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We are replacing all the light fixtures in our old home. We replaced two light fixtures in three bedrooms. They are all on the same circuit. When we turned the breaker back on, they worked.

Then we moved on to hallway and third bedroom and replaced really old light switches and outlets. We turned the circuit breaker on after installation. In the third bedroom, we turned the wall light switch on, and all appliances turned on momentarily, but then all electricity went out but didn’t trip the circuit breaker.

We re-checked outlets and switches and lights, all the connections are correct... no electricity. I should say our basement lights are also on this same circuit and is working but not any of the bedrooms or hallway. what are we missing?

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    There should be a junction(box or outlet) where the circuit splits between the on section and the off section. That should be near where the problem(loose connection, broken wire) is. Are you using the screws or push in connections?
    – crip659
    Aug 7, 2023 at 15:23
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    and some outlets It is possible some receptacles where (a) switched (or half-switched) and/or (b) used as a daisy-chain between different things. Pictures (ideally before..., but definitely after (current status)) showing wiring to all the changed switches, receptacles and fixtures would help. Aug 7, 2023 at 15:30
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    Did you use the screw terminals on the switches and outlets or the backstabs?
    – JACK
    Aug 7, 2023 at 15:43
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    You said "all the electricity turned off". In the whole house? Or just the circuit?
    – AdamO
    Aug 7, 2023 at 15:58
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    Did you upgrade the "wall electricity" (receptacle) with GFCI? Or are other GFCI outlets found earlier in the circuit that tripped? (GO AND LOOK FOR IT). You have miswired at least one item in the circuit.
    – AdamO
    Aug 7, 2023 at 15:59

1 Answer 1

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Review all your connections.

Sometimes a connection failure will work just like that: it will work for a second then seem to burn out.

The #1 source of trouble for novices is wire nuts: they need to be tightened Very Very Hard. If someone is putting tape on wire nut connections, that's almost proof positive that they're not tightening anywhere near enough, because the motivation of the tape is to keep the connections from falling apart. Believe you me, if they're tight enough, they can't fall apart... heck, you won't even bother pre-twisting once you realize how powerful that is. You could even pre-twist them backwards and proper tightening would re-twist them forward.

At sockets and receptacles, backstab connections are a general nuisance and have this kind of problem all the time.

However, screw-down connections are also a major source of failure due to incorrect screw torque being used. Even pro electricians cannot get torques correct "by feel" - they don't test any better than their spouses. Therefore Code requires use of a torque screwdriver, which is a hand tool and is not anything like a power driver. The torque is generally higher than is possible with Philios, so you may need to use a Robertson or Combination bit.

The happy news for novices looking to avoid all of the above is Wago lever-nuts, and they even make sockets and switches with Lever-nut terminals.

Beware of cheap knockoff Wago's sold mail order. (Including and especially Anazon).

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