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Troubleshooting Problems with Electrical Outlets


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

The electrical power in my bedroom is off and none of the wall outlets work: How to Understand Outlet Polarity Testing, When using a outlet tester on the outlets it reads that the hot and ground are reversed.

Electric Outlets Do Not Work

Electrical Question: The electrical power in my bedroom is off and none of the wall outlets work.

This electrical question came from: James, a Homeowner from Lynchburg, Virginia.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical repair question James.

How to Avoid Problems When Wiring Outlets

Receptacle Polarity Tester

Application: Troubleshooting and Testing Outlets and Circuit Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools a Voltage Tester or Plug-In Circuit Analyzer.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, the extent of the electrical repairs, the number of receptacle outlets that are affected and access to each location.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.

What To Do When Wall Outlets Do Not Work

A plug in outlet tester can be very useful for testing the circuit wiring of an electrical outlet.

How to Understand Outlet Polarity Testing

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Using Electrical Testers
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Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
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Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
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2 Responses to “Troubleshooting Problems with Electrical Outlets”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Patrick,
    The low voltage reading you have described is typically due to loosing connection of one of the wires of the circuit. The circuit wires should be checked starting at the panel where the circuit begins, and the wiring connections at the bathroom GFI outlet.
    I hope this helps,
    Dave

  2. patrick says:

    An outlet in bathroom does not work. Four wire GFI has no power to one set, and 41 volts to other set of wires. The other outlets on circuit are OK. Any ideas?