Why Outlets and Lights Lost Power
How Can I find out why my lights and outlets do not work? How to Troubleshoot Why Outlets and Lights Have Lost Power.
Outlets and Lights Lost Power
Electrical Question: How Can I find out why my lights and outlets do not work?
Gordie in California asks:
- I’m working on a ranch style house built in the 60’s.
- A group of outlets and overhead lights have lost power but other lights and outlets on the same breaker are working.
- There is not a GFI plug and I’ve tried to trip the breaker by individually loading each outlet or switch. No luck.
- Is there any way to trace the problem without crawling through the attic and checking each junction box?
This electrical wiring question came from: Gordie, a Handyman in California.
Thanks for your electrical wiring questions.
How to Discover Why Outlets and Lights Have Lost Power
Application: Troubleshooting the Cause of Lost Power to Lights and Outlets.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced. This electrical wiring project is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on the 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.
Why Outlets and Lights Loose Power
- Consider the Electrical Problem: When lights and outlets loose power it may not be necessary to crawl through the attic to check junction boxes.
- Checking Junction Boxes: I would begin checking junction boxes in the immediate area of the affected circuit. The first place I would check are the ceiling light fixtures in the kitchen and the bathrooms.
- Heat Damage to Electrical Wiring from Hot Light Fixtures: Ceiling light fixtures that have high watt light bulbs produce heat which can travel up into the light fixture and into the ceiling junction box where the heat can cause the electrical wiring and splice connections to break down and eventually cause the circuit to fail.
- Older Light Fixtures and Old Electrical Wiring: This is a very common occurrence with older homes with original light fixtures that have two or more light bulbs that produce high amounts of heat that can damage the electrical wiring and wiring connections.
- Burnt Wiring and Faulty Wire Connections: Other causes of lost power may be faulty or burnt wiring connection in an outlet box, a ceiling light fixture box, a faulty circuit breaker, or a burnt or faulty neutral wire connection of the circuit.
- Repairing the Damaged Wiring: If damaged wire or splice connections are discovered then replace the damaged wire and connectors with the appropriately sized materials.
More about Troubleshooting Lost Power to Lights and Outlets
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Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.
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Using Electrical Testers
Wiring Electrical Outlets
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and receptacles which are commonly found in every home. See how to wiring electrical outlets in a home.
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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.
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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.
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