Bathroom Wiring Help ( not experienced at electrical)

far83December 23, 2012

The main lighting in my bathroom went out a long time ago. I had my bro-in-law come install a new and I thought all was pretty good.

Before the new lighting fixture was installed one outlet worked and one didn't next to the light switch. After the light was installed and working the outlet that had power failed also, so no outlets work. I checked the breaker and nothing is tripped. The bathroom does not have a GFI outlet and the house was built in about 1978. I also saw that my washing machine might be on that same circuit as it stopped working also. The circuit breaker lists #7 washer but under that it originally said bathroom GFI. Is there anyway I could find a wiring diagram for my house or trace what went wrong? I appreciate any responses and maybe I can figure this thing out.

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Your bathroom may have two problems, but let's tackle the GFCI first. When GFCI's first came out there were pretty expensive and the requirements for receptacles that needed to be protected were different than today. You probably want to look around see if you can find any GFCIs that are tripped. It could even be in the garage or basement.

It seems odd that one receptacle in the bathroom worked and the other didn't, because of the GFCI. Typically both would be on the same circuit and therefore both would be protected by the GFCI. My first thought would be there there's a bad connection at original, non-working receptacle. Although it's possible that a previous owner added that receptacle and it's not part of the original bathroom circuit. I would suggest being extremely careful if you decide to pull the receptacle because at this point you have no way of knowing if the wires going to it are live.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 12:01AM
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A) Houses do not have wiring diagrams.
B) If you have no electrical experience then tracing and troubleshooting will be next to impossible.

I recommend calling an electrician and chalk up the experience to NOT have your bro-in-law do ANY more electrical work in your home.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 9:22AM
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Alright thanks for the responses. The problem was there before my bro-in-law just turned off the power and installed a light. I probably will call an electrician to tackle this problem.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Ron Natalie

I'd follow Mike Kaiser's advice. Look in every other bathroom and at any exterior or garage or basement receptacles and see if you find one with a GFCI that may be tripped. It was common back when these things were new and expensive to just daisy chain all the required outlets off one of them. I had a similar hunt to find it in my 1970 tract house. It was in a little used powder room off the laundry room.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I went back and looked and did find a tripped GFCI in our converted garage, thanks Mike. I appreciate all the other responses also.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 1:17PM
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