on until the time our socks come off. That includes travel to and from the location at this rate plus a little bit for having to get the work clothes on and off (if we are covered in insulation or something similar because of the repair and we need a quick shower before we can go back to bed or go back to our daily activities then that too is included so long that it is reasonable). This is standard procedure in my area and it is to compensate the technician for giving there weekend time, down time, and family time away to help the person in need of assistance. We don't mind helping, but we do ask that we be compensated fairly for our time that we give. I'll make an assumption and assume this is probably the reason why the cost was double or triple what WyrTwister was expecting, because there was additional travel time and at weekend rates. This is not my trade but I am in a closely related trade were the billing practices would be closely similar.
I was not figuring after hours or weekend , but we do not charge double time for anything .

We have a standard rate for service call . If it goes beyond that , it transitions to our hourly rate .

Our city is small enough , driving time , for a city wide service call , is figured into the service call price . Locally , we do nor charge mileage .

Any time going to the supply house is charged to the customer .

It is true that a person may be an excellent tradesman , but not that good of a communicator .

Best of luck , :)
Wyr
God bless
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
I don't question your choice to call him out to help, not even for a second. I have a freezer that has many home made pies and meals in it. The value in food may not be exceptional but the time required to replace it all would take weeks of cooking. That's now weekends and afternoons that would be gone, time now required to be spent replacing the food. That time is worth something too. It may be easy to make the food again but the time is really hard to get back. Plus you have an outlet that is clearly unsafe and a child to protect... If I was in your position, not knowing how to safely troubleshoot and repair the issue, I would have called someone out too.

I'm glad to hear you got it all resolved now.
Oh, wow, I wish I had some homemade pies in my freezer.

Thanks, me too.
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
I was not figuring after hours or weekend , but we do not charge double time for anything .

We have a standard rate for service call . If it goes beyond that , it transitions to our hourly rate .

Our city is small enough , driving time , for a city wide service call , is figured into the service call price . Locally , we do nor charge mileage .

Any time going to the supply house is charged to the customer .

It is true that a person may be an excellent tradesman , but not that good of a communicator .

Best of luck , :)
Wyr
God bless
I'll check the invoice later to see how it broke down, but I'm okay with what I paid. I was worried there was a bigger issue than just a bad GFI outlet and I was trying to brace myself to pay alot more.
 

Givemeasec

Active Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
31
Reaction score
8
Wanna say thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond to this thread. That you guys are willing to share your knowledge and experience means alot to people like me who don't know as much as they should about their homes.
 

zannej

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2014
Messages
2,134
Reaction score
638
No problem. I wish I knew more about electrical (learning more about it is on my To Do list-- I just got a book on it for Xmas). I'm glad that you took the time to come here and ask about the issue and that it was resolved safely.
 

Latest posts

Top