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Electrical Troubleshooting Home Electrical Problems

an air conditioner has all of a sudden stopped working. It seems to have a 120V plug. Can a Socket go bad, could it be a wire, or the circuit breaker itself…

Troubleshooting Electrical Home Wiring Problems
Background: Syd, a Handywoman from Las Vegas Nevada
Question: Recently I have troubleshot an air conditioner that has all of a sudden stopped working. It seems to have a 120V plug. Because there is 2 Furnaces to the air conditioner in the attic, i plugged the bad furnace into the good furnace’s electrical outlet and it worked just fine. Both outlets are on dedicated circuits but the one for the furnace i have been working on doesn’t put out enough voltage. I plugged a small appliance into the socket and it worked just fine. Can a Socket go bad? could it be a wire? or the circuit breaker itself?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Syd.

Syd, get yourself a good volt-ohm tester and you will then be able to troubleshoot just about anything. All of your questions can be answered yes, all of these things are possible however it will take a volt-ohm meter to find out exactly what is happening, you may have lost a neutral – lots of possibilities, and based on experience – its’ most likely always something simple!

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

Circuit Breakers
House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers

Circuit Wiring
Electrical Panel Circuit Listing

Electrical Outlets

Electrical Wire for the Home

For more information about Home Wiring
Home Wiring
Home Wiring
Home Wiring
Basic Home Wiring Diagrams with Pictures

This link is helpful as a Handywoman
Do-It-Yourself Electrical

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Electrical Troubleshooting Home Electrical Problems”
  1. Matt Carr says:

    Recently added a ceiling fan in the master bedroom and at the same time switched out two flat panel outlets to the surge protected receptacles that are wired in parallel. All items are on the same circuit. At first the fan light wouldn’t come on. Pulled my splice apart at the switch, reconnected and light worked. At this time both tv’s and light/fan are working. All of the sudden I lost power to the light and both surge receptacles but breaker isn’t tripped. Can I have one surge receptacle feed another? I know it’s redundant but didn’t think it would hurt. Any thoughts?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Because the surge receptacles are not feed-through wired and provide protection for each individual receptacle this should not be an issue.
      You may want to double check your wiring connections.


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