Causes of Lost Electrical Power to Outlets
Why have I lost power to my electric outlets? How to Troubleshoot Lost Power to Outlets: Repairing an Outlet Circuit Problem, Circuit Problems or Faults, Checking Outlets and Electrical Circuit Wiring.© By: Dave Rongey
Guide for Repairing an Outlet Circuit Problem
Electrical Question: Why have I lost power to my electric outlets?
Pastor, a Homeowner in California asks:
- Why have I lost power to five electric outlets?
- The rest of the outlets work on the same breaker.
- The breaker that controls this group of outlets has two 15amp breakers that move together as a unit to reset.
- They are in the regular positions but the five outlets still have no power.
- Maybe one of the 15amp breakers is bad, and the other 15amp is okay, Is this possible?
- Maybe I should replace the dual breaker?
Amie in Ohio asks:
- I was replacing the outlets in my apartment and and I came across an outlet with 3 hot wires and 3 neutral wires.
- I replaced all the outlets but when I turned the breakers back on I have no power to an entire side of my apartment it runs from my dining room to my back bedroom.
Thanks for your electrical troubleshooting questions.
How to Troubleshoot Lost Power to Outlets
Application: Troubleshooting the cause of Lost Electric Circuit Power to Outlets.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced. This electrical work is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
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.
NOTE: Electrical troubleshooting is best performed by a qualified electrical contractor.
Common Causes of Lost Power to Outlets and How to Find Them
- Check the Circuit Breaker(s)
Circuit breakers rarely go bad but will trip off if the circuit becomes overloaded or there is a fault. If there are no faults that you are aware of and the circuit is clear, then switch the circuit breaker all the way into the OFF position, and then switch back into the full ON position.
- Multi-Wire Circuits
The two circuits described in this question are a multi-wire circuit where there are two circuits that are to be operated ON and OFF together and at the same, this is why there is a tie bar for the two circuit breaker switch handles.
- Circuit Problems or Faults
If there is a problem with the circuit then the circuit breaker(s) should remain OFF until the cause is located and repaired.
- Faulty Devices Connected to the Circuit
In some cases there may be a problem with a device or equipment that is connected to or plugged into the circuit. Check for any such devices and disconnect them from the affected circuit.
- Checking the Outlets and Wiring Connections
If there are no problems with devices or equipment then each receptacle outlet should be opened up and inspected for burnt wiring or a faulty splice or wire connection.
- Checking Sections of the Circuit Wiring
Isolate each section of the circuit and examine all of the outlets as described above, look for the cause or the fault and repair the wiring, remake the splices and replace the outlet as required.
More about Repairing Lost Electrical Power to Outlets
- Residential Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
- Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring Types of Electrical Testers
- Using Electrical Testers
- Residential Electrical Outlet Wiring
Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.
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