I know that sometimes a circuit breaker will be faulty and will not pass power, but I have a situation where I identified a wiring problem where I expected the breaker to trip but it didn't. Is this possible? How can I test that my breakers will trip when a fault is detected?
To explain the situation a bit better: I had a circuit where three outlets worked, while one was faulty and a switched set of lights didn't operate from the switch. When I investigated the faulty outlet I found a stray wire that had pulled out from the back. I removed the outlet completely and rewired the broken electrical chain together. To my surprise, the lights started to operate correctly.
If there was a fault in that outlet, why didn't the breaker trip? What conditions must be met to trip the breaker? I'm pretty sure a live-to-neutral short would trip it, but what about live-to-ground or neutral-to-ground?
Maybe the fault was something other than a short? I can't really fathom what the actual wiring could've been to have caused the symptoms that I observed. If memory serves correctly I believe it was a white neutral wire that was loose. My non-contact voltage sensor indicated that both slots of the outlet were hot.