Completely Strange Electrical Behavior

Old 10-16-04, 06:57 AM
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Exclamation Completely Strange Electrical Behavior

We have an outlet in the living room behind a chair that, in the 3 years we've lived in this house, has probably never been used. The other day, that changed, when our cleaning woman plugged the vaccum cleaner into it. After running for a few minutes, the lights in the adjacent kitchen went out.

When I came home from work and heard about this, the first thing I checked was the circuit box. None had been tripped. I located the circuit for the kitchen and flipped it off and then on again. Nothing happened.

Now thoroughly confused, I asked some questions and discovered that this unused outlet had suddenly been used. I checked it with my tester. . I pulled it out and had a look at the wires.

Frankly, I've never seen one wired like this before. There are THREE sets of white and black wires running into it, two sets into the holes and one set into the screws (in addition to the ground wire).

It get weirder ...

The following morning, we awoke to find all of the lights working again.

I suspect an overload of some kind but, if so, why didn't it pop the circuit?

Old 10-16-04, 07:23 AM
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The wires in the backstabs are probably not tight, by moving things around they probably are making contact again. That whole setup is not exactly great, that outlet should be pigtailed to the other wires.
Old 10-16-04, 08:49 AM
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If one receptacle is wired with the backstabbs they probably all are. The problem may not be the receptacle that was used. It could any one on the circuit, even one that is still working.

You should move all the wires to the screws.
Old 10-16-04, 09:12 AM
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If you are moving the wires onto the screws as joed has said which seems like a good idea, dont forget to use pigtails as only one wire under each screw


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