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Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Yesterday, both outlets in our master bathroom stopped working. I heard a pop from a radio that was plugged in at the time. No other lights or outlets appear to be affected. I reset every circuit breaker just to be sure, but that didn't help. The house was built in 1995 and is of good quality. I pulled out each outlet and put a multimeter across the leads to confirm the power loss.

Anyone have any idea what the problem could be?

Much thanks,
Maxx from Minneapolis

Answers:

Electrical Outlets Stopped Working

If there is power where the wire comes off the breaker, and it's white wire is solidly connected to the silver common bar, but now power shows at the leads connected to the outlet, then there must be a wire break somewhere in the wall. To find the break you need a tone tracer. They cost from $49 to $500, depending on how fancy you want them. I have used one of these since the early 80's: http://www.pimall.com/nais/e.tone.html

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You clip the tone to a wire and ground, then follow the hidden cable with the wand. If you veer off, the volume of the sound from the wand speaker drops. When the sound stops completely, you have found the break in the wire. Make sure you turn all potentially related breakers off before cutting the cable at the break, otherwise you will ruin a good pair of pliers.

Please keep in mind that you can not patch or re-connect a broken wire in the wall. That has to be done in a junction box or outlet box. Since you probably won't have any spare wire that you can pull towards the break, plan on using a two-gang or three-gang box and box cover, or dual or triple outlets. That gives you enough room to connect a short piece of wire on each side of the break.

Have FUN!
DearWebby (11/28/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Electrical Outlets Stopped Working

Thanks for the input. It turned out that a GFI outlet (in another bathroom) just needed to be reset. I didn't realize that these were connected to each other. Live and learn.

Cheers! (11/29/2005)

Electrical Outlets Stopped Working

Yes, GFIs are weird. We bought a house, built in 1996. When a circuit on our main floor blew, we had to go to an UPSTAIRS GFI to reset it. That one took us a while to figure out the first time. :)
(01/25/2006)

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By bulrush

Electrical Outlets Stopped Working

Two outlets in my garage stopped working at the same time. The GFI in the upstairs bathroom had to be reset. I would have never guessed that these outlets are all on the same circuit. (12/14/2006)

Electrical Outlets Stopped Working

This was great. Two outlets outside stopped working for me. I found the reset downstairs beside the fuse box. Thanks for the help! (02/27/2009)

By Diana

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