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Help to Identify Outlet Power Failures

After a power outage some of the power outlets in my home quit working, what should I check? How to Identify Home Power Outage and Electrical Circuit Failures.

Electrical Video #1

Generator Automatic Transfer Switch
and Electric Circuit Sub Panel

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So Keep Watching So I Can Help You Wire it Right!

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

Identify Home Power Outage and Outlet Failures
Electrical Repair Question: After a power outage some of the power outlets in my home quit working, what should I check?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question JB.
Background: JB, a Homeowner from Gautier, MS.

How to Identify Home Power Outage and Outlet Failures

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
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. Electrical troubleshooting is best performed by a qualified electrical contractor.

The Following will assist you with your electrical question:

Using Electrical Testers

Understanding Electrical Testers

Types of Electrical Testers
Using Electrical Testers

Electrical Outlets

For more information about Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring

The following may also be helpful for you:

Electrical Video #2

How to Wire a GFCI Outlet

without a Ground Wire

Check out my YouTube Channel and Subscribe to my Videos
» AskTheElectrician «

NOTE: A List of All my Helpful Videos
Will Display at the End of This Video
Keep Watching So I Can Help You Wire it Right!

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

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» 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.
  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.

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

4 Responses to “Help to Identify Outlet Power Failures”
  1. Hank Brow says:

    Over the past couple of years we have been doing lots of remodeling in our home. We pitched in and did as much as we could ourselves, which included some wiring of lights,switches, outlets etc.
    My question is…Why do some of my lights flicker at night? Or at least that is when you can notice it, as I’m pretty sure they do it all the time.
    The house was originally built in the mid/late 70’s, and not all the grounds were properly completed. I made sure that the circuits I worked on were grounded.
    Most of the lights that flicker were some of the circuitry I worked on, some are not. The only thing I see common (besides that I work on some of them) is that the ones that flicker have the round curley fluorscent type bulbs in them.??? Don’t know if that is a factor or not.
    Can you help…or do you need more information.
    Thank you.


    Hank Brow

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hello Hank,
    Here are some things to consider for a problem with flickering lights:
    CFL – Curly bulbs: Are they controlled by a dimmer switch, if so is the dimmer and CFL compatible?
    Is the voltage fluctuating in other parts of the home? If so call the electric utility company and have them check their side of the service.
    Is the problem isolated to one circuit? If so identify all the devices on that circuit and inspect all the wiring and connections at each junction box.
    Also: Make sure all connections to circuit breakers and the neutral terminal strip are tight.

      Be Careful and turn the power or circuits off as needed before performing any work.


  3. Hank Brow says:

    Thank you for your response Dave.

    There are no dimmers in these circuits, only single, three & four way switches. They are all mfg by Cooper, and are of the wide, flat, rocker type/style switches.

    Think I’ll begin with checking the neutral wires at the service box, and hope it is in there, cuz I sure hate to think about chasing wires up in that attic!

    Thanks again for your advice, much appreciated.


    Hank Brow

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hey Hank,
    The good news is that typically attic or crawl space wiring by itself does not go bad except with the help of damage from the elements and unwanted guests which have a tendency to chew on wire insulation or find a nice warm wire or splice box, that being said, splices in junction boxes can become a problem when a circuit is heavily loaded where an old splice may loosen up and start to arc. Keep in mind that as the weather changes our electrical usage changes as well which sometimes creates some problems.