Sudden low voltage from electrical outlets?

Help Support House Repair Talk:

Harryc

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Today while I was using power tools on the deck, my saw decided to stop working. Turns out that the outlet it was plugged into suddenly lost power along with 2 others in the house. I checked the breaker, and it was fine. I did decided to replace it however (its a 15a). Strangely enough, not all the outlets that are on the circuit stopped working. There is an outlet that my computer and TV reciever are plugged into, and they work fine. They are reading 117 volts, while 2 of the dead ones are reading 17 volts, and the one outside which is a safety outlet, is reading a measly 4 volts. I replaced all 3 outlets with no luck. I am at a loss. What could be wrong?
 

inspectorD

Housebroken
Joined
Dec 17, 2005
Messages
4,529
Reaction score
277
One of your main lines/legs comming into the panel may be loose. Does your electric stove work, if you have one?
Be careful, it can cause a fire.
 

Harryc

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
I do not have an electric stove.
Let me explain a little more in detail as to what happened. I was sawing wood using a rotary miter saw when the saw just stopped. It was plugged into a gfi outlet on the outside of my house. Also, all the clocks in my master bedroom stopped working, as did the hallway light. All the outlets read zero volts when I put the 15 amp breaker in the off position, and read 17.6 volts when the breaker is switched on. Keep in mind however that it is only these 3 outlets plus a ceiling light that is not working. Other items on the same breaker work fine...(this computer for example). I replaced all three outlets and tested the wires with the outlets removed to make sure it wasn't a bad outlet. The bare leads all read 17.6 volts. I am guessing that the saw did somthing...what I don't know. I just don't know where to look at this point. What would cause a trickle of voltage to just three outlets, and full power to the rest on the circuit?
 

hondadrv24

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
188
Reaction score
2
maybe the wires going from the last one that works to the first one that doesn't got loose?? sounds like a dangerous situation, hope you get it figured out quick or definitely get an electrician out there to inspect and repair.
Justin
 

kok328

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
3,213
Reaction score
381
I'm thinking you burned up some wire. What is the amp rating on your saw?
 

glennjanie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2006
Messages
2,990
Reaction score
7
Hello HarryC:
I'm going with the burned wire in a junction box somewhere along the line, Or perhaps a wire has slipped out of a wire nut.
This is the sort of thing that happens frequently with aluminum wire but I shudder to think you have that problem.
Glenn
 

Harryc

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
problem solved.

A wire nut in a ceiling light did not have its wires twisted together, but rather just stuck in the wire nut and screwed on. This appearently caused some resistance and the wire nut melted, hence creating a poor electrical connection. Last place I looked too. :)
 

hondadrv24

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
188
Reaction score
2
funny how its always the last place we look that we find the problem and solution:D :D
Justin
 

robsvtwin

New Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2013
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
HarryC, I had the same problem. two out of five receptacles had showed 105v the other three were 120v. I opened all the receptacles and one of the 105v receptacles had a slightly melted wire cap. I re-tightened the wires and added a new cap with nocks goo. Thanks for your post!
 

CallMeVilla

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
1,657
Reaction score
598
Had your circuit been protected with an arc fault (not the GFCI), it would have tripped. As I read the responses from you and other folks, it sounded like an intermittent disconnect along the line somewhere. DANGEROUS.

Re-twist the nuts and tape them off. I would check others laong the circuit to make sure there are no more loose connections. The electrician probably got sloppy or tired when the house was built. If the wires gague can handle it, you might consider a 20A breaker on the line too. Sounds like you potentially have a lot going on!

Now, get off the computer and get back to work on the deck ....... :D
 

nealtw

Contractor retired
Joined
Nov 4, 2010
Messages
24,775
Reaction score
3,411
Location
Chiliwack BC Canada
Villa: "you might consider a 20A breaker on the line too. Sounds like you potentially have a lot going on!"

You may want to reconsider this statement, The breaker never tripped, and there is a lot going on. I think if the wire were big enough , it would have a bigger breaker. Even if the wire is heavy enough at the plug and the box , you would have to check every connection to make sure there is no 14 anywhere.
 

CallMeVilla

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
1,657
Reaction score
598
I would think his breaker is possibly faulty, so I needed replacing anyway. However, I wonder if the circuit is undersized? 12 NB would work fine and (yes) if it was originally wired with #14 then he has a problem. That is why I suggested checking the wire gauge first. :D
 

manwiththething

New Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Everyone who discussed possible solutions and great advice on repairing this dilemma of having a reduced voltage current flow, thank you. For those who enjoy saying things like "that's dangerous!" or "That's scary!" "Or, you have bad luck now!" leave it to yourself. We mature, sane, civil adults need to act like adults. We aren't children. When we have to fix something, being fidgety and paranoid is unacceptable. If your paranoid in this discussion, then you shouldn't own a house and perhaps you should move in with a family member to take care of you.
 
H

havasu

Guest
You commented on a thread which is between 5 and 10 years old. Who is paranoid now? ;)
 

slownsteady

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Messages
7,092
Reaction score
1,417
Location
Sussex County, NJ
Some people who read these threads are novices. The guys were just making it clear that this could have been a dangerous situation. It wasn't like they were saying "Ewww, gross!"
 

KULTULZ

JACK of All Trades ~ MASTER of NONE
Joined
Oct 18, 2015
Messages
361
Reaction score
84
:rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

fiberpro3640

New Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
2
Reaction score
3
I had the same problem. My bathroom outlet and 2 outside outlets quit working and were registering approx. 89 volts. the rest of the load araes such as lights were working just fine.
I traced the problem to the GFI outlet in the other bathroom. all I did was reset it and then everything came back to good working order. I suspect maybe someone in my household may have triggered the fault and when they pushed the reset button it didn't get pushed all the way to where it clicked. figured I post this result in case someone else has the same issue and can save some time by checking and testing all the GFI's that may be on the circuit in question
 

Latest posts

Top