PLZ help! Outlet not working

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  #1  
Old 01-30-07, 06:22 AM
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Unhappy PLZ help! Outlet not working

Hi there,

Yesterday, I noticed that my alarm clock and lights were off. My husband changed all the fuses, and still nothing. There are two outlets that we are aware of that are not working. My husband tested them, and they are "dead". I really can not afford an electrician in right now, so I am hoping someone can give me a few ideas what it is, so that my husband can try and fix it first.
Also, we have a fuse box in the garage. Could a fuse out there be causing the problem inside the house?

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-30-07, 06:35 AM
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If everything on the circuit is out then suspect a fuse. If only part of the circuit is out then it is not a fuse. If you do not know what is on the circuit then shame on you, as you should, and your job will be much harder.

If only two receptacles are out then it is likely not a fuse. it is likely a failed connection at a receptacle. More often than not a failed connection is because of a back stabbed connection and because of a high load, such as a vacuum cleaner or iron. Most often the failed connection is the neutral, not the hot wire.

If the problem is a failed connection, you will have to check every receptacle or other junction box on the circuit. This includes those working and those not working. But start with those not working. With the fuse removed (or circuit breaker off) check the box. Make sure that all connections are sound. Move any back stabbed connections to screw terminals and remake any wire nutted connections with new wire nuts.

It will help if you know what you are looking for, so use a tester and deteminreif the problem is the neutral or the hot wire.
 
  #3  
Old 01-30-07, 07:06 AM
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You say that your husband "tested" them, but you did not say how he tested them or what he used to test them.

If you do not already have one, invest $6 or so in an outlet tester, the kind with three prongs that plugs into a receptacle and has three lights on it.

Also tell us in what city/country you live, and in what year the house was built.
 
  #4  
Old 01-30-07, 07:24 AM
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Question Ok

I am not sure what it was that he tested it with. 600V multi meter- I think. He was just checking them for a current. He just tested the plugs themselves, not the actual wires.

We are in Ontario, Canada. The house is older, I would say late 60's early 70's.

The outlets that are out, are one in the closet and on the other side of the wall in the laundry room. The outlets themselves are dead, it appears the second outlet in the laundry room has been jumped off the one in the closet.

Also, I am very worried that this could cause fire. Can something like this cause a fire?

Thanks again,
Sydsmom
 
  #5  
Old 01-30-07, 10:54 AM
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I do not think this is a significant fire risk, so don't lose a lot of sleep over that.

I would now suggest that you buy the outlet tester I recommended. It's available at all home centers.

In the meantime, if you have any GFCI receptacles (the ones with the "T" and "R" or "TEST" and "RESET" buttons on them), push all the "R" or "RESET" buttons you can find.

Can you correlate any event with the failure? For example, do you think they might have failed when you were running a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer?
 
  #6  
Old 01-30-07, 11:00 AM
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Thumbs up I think we found the problem...

We went out and bought an Adjustable Non Contact wire tracer. He was trying to trace the faulty wire back to where the problem is. He wiggled the wire, and all power came back to the outlet. He figures it is just a lose connection, and is trying to fix it as we speak.

Thanks for all the info, and suggestions.
I hope this works!

Sydsmom
 
  #7  
Old 01-30-07, 11:10 AM
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Okay, now that it's working again, there's more of a fire risk than there was before. So it's important to find the loose connection -- with the breaker off of course. One of the most likely places for a loose connection is a "backstab", which is a wire poked into a hole in the back of a receptacle or switch. He should release these wires (using the release slot), and reattach them to the adjacent screw (unless there is already a wire on that screw).
 
  #8  
Old 01-30-07, 11:15 AM
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???

What should he do if he can't locate the actual source of the problem and the plug still works? Any way to figure it out?
 
  #9  
Old 01-30-07, 11:23 AM
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Also- few more Q's

We replaced one of the glass fuses with a circut braker. It is now warm to the touch. Is that normal and should we change it again?

How many amps can you safely pull on a 15amp line before it becomes a hazard.
Thanks again~
 
  #10  
Old 01-30-07, 11:30 AM
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If the circuit wiring is in good shape, you should be able to safely pull the entire 15 amps, although perhaps not 24x7.

Breakers under heavy load can get a bit warm. But if it's still warm with nothing (or not much) in the house turned on, then that's a problem. Also, make sure that the warmth is not coming from an adjacent breaker, or from some outside source (like sunshine).

You're not running something like a space heater or a heat lamp off this circuit, are you?

If the breaker is still warm, you might have a poor connection at the breaker, or a short circuit somewhere else.
 
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