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Electrical problem

We have a 40 year old house. We have had electrical problems before. Right now our two bathrooms, hallway and our bedroom is in the dark. We had somebody come look at it. It was a favor to us.

He is a commercial electrician. We discovered that there is a short somewhere, but did not find the root of the problem. Another friend suggested to get in touch with SMUD and have them come check it for free. But wife told me that she has done that in the past and because it is in our home, SMUD will not do it, because we do have partial power in the house. The problem is that the power was coming on and as soon as we turned on another switch the power would go off. But now part of the house is dead.

We need some help! Thanks.

Re: Electrical problem

Imateos, when you close the switch that kills the power do you have to reset the breaker (or replace a fuse) to get the power to come back on in the affected areas?

If you have to reset a breaker you have a direct short which could be caused by a nail being driven into a cable, while hanging a picture.

If the power comes back by itself you probably have a loose connection which will not allow a heavy load to pass. This is the most dangerous condition because the poor connection is probably getting hot.

Ask yourself what you did or what happened just before you first saw the problem.

Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
Maurice Turgeon, http://thesemi-retiredelectrician.com

Re: Electrical problem

What Maurice said plus,

Go around and feel the outlets and switches for the hot spot. That may help you locate the poor connection.

Was there any recent electrical work? Pictures hung? Phone wires or TV cable run? Other construction or repairs?

Normally we start looking at the working outlets on the edge of the un-powered area closest to the breaker panel. Second place to look is dimmer switches as the wire caps/nuts may have come loose or were improperly installed.

Re: Electrical problem

Another possibility is that you may have a MWBC that is a multi wire branch circuit with a shared neutral that has a loose connection possible in the main panel. This can cause all sorts of strange symptoms including lights at half brightness, lights only work when 2 switches are on, or lights going out when multiple switches are on.


Re: Electrical problem

I'm guessing theres an issue with the neutral at the panel but its a random guess. Either way this one is pretty serious and you should probably call a pro.

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