How To Troubleshoot Electrical Outlet Wiring Problems
How can I find out why my outlets are not working? How to Identify Electrical Wiring Problems with Outlets, Checking Outlet Wiring, Troubleshooting an Outlet Circuit.
Outlets that Do Not Work
Electrical Question #1: How can I find out why my outlets are not working?
I have several outlets that are dead and not working.
There are five outlets on one circuit. The fourth outlet had power supplies for a cordless phone and charger plugged in. The phone was not working, and I noticed charring on the face of the outlet cover plate. The circuit breaker did not trip. I inserted a circuit tester and had the lights indicate the Hot and Ground are reversed. I have not worked on, or done anything with any of the electrical outlets on the circuit, however all outlets are dead, with the same indicator from the circuit tester. Should all of the outlets be checked for loose wires, wires touching, etc.?
Background: Robert, a Homeowner from Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Electrical Question #2:
This electrical wiring project involves Electrical Safety and a Outlet in the Kitchen of a Old Home.
I have 2 outlets in a box. I discovered there are two wires coming in to the box. One wire only has black wire. The other wire has both black and white wires. Black and white from same wire are tied together and connected to gold terminals on both outlets. Other wire with only black is connected to silver terminals on both outlets. Is this correct?
This electrical wiring question came from Jason, a Homeowner in Englewood cliffs, New Jersey.
Thank you for your electrical questions.
How to Identify Electrical Wiring Problems with Outlets
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.
Troubleshooting Wiring Problems with Outlets
- Checking Outlet Wiring for Electrical Problems
Each component of this circuit should be checked until the cause of the reversed polarity reading has been discovered, for example:
- This outlet circuit should be identified at the electrical circuit breaker panel and turned off to prevent damage to other devices.
- Information that may help in the outlet electrical wiring troubleshooting process may be found in the listing below.
- Troubleshooting an Outlet Circuit
- Electrical troubleshooting for outlets is a process of elimination where components of the circuit are verified which helps to finally identify the problem and the make the necessary repairs.
- It is very helpful to remove or unplug any devices that are connected to the outlet circuit. Inspections for damaged wiring should begin at outlets that are used for devices that require high amounts of electricity such as space heaters, humidifiers etc.
- Each outlet should be removed to allow the wiring connections and splices to be inspected for loose connections and burnt wiring.
More about Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring
Troubleshooting and Repairing Electrical Wiring
- Dave the Electrician explains the methods of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.
For more information about Outlet Wiring
This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Home Electrical Wiring Videos
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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