Half of the lights are out downstairs

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by plaza, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Mar 26, 2014 #1

    plaza

    plaza

    plaza

    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I woke up this morning and turned on the kitchen light and the living room lamp flickered and the power went out. It has since flickered a couple of times. Its only to the living room, dining room lights and the kitchen. It seems to be only on the one circuit
    I reset the breakers and the main breaker and also any of the outlets that had the button.
    I called an electrician and he said its very common for the outlets in our area to not be grounded and walked me through how to check them and ground them. He referred to the outlets as being push outlets and to put the grounding under all the screws. All the outlets are already grounded. The Hardware store sold me a outlet detector to tell me if its bad but since there is no power to any of them its hard to check.:confused:
    Is there something else I can try before I call him back?
     
  2. Mar 26, 2014 #2

    JoeD

    JoeD

    JoeD

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,528
    Likes Received:
    273
    Sounds like a loose connection. Your problem will be finding it.
    Are there only lights on the circuit or are there also receptacles? Is everything on the circuit out or only part of the items?
     
    plaza likes this.
  3. Mar 26, 2014 #3

    plaza

    plaza

    plaza

    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well as far as I can tell its the outlets in the living room and the lights in the other rooms. Im pretty sure its the whole circuit but Im not sure what exactly is all on that circuit or even how to find out whats all on that circuit. Its four outlets total that are out
     
  4. Mar 26, 2014 #4

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Well-Known Member Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Messages:
    2,471
    Likes Received:
    175
    So it may be an intermittently high resistance connection rather than a permanent open circuit. Could be a loose screw, a backstabbed outlet or a bad Wirenut.

    With all of the breakers off and using an extension cord as one of the meter test leads, you may measure some resistance, more than 1/4 ohm, between the short slots on one of the bad outlets and the output terminal of one breaker.
    This is the breaker that serves these outlets.

    With the other breakers on, turning this breaker on and off may show what else is on this branch.
    The farthest box may have only one cable coming into it whereas the others may have an entering cable and an exiting cable.
    Try to figure out how this branch is laid out in your walls, from farthest to nearest. Then the bad connection will be between the last good outlet and the first dead one.

    Post back how this works out.
    I've never had to do this, but
    in principle, on paper and in my head
    it works great! :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
    plaza likes this.
  5. Mar 26, 2014 #5

    kok328

    kok328

    kok328

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    2,755
    Likes Received:
    249
    Start with non-working outlets and light switches.
    Remove them from the junction box and look for loose or disconnected connections.
    What your electrician is telling you that the outlets could be the "push" connection style where they are known for either the solid core copper breaking or the stab in coming out. If you have these, reattach them using the lugs on the side of the outlet instead of the stab in holes on the back (likewise for the light switches).
     
    plaza likes this.
  6. Mar 26, 2014 #6

    plaza

    plaza

    plaza

    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I understood most of what you said up to here... :eek: "With all of the breakers off and using an extension cord as one of the meter test leads, you may measure some resistance, more than 1/4 ohm, between the short slots on one of the bad outlets and the output terminal of one breaker.
    This is the breaker that serves these outlets."
    Can you dumb it down for me lol
     
  7. Mar 26, 2014 #7

    kok328

    kok328

    kok328

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    2,755
    Likes Received:
    249
    You are checking for continuity between the hot side of the outlet and the breaker (using an extension cord to reach to the panel) in the panel to indicate if this outlet is on that particular breaker. You can automatically rule out any breaker over 20amps and any 2-pole breakers. If you find an outlet that doesn't go to any breaker then there is a break in that circuit somewhere. Again, start behind the outlets and/or switches for loose or broken wires. Sometimes solid core can break under the insulation within a few inches of the connection.
    P.S.- Dumb is my specialty! ;)
     
    nealtw and Wuzzat? like this.

Share This Page