My wife called me home from work because the lights in several rooms stopped working.
I came home expecting a tripped circuit breaker or GFCI, but I found no such thing. Instead, after pulling out my non-contact voltage detector, I discovered that there was indeed voltage on the lines, both in the hot and neutral portions of my wall receptacles. I checked the lights and they were hot, even with the switch off, which led me to believe again that the neutral and hot were shorted.
I poked around and the only thing plugged in was a surge protector for my TV and various entertainment system devices. I unplugged all of the devices, leaving the surge protector plugged in, and nothing changed.
I unplugged the surge protector to check that receptacle, and everything seemed fine, so I plugged it back in. The TV standby light came on, and after checking all of my plugs and lights were working again and the short seemed to be gone.
So, should I be worried? Was the surge protector just doing its job, or is it bad? Should I be concerned that the breaker did not trip?