Ask a Tradesman
The power sockets and lights are tripping there is power running through the house but no lights or sockets are working?
I'm guessing that what's tripping is an RCD? You can recognise this as it has little "Test" button on it, and is bigger than the other circuit breakers in the fuse board.
The RCD provides additional protection for one or more circuits, each of which will have a circuit breaker. Something on one of the circuits being protected by the RCD will be making it trip. Here's what to do...
Switch off all the circuit breakers and RCDs.
Switch on the RCD that keeps tripping. Does it trip/fail to switch on? If yes, call an electrician as it looks like the RCD is faulty. If it switches on ok then...
Switch on each of the circuit breakers "belonging" to the switched-on RCD - one at a time. When one particular one is switched-on, does the RCD trip? If not, then there's an intermittent fault that can only be tracked down over time by selectively switching off circuits for a period until the fault re-occurs. If the RCD DOES trip when one particular circuit breaker is switched-on, then there's a fault on the circuit protected by that circuit breaker.
If that circuit breaker is protecting a sockets circuit, unplug everything from that circuit, and switch off any appliances that are connected via Fused Connection Units (fused spurs). eg: washing machine, central heating boiler, cooker hood, etc. Can the circuit breaker for this circuit now be switched-on without tripping the RCD? If so, one of the appliances is faulty and process of elimination should identify the faulty one. If not, then there may be a wiring fault on that circuit and you should call an electrician.
If the circuit breaker making the RCD trip is protecting a lighting circuit, try switching all the lights and dimmer switches off, and try the breaker again. If it still trips the RCD, call an electrician. If it doesn't, try switching lights on one at a time until (If) the RCD trips. If it does, you've found your faulty appliance and you may well need to call an electrician to determine if the fitting is faulty.
If there are more circuits on the RCD, eg: cooker, shower, garage, etc., then follow the same procedure for those.
However, I suspect that you'll have either found the problem yourself by the time you get to read this (I'm posting this at 10pm on Thur), or it was so urgent you'll have called an electrician by then!!
Either way, best of luck, and if you like my answer, please hit the "Like" button.
Answered 8th Mar 2012