Troubleshooting no power to sockets


Old 01-12-05, 09:11 AM
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Troubleshooting no power to sockets

We have three sockets in our bathroom that have completely stopped working. No blown fuses - we've tried that. On one of the outlets there is also a light switch which is working fine. I'm looking for ideas on how to start troubleshooting this. I don't even know where to start to try and diagnose this. Any ideas? Thanks!
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Old 01-12-05, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 525
Is one of the outlets a GFCI? If so, have you tried resetting it? Otherwise, you probably have a loose connection somewhere. If you can figure out how the circuit is run it will help you locate the problem. If you can't figure it out, you need to cut the power (main breaker, unless you know which breaker controls the outlets, and pull the receptacles out and check the connections. If all the connections are fine in the bathroom, you may need to check nearby outlets. If the house is older, your circuit may wander through several rooms. If your bathroom is above a crawl space, it's possible that you can go under the room and see how the house wiring is run.
Old 01-12-05, 09:21 AM
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Similar problem

Not an electrician, but...

I had a similar problem in my kitchen. When I replaced a dimmer switch in my kitchen, the wiring was linked to the lights in the ceiling, and also to the fridge. With so many wires in the box, the new dimmer was tough to fit... but we shoved it in anyway and all looked good. 6 hours later we found out that half the kitchen still didn't have power.

Turned out that all those wires in there were pretty old and brittle... stuffing the dimmer into the box snapped one of the wires - cutting power to the other half of the kitchen. Had to go in and pigtail an extension, toss the dimmer, and and get a regular switch.

Check the switches and recepticle boxes near by... look for broken connections.
Old 01-12-05, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
KFindley, 98 times out of 100, this is a tripped GFCI (a receptacle with test and reset buttons). Sometimes the GFCI is in the bathroom you have lost power in, but very often it is in another bathroom in the house or in the garage. Sometimes it's even in the basement or outside.

I'm betting on the garage.

Just in case you are one of the other 2 out of 100 cases, post back if this doesn't solve the problem.
Old 01-12-05, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 1,210
Originally Posted by KFindley
On one of the outlets there is also a light switch which is working fine.
Where a light switch and outlet share a box, it's normal for them to be on different circuits.
Old 01-12-05, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Originally Posted by Kobuchi
Where a light switch and outlet share a box, it's normal for them to be on different circuits.
I disagree with this. They may or may not be on separate circuits. More times than not they are on the same circuit.

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