There are a number of reasons why you could have the circuit breaker on but no power. This article will help you understand the problem better and what best steps to take before you call an electrician.
The number one reason why you could have a circuit breaker on but no power is the circuit breaker sometimes looks tripped but it really isn’t. The breaker can be in the on position and fool you. We recommend firmly using your index finger on the end of the breaker to hold it in place while you set it back to the off and then on position.
Top 5 Reasons Why You Could Have Circuit Breaker On But No Power
- Faulty Circuit Breaker
- Broken Wire Causing No Power
- GFCI Needs To Be Reset
- Wire Has Melted Off
- Hidden Switch You Don’t Know About
1. Faulty Circuit Breaker
There good be a very likely possibility that is the top method doesn’t work then it could be a faulty circuit breaker. We have seen this from time to time but its not the end of the world. Try flipping it back and forth a few times before calling an electrician.
If the breaker feels “spongy” and not firm then it is most likely not reset. Be sure to firmly shut it off and then back on.
More on circuit breakers here.
2. Broken Wire Causing No Power
The next issue could be a broken wire with in the circuit. If a neutral or hot wire comes loose over time it will cause this issue. If you have recently done renovations yourself and changed any light fixtures chances are you did not get the wire nut tight. Unfortunately if this does not fix the issue then you are probably in need of a service call.
3. GFCI Needs To Be Reset
We see this one a lot and it can drive even the best electrician batty if you can’t find the gfci outlet that is tripped. Even though the power is back on to the breaker if the gfci has faulted then there would be no power coming out the other side of it feeding the rest of the circuit.
Gfci outlets are designed for anything “downwind” of it to be ground fault protected. Electricians often use these inline with a circuit to protect potential electrical devices that could come in contact with water. These are also used to act like a false ground in the event that you have older wiring somewhere in the house.
You can find more on gfcis here.
4.Wire Has Melted Off
In all electrical wiring over time it can become loose or have a loose connection. This causes what we call arcing. Arcing causes heat which may not necessarily cause the breaker to trip. In fact it might just melt the wire connection to the plug, light of device right off from the circuit.
If the circuit can not complete then you will have not power to it . A lot of newer devices and appliances can be power hogs especially kitchen appliances so if you already have a loose wire and it is put under load then chances are it will melt the wire off.
5. Hidden Switch You Don’t Know About
We do get a lot of service calls especially around Christmas from customers saying that they can’t get any power to their outside plugs to plug in their Christmas lights. When we go on the service call we often find that there is a hidden switch behind a door that you missed to turn on.
Loss Of Power From The Utility
The loss of power from the utility can be frustrating at the best of times. It can be even more frustrating when you only loose partial power or what we call “dropping a phase”. This happens when you have loose connections on the utility line coming into the house or property.
You can usually tell by only half the stuff working in you house. A safe way to be sure is to try your 240 volt appliances like your stove. You can also try your electrical heaters.
Power from the utility comes in from the transformer as 120/ 240 volt. So if you loose one size of that then all of your 240 volt power consumers will not work as they need both lines to get 240 volt. You can place a regular outage call you your utility provider to double check it is on their end. It does not cost anything.
No Power To Lights
No power to lights can be a common issue as well. Sometimes it can be the switch or the light itself. If you reset the breaker and still have no power you might want to look for a faceless gfci. A faceless gfci looks the same as a regular gfci but has no place to plug anything into.
These are designed specifically to act as a false ground to the circuit it protects. Often un grounded or know and tube lighting. If it detects any difference between the hot an neutral wire it will instantly pop leaving you with not lights. These faceless gfci’s are often set in a separate box next to your panel and have a little green light. They have a reset and test button just like a regular gfci. Try this because most times this is the problem.
No Power to Outlets
Last week we had a service call to a customer that was having an issue with no power to plugs. Once we arrived at the home and did some investigation. We found out that he was using a large pump to clean his hot tub plugged into the outside plug.
That outside plug was connected to a gfci in his bathroom. It took us a while to find it but it goes to show when you come across stuff like this you should make notes so that you don’t forget the next time.
More on devices we recommend here.