Electrical Outlets Not Working

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  #1  
Old 02-16-07, 12:41 PM
LARN
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Electrical Outlets Not Working

I Plugged In My Vaccum Cleaner And The Outlets Tripped. There Is No Breaker That Appears To Be Tripped. I Tried Tripping All The Ones Labled "receptacles" But They Oultets Still Won't Work. Any Suggestions? Several Outlets Not Functioning
 
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  #2  
Old 02-16-07, 12:50 PM
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Where (what room) was the vac plugged into? Have you looked for GFCIs? A GFCI is an outlet with to small buttons. If that is the problem it could be anywhere.
 
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Old 02-16-07, 12:56 PM
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First the lecture. You should know already what circuit breaker controls this receptacle. You should know exactly what receptacles, lights and appliances are on each and every circuit in your house or apartment. You are about to find out why, plus there is the reason that information could save your life.

Your problem is a common one. Quite often a high current device like a vacuum cleaner, iron, space heater, etc. will cause a weak connection to open. Often the culprit is a failed back stab connection at a receptacle. Sometimes it is failed wire nut connection. Less often it is a failed screw terminal connection.

You need to find this open connection. Start with the receptacle where you plugged the vacuum cleaner in. If you can't find the bad connection there, then branch out to every receptacle, light, or appliance on the circuit. You will have to check everywhere on the circuit, even if the particular receptacle or device is working.

Only make these checks with the power off. When you are checking, move any back stabbed connections to screw terminals and remake any wire nut connections with new wire nuts. It will speed the process if you know whether the bad connection is a neutral or a hot. Use either a plug in type tester or a two wire tester to determine this.

One other possibility is that you did trip a breaker. Sometimes breakers do not appear to be tripped even when they are. Try turning each circuit breaker completely OFF and then back ON.

Good luck.
 
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Old 02-16-07, 01:08 PM
LARN
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Can I Kill The Main Breaker? Someone Told Me It Could Damage Appliances To Do This. I Have Tried To Reset All The Ones Except The Larger Ones For Appliances-a/c Etc And It Didn't Come Back On.
 
  #5  
Old 02-16-07, 01:14 PM
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Yes, you can turn off the main breaker. Since you have no idea what circuit this receptacle is on you will have to (unless you turn off all your 120 volt breakers).
 
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Old 02-16-07, 01:18 PM
LARN
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Yes, you can turn off the main breaker. Since you have no idea what circuit this receptacle is on you will have to (unless you turn off all your 120 volt breakers).
THANKS, I LET YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES SHORTLY-LARN
 
  #7  
Old 02-16-07, 01:46 PM
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reset all your breakers one by one and then all your GFCIs
 
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Old 02-16-07, 01:52 PM
LARN
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Smile Elctrical Outlet Problems

I Reset The Main Breaker And The Same Oultets Are Still Not Functioning. Any Other Suggestions? Thanks So Much!!!
PS ARE THE GFCI THE OULTETS WITH THE RESET BUTTONS? IF SO- I CHECKED THOSE AND THEY ARE FINE.
 

Last edited by LARN; 02-16-07 at 01:54 PM. Reason: EXTRA ? ADDED
  #9  
Old 02-16-07, 02:08 PM
LARN
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Where (what room) was the vac plugged into? Have you looked for GFCIs? A GFCI is an outlet with to small buttons. If that is the problem it could be anywhere.
I CHECKED THE GFCIS IN THE HOUSE- THEY WERE ALL WORKING, THE VACCUM CLEANER WAS PLUGGED INTO THE SAME ROOM THAT MOST OF THE OUTLETS WENT DEAD- THE ONES ON THE OPPOSITE WALL MUST BE ON A DIFFERENT CIRCUIT BECAUSE THEY STILL WORK. ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS?
 
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Old 02-16-07, 02:45 PM
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LARN,

Please unlock your caps. It looks like you're yelling....
 
  #11  
Old 02-16-07, 03:29 PM
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I already told you the most likely problem. You have an open connection.

Start searching for it. Find it and fix it. You could have been done by now.
 
  #12  
Old 02-16-07, 04:20 PM
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There's a 97.3% chance that this is a white wire that is poked into a hole in the back of a receptacle has come loose. Shut off the main breaker, and start looking for it. Start with the non-working receptacles and then move out to the surrounding working receptacles on the same circuit. Move every backstabbed white wire to the adjacent silver screw.

Note that you have to step away from the keyboard to do this. Also note that this might take a long time, so persistence is the key. If you don't have persistence, call for help.

Also note that you need basic electrical skills to do this. That means you've mastered the techniques for making a good connection. If you haven't yet, read a good book first.
 
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Old 02-18-07, 09:41 AM
LARN
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Smile

Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
There's a 97.3% chance that this is a white wire that is poked into a hole in the back of a receptacle has come loose. Shut off the main breaker, and start looking for it. Start with the non-working receptacles and then move out to the surrounding working receptacles on the same circuit. Move every backstabbed white wire to the adjacent silver screw.

Note that you have to step away from the keyboard to do this. Also note that this might take a long time, so persistence is the key. If you don't have persistence, call for help.

Also note that you need basic electrical skills to do this. That means you've mastered the techniques for making a good connection. If you haven't yet, read a good book first.
Thanks for your advice. I removed all the non working receptacles yst and found no loose connections or frayed wires. A friend who is very knowlegable in electrical problems helped me and was very puzzled as to the cause. We are going to call a electrical company monday. However, another strange thing happened last night . Another circuit went out for no apparent reason (I wasn't overloading the circiut/vaccuming). Our tv blinked for a second, then approximately 10 seconds later went out. Again no breaker was found to be tripped. I woke up in the middle of the night and found a gfci in the same circiut had a light on so i reset it, it worked again until i plugged the tv back in this am. Do you have any thoughts on the problem. I am still going to call an electrician Monday but would love to have someone idea as what to expect.
Thanks so much, Lynn
 
  #14  
Old 02-18-07, 11:15 AM
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Lynn,

Do not call the electric company. They are not the ones to help.

Now that you have checked the non-working receptacles, you need to check the working ones. If the problem is not at a non-working receptacle then it is at a working one. Did you verify power and no neutral into all those receptacles using an analog meter or a two wire tester?
 
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