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Yesterday a contractor was doing work in our bedroom. At one point he plugged in a hammering drill and when he used it it blew the fuse. We confirmed the 15amp fuse was dead but I didn't have a replacement. After he left I replaced it but found out power was not restored. It is definitely the one fuse - all others are fine. What could it be?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Sounds like either your replacement fuse is bad or perhaps it is not fully screwed in. First thing, try another new fuse.

While you are replacing it, visually inspect the connection. You are looking for burns or other debris.

The other possibility is that he overloaded the circuit to the point where a connection or wire failed somewhere. If you have a non-contact voltage tester handy, I would verify that there is voltage being detected on the wire directly outside of the panel for that circuit. If there is power here but not at the outlet further downstream then you will need to find out where the failure point is by tracing the circuit and testing it at several locations. If there is no power being detected immediately after the panel then the bad/failed connection might be in the panel itself.

Your best bet might be to call an electrician to help you out. This type of scenario can be dangerous and indicate poorly terminated wires or incorrectly sized wires.

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They came back and did their own testing. They said the neutral failed somewhere along the line and needs to be replaced. THe line is original to the house which is from 1962. They said these kinds of lines can erode over time and a surge of power could break them. Agree? – MorganTiley Sep 2 '12 at 1:13
It can certainly happen. An electrician can confirm this. An open neutral can be a very dangerous in some cases and can cause higher then expected voltages - make sure to keep that circuit de-energized until the issue is resolved. It doesn't necessarily have to be the wire - often it will fail at the point of connection in an electrical box (outlet, switch, etc.) – Steven Sep 2 '12 at 1:31
Thanks for the help! – MorganTiley Sep 2 '12 at 12:05

In many older homes in New England the orignal electrical service was not in the basement. The service panel was inside the residence mounted to the wall near the service attachment to the house. Typically the service was 60 amps or less. Many tiimes when the service was updated the original service was left in place with 20 amp fuses in series with the 15 amp fuses of the new service. The end result is a fuse in the middle of the circuit that could be covered up or above a suspended ceiling. Codes were not always enforced 100 years ago as stringently as they are now.

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