Outlets dead - breaker not tripped

Reply

  #1  
Old 09-11-07, 06:41 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2
Outlets dead - breaker not tripped

All of the outlets on one breaker suddenly went dead. Checked the breaker and it had not tripped. It did not feel hot. Should I replace the breaker or could it be something else?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-11-07, 06:51 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North of Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,113
Completely shut off the breaker and turn back on.

Was there anything going on when they stopped working?
Or did you just notice?
 
  #3  
Old 09-11-07, 06:52 PM
Unclediezel's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northeastern PA.
Posts: 2,230
A voltage tester is in order. Its possible the breaker is bad, but without knowing if the line voltage passes thru the breaker, it could be futile. I would first suspect a faulty connection at the first outlet in the string. You dont say if the outlets are GFCI protected or not, But a tripped gfi in an unknown location can wreak havoc.Start at the breaker, testing voltage at each connection down the string. typically, if the breaker is ok, it will be the last outlet that works , or the first that doesnt.
 
  #4  
Old 09-11-07, 06:54 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The breaker is most likely NOT the cause. Replacing it blindly is probably a waste of time. You should, of course, test it before you replace it anyway.

The most likely causes of your problem (not necessarily in order) are:

1) A breaker that has tripped but you just don't realize it.

2) A tripped GFCI receptacle.

3) An open connection.

A failed circuit breaker is at the bottom of the list.

Now for the explanations:

1) Some circuit breakers do not look tripped when they are. Did you turn the circuit breaker completely OFF and then back on?

2) Is there a GFCI on this circuit? Has it tripped? What is on this circuit?

3) Sometimes connections fail. The most likely connections to fail are back stab connections at receptacles. They fail because back stabs are inferior connections and because heat build up causes metal to expand and contract, weakening the spring. This often happens under heavy load, such as a vacuum cleaner.

Use your tester and see what it reports for ALL the receptacles on the circuit. If it reports power in any way other than correct, then suspect a failed connection. Open the receptacles and other junction boxes on the circuit one at a time and with the power off. Remake any and all wire nut connections with new wire nuts. Move any back stabbed connections to the screw terminals. Check all screw terminal connections to make sure they are tight.

An open connection causing a problem will be at the first non-working receptacle or the last working location on the circuit, so check the entire circuit, even locations that work properly.
 
  #5  
Old 09-11-07, 07:07 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2
Outlets Dead

Thanks for the quick reply. I did shut down the breaker and turned back on. I will see if there is a GFCI on the circuit. There is to much on one of the outlets, two strips with 4-5 items plugged into each strip. So, as I understand it, if that outlet went bad the rest on that string would not work.
 
  #6  
Old 09-11-07, 08:00 PM
Unclediezel's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northeastern PA.
Posts: 2,230
That sounds more like a failed "Backstab" connection.The heat produced by the already overloaded strips weakens the connections, and they open up. its more rare to see this on screw connections , but it is possible.
 
  #7  
Old 09-12-07, 04:58 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Just because two receptacle strips are used with numerous items plugged in does not imply too great a load. What's important is what those items are.

Are you sure that you have the right breaker? Are you sure that you know everything on the breaker?

Depending on the wiring, a failure at one receptacle could cause a failure at:

The one receptacle only and nowhere else, OR the one receptacle and every downstream receptacle, OR every downstream receptacle but not the problem receptacle.

The last of those three possibilities is why you need to know, with absolute certainty, everything on each and every circuit in your house.
 

Last edited by John Nelson; 09-12-07 at 09:43 AM.
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'