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Electrical Troubleshooting Lost Outlet Power

Common Causes for Lost Power to Outlets and Switches on a GFCI Circuit: Troubleshooting No Power to a Living Room and GFCI, Free Electrical Help, Learn Electric Wiring.

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Troubleshooting Lost Power to a Living Room
Electrical Question: My living room is the only room in the house without electricity.

Any ideas?

Background: Bob, who is a Handyman in New York.

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

How to Troubleshoot Lost Power to Outlets and Switches

Application: Troubleshooting Lost Electric Power to a Living Room and GFCI Outlet.
Skill Level: Advanced – a Licensed Electrical Contractor should be consulted right away.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Ammeter and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on age of the home, the condition of the electrical system and available access to electrical components.
Precaution: Electrical troubleshooting of this level is best performed by a licensed electrical contractor who will identify the problem and make the necessary repairs.

Common Causes for Lost Power to Outlets and Switches on a GFCI Circuit

See more about Troubleshooting the problem of  Lost Power

Wiring GFI Outlets
GFCI and GFI Wiring Diagrams
The features and benefits of GFCI outlets and receptacles will give you a clear understanding of the importance why these safety devices are required by code to help protect you and your family against accidental electrical shock hazards.
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GFCI Wiring
This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.

Circuit Wiring
Circuit Wiring

Electrical Circuit Wiring

This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.

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Troubleshooting and Repairing Electrical Wiring

Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.

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Home Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety Articles covering several topics of home electrical safety and Do-It-Yourself Electrical Safety.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lost Power

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Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

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

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, 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.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

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.

More articles about Electric Wiring, Outlets, Troubleshooting and Home Electrical Wiring:
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Why Is My Bathroom Light Fixture Not Working? How to Repair a GFI Outlet Circuit

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

9 Responses to “Electrical Troubleshooting Lost Outlet Power”
  1. arch says:

    Gfi trip and loss power I have a gfi in the garage and 1 in the bathroom.. the gfi in the garage the light is green and I was able to reset… the one in the bathroom I cannot reset I took the gfi off tested the wires no juice to directly to wires….. is that normal and which gfi is bad????

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Arch, no that is not normal. If the GFI is not getting power then there is a problem upstream.

  3. arch says:

    Thank I change both gfi and it didn’t work so final tested all plug found a bad plug that is between both gfi change out the plug everything was working fine until this morning wife put on the blow dryer and back to same problem… you thing overload on the plug would burn out????

  4. Lawrence says:

    I have a puzzling problem. The lights and outlets in both bathrooms are on the same circuit. There is power coming to all outlets (verified with a circuit tester and voltmeter) and light fixtures. Nothing plugged into the outlets works (they work in other rooms but not in either bathroom. Replaced outlets and fixtures (still not working but receiving power). Replaced light switches (power shows at fixture but no light). Bulbs are good. Circuit breaker tripped when I shorted the wires. Is there a solution for this or is a complete house rewire needed?

  5. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Lawrence,
    How to Test a Bathroom Circuit
    Make sure the circuit for the bathrooms is being tested with a voltage tester, especially with readings from the power leg to the neutral, and the power leg to the ground. It sounds to me like you have lost the neutral of this circuit either at one of the devices, such as a controlling GFCI receptacle, or at the circuit breaker panel. If there is GFCI protection provided by a GFCI in one of the bathrooms then troubleshooting should begin there. A qualified electrician should check the incoming circuit power to the bathroom, and the circuit connections at the panel with special attention to the neutral of the circuit.
    I hope this helps,

  6. dave grimm says:

    My dryer quit working. I checked the dryer two times. Everything checked out. I checked the breaker and it shows two 110 volt readings, 30amp for the dryer, both circuits are hot.

    I checked the dryer outlet and there is 110 on one side, and no voltage on the other. I thought the problem must be with the outlet so I replaced the outlet and had the same problem.

    One side of the 220 is not powered.

    Somewhere between the breaker and the dryer it loses power. The trick is that the dryer is only thing on that circuit.

  7. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Dave,
    Troubleshooting Lost Power to a Dryer Circuit
    Turn the dryer circuit breaker all the way off, and then back on. The circuit should be producing 240 volts when testing both circuit wires with a voltage tester.
    If the circuit is not showing 240 volts then it is possible that the circuit breaker is faulty, or there is a problem at the electrical service panel. In that case the service should be tested and inspected by a qualified electrician.
    I hope this helps,

  8. Jessica says:

    Three of our outlets in our living room quit working. We replaced them and some work but some still have no power. We have a light switch that we could not figure out what it controlled so we replaced it, but still no power. We checked the beaker box and all was good there. We have tested the GFCI outlets and they were good. We used a receptacle tester for the outlets that don’t work with that light switch on it reads an open neutral, and with switch off it reads open ground. Our house was built in 1950’s and there is no ground wire on any of the outlets.

  9. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jessica,
    The outlet circuit wire splices and connections will need to be inspected to locate the cause of the open neutral, and then the appropriate repairs will be required. In some instances a burnt outlet is found which will need to be replaced and repairs to the wiring as needed.
    I hope this helps,