Aluminum Wiring

superman1973November 4, 2012

Afer using a hair dryer in the bathroom, lost power to receptacles in both the bathroom and 1 bedroom. Wierd thing is, the 15 amp fuse that powers those 2 rooms also powers another bedroom, which is ok. I know that because if I pull the fuse, there is no power to the 2nd bedroom either and also no power in receptacles in 3rd bedroom. When fuse put back, power good in 2nd and 3rd rooms. I tightened all connections on all receptacles and light fixtures. In the 1st bedroom light fixture, there are 3 black wires, 3 white wires, 1 red wire, and grounds to the box. I have 120v on all 3 black to neutrals, 120v at 1 neutral to ground. The rest are 0. Where to go from here? I made a few holes in the bathroom walls and found 12/2 gauge alum wire used. I was also able to peek in the attic crawl space, and saw some 14/2 wire.. Cannot pinpoint which is which?? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance..

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Forgot to mention in the above post, all receptacles tested and show circuit ok. Eventhough there is 120v coming into receptacles, no power coming out. Nothing plugged in works.. Thanks Again for the support..

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:36PM
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Your have a high-resistance connection in the circuit. There is enough conduction to show a full 120v potential on your meter under no-load conditions, but when a load is applied, not enough current can pass through the connection to power it and the voltage drops. I'd look for the last device on the live part of the circuit and the first device on the dead part of the circuit to find the bad connection. With aluminum wiring, corrosion is frequently the culprit. White and powdery, not the rusty red type, and often where it connects to copper.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:20PM
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The last device on the live circuit I believe is the ceiling/light fixture in bedroom 2. In ceiling fixture in bedroom 1, how do I determine which wire(s) are coming from bedroom 1 ? Since all three black wires showed 120 volts up in fixture? I think there is a branch circuit up there? 1 set of wires ( black/white/ground ), 2nd ( black/white/RED,ground ), and 3rd set ( black/white/ground ). These must branch off to the light switch, bathroom, and receptacles? Does that seem correct? What should my readings be from blk to neutral on each set of wires? And what should neutral to ground be ? Thanks again...

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:09PM
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What do you mean by "all receptacles tested and show circuit ok"??? If this is the case, I'm not seeing the problem.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:41AM
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When was your house built or wired?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:33PM
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All receptacles show 120 v, tester shows circuit ok. However, when I plug anything into any of the receptacles, nothing works. I believe the home was built in mid 60-70's. which would explain the aluminum wiring. Hope this helps, thanks

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Have you checked at the bathroom light fixture, or the bedrooms 2 and 3 light fixtures? They might have used these light boxes as junction points to feed the receptacle and the bedrooms.

How are the bathroom, bedrooms and fuse panel located in relationship to each other? As Randy427 mentioned, the culprit is likely to be either at the last working device or the first non-working device, so knowing which bedroom likely receives power first might help pinpoint that.

Also, you mentioned a red wire in the light of bedroom 1; that red wire is probably the switched hot for the light. If it is, check at the switch box. It's possible that the feed for the bathroom is in that box, even if the light still works. If the other bedroom light boxes have a red wire, follow that as well.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 4:42PM
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You're exactly right, I will have to locate the last working receptacle,which also gets it feed from the power source being bedroom 2. I'm currently @ work ( LOL ), but I will double check all that when I get home. I will post a follow-up later.. Thank you everyone for your assistance, greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:39PM
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Great News !!! I found the culprit, a hidden receptacle which was actually located behind a huge Armoire. It was all melted, and I found the cause to be a ground that had slipped off. I have since capped all the wires coming out until I get a chance to go buy new wire. All power flow is back to everything that was previously affected. I thank all who responded with informative suggestions. Hopefully I won't run into this again. P.S, is it safe to have capped off the wires in the meantime ? ( Wire Nuts )

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:17PM
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