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timbog

09:07PM | 12/03/05
Member Since: 12/03/05
1 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
Came home to a tripped breaker on an INTERIOR lights & plugs circuit. Pulled the load off the circuit, plugged in a circuit tester, flipped on the breaker, got a momentary "open neutral" light before the breaker tripped out again. Have not seen the flicker or bright lights typical of an open neutral. Did have a painter working the outside today. Only stuff not working outside are patio cileing fans, could/ should they be on an interior circuit (legally)?, didn't look like they were touched though. Could he be the culprit??! I'll start to play hide & seek tomorrow, but what else could cause this problem?

Billhart

03:54AM | 12/04/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
There is no such thing.

A few types of circuits are restricted to specific areas (bath, washer, and kitchen small appliances).

But there is no such thing as an interiror or exterior circuit. You can have anykind of loads on them.

While it is best to have circuits logically organized for an area this application might logically organized that all the loads are in the immediate area.

And this kind of stuff often happens in remodeling/add ons. They find a near by circuit to work with. And if the outlets are not near by they might have found the cable running "nearby" in the attic/basement and tappped into that.

Now it is possible that the paint "triggered" the problem. If the fan had a bad connection he might have pushed on the base enough to move it say 1/4" and the connection came loose.

But that is the the fault of the painter.


MistressEll

11:56AM | 12/06/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
perhaps the painter disconnected a lighting/fan fixture during his painting, then re-connected it incorrectly, mistaking a line neutral for a switch lead in one of the fixture boxes. another possibility is that it wasn't wired correctly in the first place (switching netural), or that he merely let the still attached fixture "hang" by its wiring but disconnected it from the fixture box, something has slipped loose, and is now causing contact where it shouldn't...like for example a neutral uncapped and disconnected.

Another possibility is that all may be initially connected as should be, but the actions/movements etc. have exposed the wiring (insulation cracked, crumbling age, etc.) and you have a fault somewhere or the wiring within the insulation has broken/frayed.

I'd interrogate the painter extensively, and if you don't feel qualified...contact a licensed electrician immediately to diagnose and correct the problem. If its something the painter is responsible for...seek recovery from him, but I wouldn't allow him to personally work with your wiring.

househelper

04:40AM | 12/07/05
Member Since: 03/31/05
265 lifetime posts
By "momentary" do you mean the breaker stayed on long enough for you to move from the panel to the test device to observe the lights, or did someone else turn on the breaker while you observed a quick flash? If the breaker trips immediately, that implies a dead short. If it stays on for a few seconds then trips, that implies an overload from an attached appliance. Which is it?
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