Remodeling HACKS are a real pain in the butt!
Getting ready to start another day of electrical troubleshooting here at home. Hopefully this problem will be simpler than the one I just corrected. I'd like to find the guy who did the remodel work on my kitchen and kick his butt, he deserves it.
Quite a while ago I had a problem with a couple GFI outlets in my kitchen. They just quit working. I did some checking and figured one of them was bad. There were two GFI's in the same box but I decided to replace both of them so I picked up a couple and got to work. After getting them installed, they still didn't work. I knew that the chances of the original units being bad as well as TWO new units was virtually one in many billion so I did some more checking. It turned out that I had lost the neutral in the circuit feeding that box. I had 120V between the hot and the ground but not the hot and the neutral. I spent a LOT of time trying to figure it out but just couldn't. I decided to let it be for a bit and get an electrician in to look at it. Well I just quit using the outlets and got used to using the other outlets in the kitchen. Then a couple weeks ago, the light above the sink just quit working. No breakers tripped or anything, it just stopped working. I decided it was time for more investigative work. I had to get these problems solved!
Monday morning I dug into the lost neutral problem again. I spent the better part of the day and still couldn't figure it out. Then I talked to a friend who used to be an electrician and he said that he had a Greenlee Circuit Tracer that I could borrow. I went yesterday and picked it up. I'm glad that I did because it helped immensely! To make a long story short, I found where the neutral had been lost. Here's the kicker, whoever remodeled my kitchen in the past decided to bury a junction box in a wall and cover it up with drywall mud! Had he not done that, it would have been a quick and simple fix. At this point I've got two big holes in the drywall to patch. One in the wall (behind the wall cabinet I had to remove) and one in the ceiling. The former outlet box was in the wall behind a cabinet that was installed for a snack bar. He decided that instead of just cutting an access hole in the back of the cabinet, that he'd just put a solid metal cover plate on the box. Then he pushed it back into the wall just far enough to be below the surface and he hit it with a bunch of mud. Once I found the box it was a simple fix. When I opened the box, I found that whoever wired it (more than likely HIM) did a lousy job with the wirenut on the neutral side and the one wire wasn't making good contact and eventually lost connection. Oh yeah, he just moved the outlet up the wall to a point above the cabinet and used the original box for a tie point. But he used a short length of 14 gauge wire and added it to the 20 amp 12 gauge circuit! I HATE HACKS!!!
That issue is now solved and working correctly. I get to spend today trying to figure out why the light above the sink doesn't work. Hopefully it will be an easier fix that the last one. I hope it's not another LONG day like yesterday was!
"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"