Lost power to 2nd floor on siding installation

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by rjsob, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. rjsob

    rjsob New Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    They started work on resided our house today and "coincidently" we lost power to the entire 2nd floor. The contractor has an electrician coming out tomorrow, but I am not sure I should trust someone with a direct relation to the siding contractor.

    It sure feels like cause and effect. I am just looking for a second opinion. Any recommendations, suggestions would be helpful.

    No. Virginia area.
  2. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Apr 2, 2008
    What specific work were they doing when power was lost?

    It could be they had their power equipment plugged into this circuit and it just tripped a breaker. (Things like air compressors can use a lot of power!)

    Also contractors extention cords will become worn and tend to trip GFI breakers.

    Or if they were drilling / sawing into the wall, they could have cut a wire.

    If nailing, they might have punctured a wire in the wall with a nail.

    Or there could be a loose connection somewhere and they could have been just hammering and this caused the connection to break.
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  4. rjsob

    rjsob New Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    Mainly nailing up the new siding. The circuit breaker for the rooms just trips almost instantly when you try to reset it. We have turned off everything and unplugged - but it still trips. Their explanation was the hammering causing a wire on an outlet to come loose. I just didn't know how plausible that was.
  5. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Nov 23, 2006
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    Although not impossible, the "loose wire" theory is not very probable. It is more likely someone drove a nail into a run of wire and has caused a direct short. Maybe the electrician will know how to connect a bell or buzzer that will go silent when the offending nail is pulled, then leave the warning system connected for the remainder of the job. I grew up in an RV factory, and that is how we monitored the wiring of each unit while any nailing, screwing or stapling to its walls was being done.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Connect a toner to the outlet and then touch each nail. If one shorted the wire it will complete the circuit when the wire touches the nail's head. Once you find the problem it still has to be repaired, and not just by pulling the nail out.
  7. rjsob

    rjsob New Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    Thanks all. We will give that a try and talk with the electrician.

    Is it reasonable to assume their work caused the problem and that the siding contractor would be responsible for the repair costs? They seem to be hedging about responsibility.
  8. mc_1_2_3

    mc_1_2_3 New Member

    May 22, 2008
    Biomedical Equipment Technician
    Western Pennsylvania
    If they damaged something, they should definitely pay. If something came loose because of the hammering, then you will likely have to pay since it would have eventually came loose anyway.
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    The fact that it continues to trip the breaker suggests that a nail hit a wire and caused a short. They may be able to eliminate the short by removing the nail, but that doesn't fix the problem.

    The wire should be repaired or replaced to make it safe. That means finding the point of damage.

    If they discover that the cable went through a stud less than 1 1/4" from the edge of the stud then they may say that you are responsible because it doesn't meet code requirements.
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