Bedroom receptacles stopped working


Old 12-06-04, 10:18 AM
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receptacle problem

All receptacles in bedroom stopped working; overhead light is the only thing working in room. All reset receptacles(frist floor) have been checked and circuit breaker box as well. This is a two-story house. Should there be a reset receptacle on the second story. Have not been able to locate one---there are 3 n the first level. I know there is some sort of fuse box in the attic---this has not been checked. What do you think is causing this problem?
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Old 12-06-04, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
There are a number of possiblities. To narrow it down, I suggest you buy an $8 receptacle tester (the kind that plugs in and has three lights). They are available at all home centers. Plug it into the dead receptacles and tell us what the tester tells you.

Any chance that they stopped working when you turned on the vacuum cleaner?
Old 12-06-04, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
The "reset receptacle" , i.e. the GFCI, is normally only connected to outlets in high-risk areas: bathroom, kitchen, garage, otdoors. One of the units downstairs may feed the upstairs bathrooms. If you are having problems in other areas, it often can be traced to a loose or bad connection in an outlet box or switch box.. The little circuit teste mentioned will be very helpful to identify open neutral, open hot etc. Then it may lliterally involve going to one box to the next looking for the bad connection. You should turn off the breakers to any circuit before working inside the box.
Old 12-06-04, 12:27 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Anderson, IN
Posts: 412
maybe a backstabbed receptacle. Do a search for backstab and see all of the previous threads on this topic.
Old 12-06-04, 12:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
The backstabbers, or push in connections, were also my suspicion. Neat trick: go to one of the dead receptacles and plug in a lamp that is turned on. Now take the male end of an extension cord, which you will simply be using as an insulated tool, you won't be plugging anything into the female end. Go to each dead receptacle, plug the male end in, and wiggle very firmly. If that lamp goes on the problem is probably backstabbers at the outlet your extension cord is plugged into. With the power off to that circuit, remove the wires from the backstab connections, bend a hook in the end of each wire and land them on the screw terminals, if available. (I have seen receptacles with no screws.) If you have no screws, replace the receptacle with one that does, they're cheap.

Since receptacles are normally wired in series, if the connection in one receptacle is bad it will usually knock out all the receptacles downstream. Replace thw one you determined has the problem and all should come on. I personally would replace all the receptacles that are backstabbed, because sooner or later they're going to fail also. Not normally concern for fire hazard as the connections are inside the insulated body of the receptacle. They just cause a pain in the, uh, neck.

Let us know how it works out.

Old 12-06-04, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Oh no another person who doesn't know what is on each and every circuit in their house.

Shame on you. Everyone should know what is on each and every circuit in their house. This information may save your life some day, or someone else's life. You have already found out that it will save you time.

Now when you solve this little problem, take the necessary time to map out each and every circuit in your house. You should be able to tell in very short order what circuit breaker controls each and every appliance, light or receptacle, and you should be able to tell everything that is on any particular circuit.
Old 12-06-04, 04:31 PM
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Not that I disagree with you Bob..(In fact I totally agree that you should have a map out of your electrical system, cable system, phone system, network with a floor plan schematic)

But in what instance would a map of your house's electricity help save your life in case of an accident/emergency situation? I don't see how any situation couldn't be remedied by flipping the main breaker and/or pulling the meter?

Just curious.
Old 12-06-04, 04:51 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Yes, you can always flip the main breaker. However, that leaves you in the dark. That also doesn't work when the main breaker you flip is actually the main breaker for a sub panel that doesn't contain the correct breaker.

There is also the case that someone turns off a breaker because they think it is the right breaker, only to find out that it is the wrong breaker. Every other reeptacle in that room turned off when I flipped the breaker, I thought that one did too.
Old 12-06-04, 05:42 PM
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Makes sense to me! Thanks, I was just wondering.

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