How To Troubleshoot Wall Receptacle Problems
How to Test Electrical Wiring for Outlets: I have a 120volt receptacle that does not work even though the voltage tester shows there is voltage at the receptacle.© By: Dave Rongey
Testing Receptacle Outlet Wiring
Electrical Question: I have a 120volt receptacle that does not work even though the voltage tester shows there is voltage at the receptacle.
- I have a 120volt receptacle in my home that has my child’s TV and DVD player plugged into it.
- We had a power outage that was restored but the TV does not work in that receptacle any longer but it works in other receptacles.
- All breakers are in the on positions and my meter and voltage tester shows voltage at the receptacle but the TV and DVD still don’t turn on,yet they work fine in other outlets.
- I replaced the receptacle and it still doesn’t work.
Any ideas ?
Thanks for your Electrical Repair Question Kenny.
Background: Kenny, a Contractor from Sewell, New Jersey.
How to Test Electrical Wiring for Outlets
Application: Troubleshooting and Repairing Electric 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 electrical outlets and the circuit wiring to be inspected and evaluated.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit at the panel, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring inspections or electrical repairs.
IMPORTANT: Care must be taken when testing electrical wiring not only when working with electrical wires but knowing how to perform voltage tests using the right type of tester. The process should be fully understood otherwise and if there is any doubt about the process then please consult a qualified electrician.
Example of Testing Circuit Wire Combinations
- Testing for 120 Volts: Make sure you are testing the individual wires.
- Hot to ground.
- Hot to neutral.
NOTE: The safest way to test an electrical outlet is to use a Plug In Circuit Analyzer
- This situation with this question may be caused by having lost connection to one of these wires which could be at a spliced connection upstream from that outlet.
- Make sure the other room receptacles are working, if not a breaker may be tripped. Sometimes a breaker may appear to be in the On Position when in fact it is tripped.
- In this case the breaker needs to be turned all the way off until you feel it latch, then back on. Check the wall switch – is the receptacle controlled by a switch?
Review: Troubleshooting the Circuit Problem
- Check for wall switch control.
- Check the Circuit Breaker.
- Test the wires individually.
- A Plug In Circuit Analyzer with the three light display is great for troubleshooting this type of electrical circuit problem because the display results will indicate what the problem is.
More about Testers for Electrical Outlets
Understanding Electrical Testers
When working on home electrical wiring using voltage testers can play an important part in electrical safety. Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.
Types of Electrical Testers
You identified your project to be about Troubleshooting, so you might find this information useful:
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.
For more information about Outlet Wiring
This link is helpful as a Contractor
Electrical Code Articles
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Be Careful and Be Safe – Never Work on Energized Circuits!
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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.
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