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  • Open neutral?

    Our dishwasher was full of water this morning, so we figured it had quit mid-cycle. Attempts to re-start it showed no power. I pulled it out, unplugged it (it's not hard wired) and ran an extension cord to another outlet and it worked!

    I plugged my little outlet tester into where it had been plugged and it lit up for "open neutral". We haven't been doing any work, electrical or otherwise around where this circuit is and I'm wondering what the problem could be?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  • #2
    Re: Open neutral?

    You can check these out : bad outlet, bad connection @ outlet ( back stabbing is famous for this) , bad connection @ panel box. Is this the only thing on this circuit ? If so mice ( have fun finding the break). If not bad connection down stream.
    Last edited by MR.FUDD; 10-28-2011, 01:35 PM. Reason: spelling

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    • #3
      Re: Open neutral?

      Turn off the breaker and open up the receptacle box. Most likely the neutral wire came off or is loose. Should be very easy to locate.
      Licensed Electrician

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      • #4
        Re: Open neutral?

        Aluminum wiring.

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        • #5
          Re: Open neutral?

          Thanks to all for your responses and no it wasn't aluminum wiring. Checked the connections and couldn't find anything wrong.

          The line I had tapped for the dishwasher was originally a line that led to a utility shed in the backyard. I saw it fed with a 20 amp breaker at the panel, so I thought this would be good to feed off for the dw and plus it ran right under the kitchen. I found this problem with open neutral back then and called in an electrician..he found that the line was actually carrying 240 v to the shed (someone must have been doing something heavy like welding out there). I guess they do that by crossing the white and black wires somewhere? I asked him to straighten it out and just put the dw on that circuit as I didn't even need power at the shed anymore. He said my panel was out of date and he couldn't get any breakers for it, so he just wired that line into something else, but never told me what. In trying to find which circuit it was on (so I could turn it off) we found he had hooked it into my furnace (gas hwbb) breaker.

          Still a mystery as to what happened, but I plugged the dw into another kitchen outlet and capped off the other line in the crawl space.

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          • #6
            Re: Open neutral?

            Check the neutral connection in the panel, I have seen them loosen before. I was working on a kitchen remodel once and the lights over the island would only come on dimly. The home owner asked if I had any idea why and took a quick look. There was an open neutral, so I opened the panel to find the neutral screw loose for that circuit on the grounding bar. So I tightened it and all was good. Just for the heck of it, I checked the rest, half the neutral connections and grounds were somewhat loose. A few breakers had loose connections as well. Tightened them all down nice and snug for them. Would have hated to see this house burn with a large family living there.

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            • #7
              Re: Open neutral?

              This electrician may have used a neutral from another circuit which is a NO NO! Since you know where the line as you call it runs under the kitchen, why not pull a new circuit (line) from the panel to the dishwasher. Its easier than troubleshooting what you have. Just remove the old wire and disconnect it from the j-box it originates from. It either comes out of a box or the panel. If he just tapped it from another cable it is a violation and could be dangerous.
              Do the right and smart thing. Pull a new 12/2 NM cable from the panel to the dishwasher.
              Last edited by John Valdes; 10-30-2011, 02:20 PM.
              Licensed Electrician

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              • #8
                Re: Open neutral?

                Not an electrician but doubthat codes allow the dishwasher line to be shared with anything else.
                I would run a new #12 AWG dedicated line righto the dishwasher and lable its 20-amp circuit breaker.
                If heating element and motor run simultaneously, that can draw lot of current.
                I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
                It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
                "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

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                • #9
                  Re: Open neutral?

                  Originally posted by Robert Gift View Post
                  Not an electrician but doubthat codes allow the dishwasher line to be shared with anything else.
                  I would run a new #12 AWG dedicated line righto the dishwasher and lable its 20-amp circuit breaker.
                  If heating element and motor run simultaneously, that can draw lot of current.
                  That was my original intent, which was why I tapped into that line in the first place. Ironically, we've lived in the house for 24 years with the kitchen on a single 15 amp circuit...go figure...I guess there were no codes back when the house was built. It's ok, just don't try to make toast and use the microwave at the same time.

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