Forum Thread

Lighting/plug issues in the garage

232 69 February 18, 2018 at 07:12 PM
Was trying to replace a light fixture in the garage so went to the fuse box and turned off the fuse called garage then proceeded to remove the fixture and to my surprise a spark came out when the red or black that stucked in the ceiling touched the copper wire. I immediately went back to the fuse box and switch was still off. The I noticed on the sticker that next to where it ess written garage was written GFCI and realized that this might have been the fuse for the plug only. So went back to garage and plug are still on (eventhough fuse switch was off) but now light are no longer working. Tried to turn on and off every switched from the fuse boxes but none turned off the the plug in the garage or turned back on the lights (I have four of them) .

Where should I be looking next to find what control the lights so that I can turned them back on and off next time I attempt to replace the fixture and similarly, where can be on/off fuze for the plug cause the one label as such in the fuse box does nothing?

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#2
Looked everywhere in the garage and the house for a separate fuse box but didn't found one every other fuse in that box works and turn on and off the power as of the room/appliances as indicated on the sticker but the one labelled garage gfci does nothing to turn on/off lights or plugs in the garage, really puzzled by that issue. Wonder where the lights and plugs of the garage are connected to house is from 2014 so can't be because it's an old crappy electric job hopefully. Do now got plug and garage door working but no lights :-(
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#3
Anytime you do any electrical work it is essential to test that the power is off before you touch anything. It really doesn't sound like you know what you're doing, I highly recommend calling an electrician before you electrocute yourself.

Lights in the garage could be tied to another room like the laundry room. If you can't find it you can always turn off the main breaker and power to the entire house. Resetting a couple clocks is a lot better than dying.
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Agree and was under the impression that the fuse labeled garage was it but obviously it wasn't. Don't understand where those light are connected to and didn't see a main breaker on the fuse box or another box in the laundry. Like I mentioned every other room/appliances has a corresponding fuse on that box that works. Only the garage one is not and really would like to know where does lights are controlled from a fuse standpoint. Could it be that the garage fuse on that box is dead/malfunctioning/ it connected? Any pointer how this setup could be hooked up will be greatly appreciated.
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Basically I a just curious to know why the fuse called garage gfci does nothing and most importantly how those lights in the garage are controlled since they are not controlled by any other fuse switch. Thanks for any pointer.
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Ahhh...when checking if the power is off\you have the right breaker for a light, turn the light on. Then go throw the breaker you think it is on. If the light goes off, you have the right one. Then also turn off the light switch before proceeding.

For an outlet, put a lamp or other device into it and turn it on and do the same thing. Also, they have circuit breaker finders that run about 35-40 dollars that can be used to find the breaker a light or outlet is connected to so you do not have to guess or throw the main. Stuff marked on the breaker panel may be inaccurate or out of date. Electricians or contractors are not always the most accurate and thorough in how they label things or how they wire things up. Unless you did it yourself or checked it yourself when the work was done, they should be treated as merely hints at what any given breaker ties to imo.

That said, I would advise getting an electrician as was noted already. Electricity is one thing in the home you do not screw around with if you are completely unfamiliar with the task.
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Last edited by YanksIn2009 February 18, 2018 at 10:48 PM.
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#7
Quote from Local2k
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Like I mentioned every other room/appliances has a corresponding fuse on that box that works.
You keep referring to it as a fuse box and mention having multiple boxes which implies some pretty old electrical work or a profound lack of knowledge. In either case get an electrician to explain the building's electrical shutoffs to you and ask if there are things that should be changed to make it safer.
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Quote from jkee
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You keep referring to it as a fuse box and mention having multiple boxes which implies some pretty old electrical work or a profound lack of knowledge. In either case get an electrician to explain the building's electrical shutoffs to you and ask if there are things that should be changed to make it safer.
If he has a gfci, then I do not believe it can be fuses. Fuses have not been used in homes since like the 50s. It would have to be shockingly old work with no updates (which would require electrical to code\breakers) in like over half a century to still be on fuses imo. Plus, many insurance companies will not insure homes with fuse panels, making it even less likely.

I agree it sounds like a profound lack of knowledge and OP should consult an electrician.
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Thanks for the feedback , the house and the only one electric panel i have are from 2014, I incorrectly used the word fuse instead of circuit breaker.

I turned on and off every single breaker but none turn the lights back on or turned off the plug in the garage. That's why I was wondering why the garage has been wired differently than every other room/appliances that have a breaker in the panel that works as expected.Also didn't see a main circuit breaker on the panel which looks odd to me.

Like i mentioned , the only breaker labeled "garage gfci" does nothing to turn on or off the plugs or lights in the garage -I wonder what kind of setup I am looking at and why it is done like that.
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#10
Quote from Local2k
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Thanks for the feedback , the house and the only one electric panel i have are from 2014, I incorrectly used the word fuse instead of circuit breaker.

I turned on and off every single breaker but none turn the lights back on or turned off the plug in the garage. That's why I was wondering why the garage has been wired differently than every other room/appliances that have a breaker in the panel that works as expected.Also didn't see a main circuit breaker on the panel which looks odd to me.

Like i mentioned , the only breaker labeled "garage gfci" does nothing to turn on or off the plugs or lights in the garage -I wonder what kind of setup I am looking at and why it is done like that.

For the one that is staying off, have you checked that you have not tripped a GFI somewhere in the house? Could be the wiring to the garage goes through the basement or kitchen or outside outlet someplace else and the GFI is tripped.

As for not turning the power off in the one outlet in the garage or not having a main breaker, sounds very weird. Are you sure you do not have another panel somewhere in the house like in an attic or outside the home (check the meter) or in the garage somewhere (maybe overhead if it has a loft)? Could be you are looking at a sub panel and not the main panel.

Also, it could be a split bus panel, which has a set of breakers on the top that feed the lower breakers though I am not familiar with such.

Again, consult an electrician to properly evaluate the problem.
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It's not uncommon to have multiple circuits in one room in a house. Lighting especially tends to be multiroom in most places. If your panel isn't fully labeled you kind of have to guess and check. I personally then go back and add to the panel descriptions. I strongly recommend you get yourself a non contact voltage detector if you decide to do any more electrical work yourself. It could save your life.
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Quote from Local2k
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Basically I a just curious to know why the fuse called garage gfci does nothing and most importantly how those lights in the garage are controlled since they are not controlled by any other fuse switch. Thanks for any pointer.
The labels are just what the electrician wrote - there is no standard on how to label the circuits. "GFCI garage" could be for the GFCI receptacles in the garage, or it could have simply been mislabeled.

Lights are typically not protected by GFCI devices, so it is not uncommon for a situation like yours to happen. In addition, lights and receptacles are sometimes on separate circuits, so a single room may have multiple breakers (or fuses, though less likely) protecting its circuits.
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Receptacle outlets in a garage are going to be on a different circuit from the lights in a garage most of the time I think. The lights are probably on the same circuit as an adjacent room. You should get a non-contact voltage tester and one of the little neon ones that you touch to the terminals before you attempt anything else electrical, ever.

If I'm remembering correctly, you had some other threads involving a sprinkler system with no controller or water, a gas grill, a light fixture and a water heater. Throughout those threads two things became apparent to me, much of the remodeling may have been done without permits and likely isn't quite to code and you are really unfamiliar with building systems.

My advice is simple, call a professional and watch and learn. Apply this to each building system and eventually you'll have a better handle on things.
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Correct, this is my first house so from sprinkler system to alarm I got a lot to get acquainted with :-) previous owner left no information and REA couldn't help neither. Bottom line I am confident that those lights must be connected to a breaker somewhere just curious why it is not on the main and where can it be placed. Btw, my main PGE electric cabinet outside is sealed so not not if this is where the main breaker is at but didn't want to break the seals to find out or can I?
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Quote from Local2k
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Correct, this is my first house so from sprinkler system to alarm I got a lot to get acquainted with :-) previous owner left no information and REA couldn't help neither. Bottom line I am confident that those lights must be connected to a breaker somewhere just curious why it is not on the main and where can it be placed. Btw, my main PGE electric cabinet outside is sealed so not not if this is where the main breaker is at but didn't want to break the seals to find out or can I?
did you turn off every breaker?
did you turn off main?
breakers that trip sometimes look like they are still on. When I have one out, I push them all towards the on position. the tripped one will have more travel than the others. (beats turning everyone off then on) To reset the tripped breaker you need to turn off then on.
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