Wall Outlet Suddenly Not Working

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  #1  
Old 02-04-06, 10:48 AM
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Wall Outlet Suddenly Not Working

A wall outlet that has been working normally, suddenly has stopped. Nothing that I plug into it works, but if I plug that same thing into another outlet just a few feet away, all is well.
The first thing I did was check for any tripped breakers, but there aren't any. What's next? Can it be simply an outlet that has gone bad and needs replacing?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-04-06, 10:51 AM
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First Check for a GFI device- a recepacle or breaker- in the "Tripped" mode.
 
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Old 02-04-06, 11:12 AM
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The problem could be a tripped GFCI, or it could be an open circuit. Try using a plug in type tester and see what that indicates. While you are testing, check everything else on the same circuit with the tester.
 
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Old 02-04-06, 11:29 AM
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Thanks for the quick replies. I looked around for a tripped GFCI and, sure enough, I found one. Strangely, though, it's on the other side of the house. In the garage, where I have a refrigerator plugged into it. It, too, has been working without any problems. . .until now. When I push the red button and try to reset it, it won't allow me to. That button just keeps popping back out. What does this all mean?
 
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Old 02-04-06, 11:39 AM
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It "means" there is "leakage-to-Ground".GFI devices are designed "hyper-sensitive" to protect against shocks.

Un-plug the fridge,if its still connected.

Good Luck!!!
 
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Old 02-04-06, 11:41 AM
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The fridge is unplugged. Does the GFCI outlet need replacing? Or is there something more involved at play here?
 
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Old 02-04-06, 11:47 AM
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The hunt is on. Too bad you don't have an electrical "map" of your circuits. I would suggest making one in the near future.
Whatever fault tripped the GFCI, is still plugged in - somewhere. Continue your search.
 
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Old 02-04-06, 11:51 AM
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Un-fasten the device from the outlet-box, dis-connect the wires connected to the "Load' terminals, and re-set the device .
 
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Old 02-04-06, 11:56 AM
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The hunt is on. Too bad you don't have an electrical "map" of your circuits. I would suggest making one in the near future.
Whatever fault tripped the GFCI, is still plugged in - somewhere. Continue your search.
Meaning there are several outlets "controlled" by this GFCI outlet in the garage? If I understand you correctly I need to try and find which ones they might be and unplug anything that might be plugged in?
 
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Old 02-04-06, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbo
I need to try to find which ones they might be and unplug anything that might be plugged in?
Correct.

You might find that the GFCI itself has gone bad.
 
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Old 02-04-06, 02:06 PM
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Well, I've done a complete walk through of the house. I found one other outlet that wasn't working in a hall bathroom. It had an electric toothbrush plugged in. I unplugged it, but the reset button on the GFCI still won't hold.
 
  #12  
Old 02-04-06, 06:46 PM
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bad gfci?

what patabb was saying is that you need to take the gfci out of its box and on the back of the gfci it will tell you which screws are the "line" and "load". with the power off, unscrew and remove the "load" section wires. after you do this, turn the power back on to see if you can reset the gfci. If you can not then the gfci is bad and you will need to get another. If it resets, then you need to find where the fault is further down the cir. If you have been in the outlet boxes and put the outlet back in with the ground touching the neutral then it will trip, so watch for that.
 
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Old 02-05-06, 08:21 AM
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With the hope that I just have a bad outlet I went out and bought a new unit. We'll soon see if that was the problem, or if I have a bigger issue that will require the services of an electrician. (Hehe. . .A man's got to know his limitations ).
Quick question in the meantime. When I look at the instructions, it appears that the outlet is installed "upside down". That is, the three prong receptacle has the one prong on the top and the two prongs on the bottom. Seems to be counter intuitive since the three prong plug from the refrigerator seems to be opposite. Am I crazy, or is there a reason for this?
As always, many thanks!
 
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Old 02-05-06, 09:05 AM
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Smile

Originally Posted by Carbo
When I look at the instructions, it appears that the outlet is installed "upside down". That is, the three prong receptacle has the one prong on the top and the two prongs on the bottom. Seems to be counter intuitive since the three prong plug from the refrigerator seems to be opposite.
Yes, refrigerator plugs are upside down.
They make them with the cord coming out the top so you can drop them through the floor and plug them in down in the basement.


There is no orientation specified by the NEC.

However, other than for appliances like the refrigerator (or washer and dryer), either the U-shaped ground or a grounded conductor goes up.

There are several reasons.
The human consideration is that the U-ground is longer and needs to be inserted first.
Because most receptacles are below eye-level for average adults, on top is the most visible to see to line it up.

On the technical side, just think of a loose metal cover plate that falls off while something is plugged in. Gravity says that you don't want a grounded conductor on the up side.

Who manufactured the receptacle?
Were the directions printed in the USA?
Perhaps manufacturers are catching up with best practices (as I recently noted about Cooper's GFCI for crosswise orientation).

I just checked Cooper's instructions and they show the receptacle upside right (U-ground above).
 
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Old 02-05-06, 09:20 AM
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Update: replaced the outlet, and all is working fine. The refrigerator is once again chilling my adult beverages to perfection. The other outlets on this line are working, as well. So it appears that is was a defective outlet. Surprised it lasted only five months. Planned obsolesence at its finest.
Thanks for all the help, folks! Appreciate it.
 
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