The case of the mysterious power loss

andcountingJune 8, 2013

Hi,

Our a vintage condo (circa around 1910-11) has recently been having electrical issues.

First, the light switch in the kitchen appeared to have died (once replaced it worked) but then the bedroom that shares a wall has started having issues too - the bedroom ceiling light stopped working, then the outlet on the wall with the kitchen stopped working... now the outlet is working again but the light switch for the ceiling light is cold. We've also tried replacing the ceiling light switch a couple times to no avail (before it went cold).

I'm guessing there is some problem (loose connection? bad wire?) perhaps at the breaker box... maybe in the walls? (Hope not!) Any thoughts on how to pinpoint the issue? I am definitely willing to consult an electrician or handyman, but I'd like to get a better idea of what the issue might be.

Thank you!

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llaatt22

You might be wise to first check with your property manager/board of directors and determine who is responsible for looking after the electrical system maintenance in your unit. Condos often like to keep their utilities systems work restricted to a few tradesmen so they can keep on top of failure trends and future requirements.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 6:59AM
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Ron Natalie

Further, in most places it's illegal to so your own electrical work in multiunit buildings.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 9:24AM
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andcounting

The board has advised me that the wiring system in our building is a limited common element and is exclusively the individual unit owners responsibility. All the wiring from our fusebox into our unit is specific to our unit and would likely not impact anyone else.

Any advice on the issue would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 7:55PM
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Ron Natalie

Being responsible for having it maintained is NOT the same as it being legal for you to do the work. It impacts the other units because if your electrical hacking sets your unit on fire, you endanger your neighboring units. The allowance for single-family home owners poking at their own wiring DOES NOT generally applied to multi-unit buildings.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:21PM
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