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James, you said your breaker is not tripping, but if your resetting your main breaker to get things working again, that means it is tripping. This is one problem you should call a professional for, because it could be one or more many different things.
1. Bad main or sub main depending on panel style.
2. overloaded main or sub main breaker.
3. bad terminations in panel.
4. main bus failing in breaker panel.
I just had a similar experience with one of my rental properties. As it turned out I had power to an outlet through the romex wire but the outlet had burned up and didn't even trip the breaker. With that outlet burnt all of the rest of the outlets in that room had no power. I replaced the outlet with a professional grade heavy duty outlet and the rest of the string of outlets in the room work again. (Had to cut back quite a bit of wire in the one box since it was now brittle.)
By Grandma J 12/29/2010
Extension cords have weights that are meant for certain amount of current running through them. As a whole I hate them. I keep a stash of the orange ones on hand, most apt to use that. Power tools need them (saw, etc) but have limited use. Do not use extension cords for all time things. That is a fire hazard. Even Xmas trees have a special short 6 foot one for plugging the lights into then into the outlets. Has fuses, circuit breakers on them.
Not worth a fire.
By MobeaB 12/27/2010
My dryer stopped working after 17 years, but I had a back up dryer so I wasn't worried until it didn't work either. I bought another used dryer and when the guy delivered it, IT didn't work either. He knew it worked because he had rebuilt it himself. He checked the outlet with a meter and it wasn't getting power;
We checked the circuit breakers inside and out and they seemed fine. Then he removed the cover on the outside circuit box the covers just the breakers and found a loose wire. Had to have that stupid cover installed to pass an inspection a couple years ago. Good thing my house didn't catch on fire because of the safety protection I had on it! We would have found the problem if he hadn't removed that cover.
By Anonymous 12/27/2010
To be on the safe side I personally would throw out or send the extension cord and Christmas lights to your local recycling center (because they are probably damaged now from electrical surges) and replace both the outlet and breaker! The outlet was probably bad in the first place because Christmas lights/extension cord normally would not cause a large appliance to fail to work.
By Myrna 12/27/2010
Could have a possible wire burned in two or a fuse blown. We have a breaker box with out fuses. I don't know what type your circuit breaker is. Check the fuses if one is blackened, then it needs replacing. You had too much overload to knock out the fuse in that part of the house.
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