How to Fix an Electric Circuit Problem
How to Locate and Repair Electrical Circuit Problems: Electrical tips for fixing an electrical circuit problem when lights and plugs do not work.
Troubleshooting an Electrical Circuit
Electrical Question: I am trying to find a problem with an electrical circuit. Could this be wired wrong?
- I am helping someone out who has a circuit that has 4 or 5 plugs and a couple of lights that don’t work.
- I checked for voltage on the wires. I have a circuit tracer tool that you plug in to the outlet and then you go to breaker box and it tells you which circuit it is.
- I found the breaker and it is showing as not tripped.
- I checked the voltage on the wire leaving it and it has 120 volts.
- I flipped the breaker OFF and some lights go out which must be on the same circuit.
- I checked with my tool and now it says none of the breakers are the correct one.
- I assume the circuit must be complete for my tool to work. So I guess my question is what next?
- To me the circuit is complete because of the reading of my tool. But not all of the circuit has voltage.
- The lights next to me that I didn’t know was on same circuit has 3 way switches. Could someone have wired them wrong that caused this to happen?
This electrical troubleshooting question came from: Brent, from Springfield, Illinois.
Thanks for your electrical repair question Brent.
Electrical Tips for Fixing an Electrical Circuit Problem
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a Voltage Tester or a Circuit Tracer.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with hand tools and electrical troubleshooting skills.
Precaution: Identify the circuit with the electrical problem, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring, inspections or electrical wiring repairs
How to Locate and Repair Electrical Circuit Problems
- The electrical circuit should be traced back to the last known working device.
- Identify and unscrew affected outlets or switches to expose the wiring connections and splices.
- Inspect that device for signs of burnt wiring connections or a deteriorated wire splice.
- If the device is an outlet receptacle then carefully inspect the wiring connections to the screw terminals or the push-in connections.
- Replace any burnt wiring with the same type and size electrical wire.
- Repair burnt or defective splices and replace the device switch or receptacle outlet if needed.
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