How to Repair a Wall Outlet that Quit Working
What Caused my Wall Outlets to Quit Working and How Can I Fix Them? The Most Common Problems with Wall Outlets and How to Them.
Room Outlets Not Working
Electrical Question: What caused my wall outlets to quit working and how can I fix them?
- In my living room I have five outlets. All of them worked fine until tonight.
- All of a sudden two outlets on one wall quit working.
- One of the outlets is controlled by a light switch the other is not.
- The breaker for the room controls all of them so pretty sure its not that since three of them still work.
- I changed the two outlets and the switch yet still neither outlet works.
Please help. I do not know what else it could be.
This electrical wiring question came from: Chris, a Handyman from Clare, Michigan.
See more about Home Wiring for Michigan
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Chris.
How to Fix a Wall Outlet Problem
Application: Troubleshooting and Repairing Outlet Problems.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester or Volt Ohm Meter or plug-in circuit analyzer.
Estimated Time: Depends on the age of the home and the condition of the electrical wiring and access to the circuit wiring to be inspected, evaluated and repaired.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit at the electric panel, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring inspections or electrical repairs. If an outlet or the electrical wiring is found to be damaged then repairs and replacement parts should be obtained with the same voltage and amperage rating.
Notice: Burnt or damaged electrical wiring and circuit components should be replaced with new electrical materials of the same voltage and amperage rating.
The Most Common Problems with Wall Outlets and How to Them
EXAMPLE: The following is an example of what may cause one or more wall outlets to quit working:
- Portable Heaters and Air Conditioners
- Small appliances such as space heaters and air conditioners commonly used in a room consume high amounts of electricity, and turn on and off frequently which may cause problems with the wall outlet circuit which may affect one or more outlets.
- What to Look For
- Outlets that are commonly used for small appliances can become worn out, and in many cases the outlet receptacle may have a darker area where the cord is plugged in, or the receptacle may appear to be burnt.
- Inspect the Wiring and Replace the Outlet
- If a wall outlet has signs of wear, or the plug in area is burnt or damaged, then the circuit should be identified and turned off and the wiring should be inspected for bunt connections and damaged wiring.
- Replace the Outlet and Repair the Wiring
- Burnt or damaged wiring should be trimmed back to expose clean wire. New or replacement wire should be the same type and gauge as the original circuit wiring.
- If several wires have been inserted into the back of an outlet it can cause connection problems inside or outside the outlet. This can be avoided by using a twist on wire connector to splice together the same color wires that are used for each connection to the outlet, and add one wire to each splice that will attach to the appropriate outlet screw terminal. A new replacement outlet with the same voltage and amperage rating should be obtained and installed.
More about Troubleshooting and Wiring Wall Outlets
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!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, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard 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.
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