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Troubleshooting Problems with Electrical Outlets

The electrical power in my bedroom is off and none of the wall outlets work: How to Understand Outlet Polarity Testing, When using a outlet tester on the outlets it reads that the hot and ground are reversed.


Electric Outlets Do Not Work
Electrical Question: The electrical power in my bedroom is off and none of the wall outlets work.

This electrical question came from: James, a Homeowner from Lynchburg, Virginia.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical repair question James.

How to Avoid Problems When Wiring Outlets

Receptacle Polarity Tester

Application: Troubleshooting and Testing Outlets and Circuit Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools a Voltage Tester or Plug-In Circuit Analyzer.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, the extent of the electrical repairs, the number of receptacle outlets that are affected and access to each location.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.

What To Do When Wall Outlets Do Not Work

A plug in outlet tester can be very useful for testing the circuit wiring of an electrical outlet.

How to Understand Outlet Polarity Testing

More about Wiring Wall Outlets

Electrical Outlet Wiring
outlet-wiring

Circuit Wiring
Circuit Wiring

Electrical Circuit Breakers
2-pole-circuit-breaker

How to Install Bedroom Electrical Wiring
bedroom-electrical-wiring

 

Using Electrical Testers
digital voltage tester


» 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, Handywomen, and Electricians
Includes:
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.

« Testing a 240 Volt Dryer Circuit How to Ground a Panel for a Detached Shop »


FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Troubleshooting Problems with Electrical Outlets”
  1. patrick says:

    An outlet in bathroom does not work. Four wire GFI has no power to one set, and 41 volts to other set of wires. The other outlets on circuit are OK. Any ideas?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Patrick,
      The low voltage reading you have described is typically due to loosing connection of one of the wires of the circuit. The circuit wires should be checked starting at the panel where the circuit begins, and the wiring connections at the bathroom GFI outlet.
      I hope this helps,
      Dave

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