Sign In to join the community | Help

Several rooms out

60 year old home, older wiring, the bathroom wiring was updated but on the same breaker as before.  Lights were on, a fan was then plugged into a GFCI outlet which blew the power in several rooms.  The breaker in the panel did not blow.  All breakers were flipped hard to off then back to on, including the main switch.  Still no power in several rooms.  The rest of the house is fine.  Tried to reset the GFCI, it didn't click so I disconnected it, flipped breakers again, rooms still out.  Replaced GFCI with a standard outlet , lights still out.  Replaced the breaker, lights still out.  Would you have any suggestions what to try next?   or maybe the order I tried things needed to be done differently??  Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance for your time and knowledge.
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2015-04-03T13:38:32+0000  by rajukna rajukna
Hello Roger.  Welcome to the Community!

Interesting dilemma.

I recommend that you use a multimeter to check for voltage on the suspect circuit.
Start with your breaker panel and check for 120 volts, (use the 300V setting), on each back hot terminal of your breakers.  Since you have them all switched to ON, every screw in the back should show power leading out to their respective branch circuit.

Once you know power has left the panel, it's time to look at individual outlets and switches.

That GFCI outlet that you plugged the fan into is the next place to go.
GFCI outlets have terminals for "LINE IN" and "LOAD"
The purpose here is to allow a GFCI to also protect parts of the circuit that are downstream of the outlet by attaching the GFCI in series with them using the "LOAD" side.
Older GFCI outlets would work if these are reversed, but newer ones will not.
I know you mentioned that you replaced the GFCI that "blew" with a regular outlet, and it still does not work.
Makes me wonder if you have the wiring mixed up, hooking up the hot and neutral from "downstream" and capping off the real hot coming from the panel.

That's one way that you could still have the problems you see.
A multimeter test on the hot wires coming into that box will tell you which is the panel hot feed, and which is the downstream hot which would be without power when loose.

Please be careful testing wires which are energized.  If you are uncertain or uncomfortable doing this, a licensed electrician can track down the problem safely and quickly.

That's my 2¢.


Posted 2015-04-03T16:28:12+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
Look for another GFCI somewhere, anywhere.  At one point GFCI's were very expensive and the requirements for their use far less rigorous than today.  I owned a home where the GFCI that protected the upstairs bathroom was in the garage.

Posted 2015-04-03T17:44:02+0000  by Adam444
I'm with Chris, rahukna!

Please consider a licensed electrician.

Though you sound capable, replacing a GFCI with a standard outlet seemed like a warning sign to me.

My neighbor had a similar problem and upon searching, we found the GFCI in the garage.

I have also seen them link upstairs and downstairs circuits.

If you want to DIY,  unplug everything from the circuit, flip the breaker off until you hear it click, re-install a new GFCI in the original location, flip the breaker back on until you hear it click. 

Then test again.

If you cannot activate the circuit, follow the steps Chris recommends until you locate the resistance.
Posted 2015-04-09T16:34:02+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question