haunted power outlet

Baron DirigibleBaron Dirigible Registered User regular
So, uh, first things first, I'm calling a young electrician and an old electrician in the morning.

Until then, though: is it possible for a power outlet to, uh, reverse itself?

My fridge light stopped working tonight, and after about an hour without hearing the compressor kick in, I thought maybe the entire fridge had stopped working. (It's only a month old, so I figure it's even odds that it could be dodgy from the factory.) As a last-ditch resort, I did the IT standby of turning it off and on again -- only for the fridge to kick in immediately after I turned the switch off at the wall.

Right now my only theory is that the switch itself failed in the hour or so between me getting home and starting to make dinner. But I've never heard of anything like this happening before, so I thought I'd cast the question over to the H&A hivemind to see if a) anybody can tell me what the hell's going on, and b) how concerned I should be?

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    I have no solution but I love the combo of the title and avatar

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  • HandgimpHandgimp R+L=J Family PhotoRegistered User regular
    By switch do you mean the circuit breaker, or a wall switch that controls the outlet?

    If the latter, you may have another switch that also is controlling that outlet and caused the confusion.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Did you buy a fridge powered on entropy? If so there is your problem.

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  • Baron DirigibleBaron Dirigible Registered User regular
    Handgimp wrote: »
    By switch do you mean the circuit breaker, or a wall switch that controls the outlet?

    If the latter, you may have another switch that also is controlling that outlet and caused the confusion.
    Sorry, wall outlet. I checked the circuit breaker's and nothing's been tripped.

    I'd prefer not to entertain the idea there's a second switch somewhere controlling the outlet. I was home alone when the fridge stopped working, but there is an attic space above the kitchen...

    Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    I was home alone when the fridge stopped working, but there is an attic space above the kitchen...

    nRHNHGY5EZUF4.jpg

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  • Baron DirigibleBaron Dirigible Registered User regular
    DISREGARD MY EARLIER QUERY

    THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS NOW

    ENJOY YOUR DAY, FLESHLINGS

    Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
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  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    @Baron Dirigible, can you tell us what you found? I'm very curious what the resolution was.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    BlazeFire wrote: »
    "Baron Dirigible", can you tell us what you found? I'm very curious what the resolution was.
    I'm going to guess he tripped the kitchen GFCI realized he had done that, and when he reset it, everything was fine.

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Either that, or he's been possessed by the former ghost of the kitchen outlet.
    If that's the case, I hope the ghost is happy in his temporary meat shell. It's a bit more maintenance than an electrical outlet, but with proper care it should last you long enough to take care of whatever unfinished business binds you to this mortal coil. I'm guessing you need to take vengeance on an electrician or hardware installation person?

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
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  • CaedwyrCaedwyr Registered User regular
    I had a problem where some of the outlets in the kitchen stopped working, but there didn't appear to be any problems. Turns out the issue was the kitchen outlets were on a double breaker, but tripping one of the circuits was not enough to move the breaker switch for the double breaker. The problem was resolved by deliberately resetting the double breaker.

  • Baron DirigibleBaron Dirigible Registered User regular
    BlazeFire wrote: »
    @Baron Dirigible, can you tell us what you found? I'm very curious what the resolution was.
    Sorry, no resolution yet!

    Re: GFCIs, I'm not sure I have any? The only things I know about are circuit breakers and surge protectors. It's a relatively old house but I know the wiring was all professionally redone no earlier than 2000. This particular outlet isn't near any water sources, in any case. (It's hidden away in an alcove and only serves the fridge, and possibly also Cthulhu).

    In any case the issue isn't with an outlet not working, but rather an outlet working when it shouldn't (switch is in the off position).

    Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    2000 is well within the realm of GFCI. The GFCI would be near a sink and have some buttons to test/reset the circuit. Good chance the switch is just reversed in general.

    E: However, a fridge is unlikely to be on the same circuit as the GFCI. It should be on it's own isolated circuit IIRC (that means no switches or anything to it).

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  • Baron DirigibleBaron Dirigible Registered User regular
    I may be wrong on the timeline, actually -- the fridge is in an extension built in the late 80s, and I'm almost certain the wiring in the original house was updated post-extension, but perhaps the extension wiring was left alone. In any case I don't think I have any GFCIs in the front either, but I'll ask the electrician about that when he comes. (Will call in an hour.) How recent are they?

    Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I may be wrong on the timeline, actually -- the fridge is in an extension built in the late 80s, and I'm almost certain the wiring in the original house was updated post-extension, but perhaps the extension wiring was left alone. In any case I don't think I have any GFCIs in the front either, but I'll ask the electrician about that when he comes. (Will call in an hour.) How recent are they?

    1970ish is when they started to become common in homes, IIRC.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    if it was rewired the fridge could be on its on circuit, but if the outlets are all on the same breaker, a gfci will be on the loop to protect all the outlets and if its tripped will take them all down

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    for code NEC has a letter of interpretation for the pre 2011 code that only requires anything that could be plugged into the gfci from the counter requiring it to be on the circuit, however some jurisdictions go more stringent and require any outlet within 8 feet of the faucet to require one. Figuring out code is complex. I have a consultant I literally pay to handle this shit for me for permits.

  • Baron DirigibleBaron Dirigible Registered User regular
    As an update, the electrician came and replaced the outlet, and all is good now. He's no wiser as to why it failed now than I am, just that "it's broken".

    On the plus side, he noticed one of our circuit breakers is 32A when it should be 16A, which is dangerous.

    On the down side, he smashed our toilet seat when he dropped his drill onto it, making this a terrible fetch quest.
    I asked him to replace another outlet in the ensuite. We do not keep our fridge near the toilet.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    At least toilet seats are cheap and easy to replace.

    Plus, an excuse to get one that doesn't slam!

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  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    As an update, the electrician came and replaced the outlet, and all is good now. He's no wiser as to why it failed now than I am, just that "it's broken".

    On the plus side, he noticed one of our circuit breakers is 32A when it should be 16A, which is dangerous.

    On the down side, he smashed our toilet seat when he dropped his drill onto it, making this a terrible fetch quest.
    I asked him to replace another outlet in the ensuite. We do not keep our fridge near the toilet.

    is dropping your drill a euphemism?

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    CalicaElvenshae
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