Home Electrical Problem Diagnosis?


Old 04-10-05, 12:09 AM
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Home Electrical Problem Diagnosis?


We just closed on our first home. It was built in 1969.
We did hire a home inspector. He found only minor issues with the electrical system. A few of the outlets had 'arced' and he said we should replace them.

I've noticed numerous outlets (included the ones we're now having issue with) that are very 'loose'. The plugs practically fall out of them.

Anyway down to the issue.

Plugged in a coffee pot. Worked. Plugged in a coffee grinder (same outlet pair) worked for ~2 seconds, now neither works. No circuit was tripped. The outlet pair simply stopped working.

Fastforward 8 hours. Small radio plugged into another outlet, been working fine for hours. Plug a dremel into the outlet pair, worked about long enough to spin upto speed and poof, neither outlet works.

Both outlets with issues were in separate (but adjoining) rooms.

Are we lucky enough that this is something simple like replacing the outlets in question? Loose connections?

We just took possession Friday, so to be honest I'm not sure if other outlets in the house have the same problem. I've been using powertools all day in various outlets and so far just the two have done this.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-10-05, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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This sounds like loose, and probably failed, connections as you surmise.

First, make sure there is no GFCI involved and also fully turn off and then turn on the circuit breaker. If that doesn't fix it then you will have to check the receptacles, switches and lights on the circuits. Look for loose or failed wire connections, and also back stabbed connections.

The only way to fix receptacles where the plugs don't hold is to replace the receptacle. Sometimes you can slightly bend the plugs, but this doesn't fix the receptacle. Since you will be opening and checking receptacles, this might be a good time to replace those you examine.
Old 04-10-05, 09:54 AM
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Its an old house, I haven't seen any outlets with GFI's.

If resetting the breaker DOES fix it, any idea what do repair so it doesn't happen again?

I have the feeling we'll be replacing all of the recepticals anyway but I'd let to get a better idea of what I'm dealing with.

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