Receptacles Not Getting Full Power
By Dave Rongey - Summary:|
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Outlet Problems: Troubleshooting Guidelines and Examples, The Most Common Problem with Electric Outlets and How to Repair Them.
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Why Do I Have 70 Volts on a 120 Volt Receptacle?
- The house is from the 1930’s and there wasn’t a grounding system.
- The contractors added a grounding system and installed GFCI outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms, but the rest of the receptacles in the house are still only two wire systems with no ground.
- What could cause the low voltage at the receptacles and why would the neutral side read hot?
Background: Paul, a Student from Bremerton, Washington.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Paul.
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Outlet Problems
Application: Troubleshooting Outlets that Do Not Work.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Testers and Meters.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with hand tools and electrical troubleshooting skills.
Precaution: Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring or inspections.
Important: Electrical troubleshooting is best performed by a qualified licensed electrical contractor.
The Most Common Problem with Electric Outlets and How to Repair Them
Troubleshooting Guidelines and Examples:
When Wall Outlets and Receptacles Do Not Work, or They Do Not Have Full Power and the Voltage is Not Normal:
- Lost Connection with the Circuit Neutral
- This is a typical indication that a splice or connection to the neutral has been lost.
- Locating the Lost Connection
- The best way to troubleshoot this type of electrical problem is to locate the upstream outlet that is working and giving normal voltage readings. Turn off the power to this circuit and then remove this outlet and inspect the wiring connections.
- Pay close attention to the neutral connections that may be made to the outlet or check any neutral wire splices.
- In several instances such as this a bad connection is found where the neutral wire pushes into the back side of the outlet.
- What Causes a Lost Connection
- This problem can occur in rooms where high consuming electrical devices are used such as portable heaters, portable air conditioners and vacuum cleaners.
- The electrical circuit load of these high consuming devices is placed on and through every splice or connection within the circuit.
- Check Other Outlets on the Same Circuit
- This process of inspection should be made on all of the working outlets and abnormal affected outlets until the problem is discovered.
- Repairing the Electrical Problem
- If the problem is due to the push-in type wire connection then replace the outlet and make a new splice.
- Attach a separate pigtail of one wire that will connect to the neutral side of the outlet. This method should be applied to all of the connections to the circuit outlets.
- This splicing method will prevent the load of the circuit from passing through the outlet, however the circuit load path will now go through the splice instead.
- Be sure to make a good splice and use the correct size wire connectors approved for the number of wires, and the gauge of the wires.
- IMPORTANT: Home Electrical Power Problems
- If most of the home power does not seem to be correct then contact your electrical utility company or electricity provider so they may check their side of the electrical service to your home.
- If the electrical utility company reports that the electrical service power is OK and the condition persists then it is best to contact a licensed electrician who can perform electrical troubleshooting tests at the electrical panel to identify the electrical system problem and make the necessary electrical repairs.
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