For no apparent reason, half of the outlets in my basement no longer power my devices, i.e. TV, Blue Ray, surround sound, and window fans. Everything worked fine for the last 10 years and through last night.
My voltage tester indicates power to the outlets. However, when I plug something in, it won't run. If I put the tester on an outlet that indicates "hot"; when I plug something in the outlet next to it the tester indicator light goes out. Any of the affected outlets that indicate "hot" go "cold" when I plug a device into it.
I'm not an electrical guy. Is there something that has gone bad that could cause my outlets to not get enough power or lose voltage? Remember, I'm not an electrical guy so, please make it as plain as possible. Am I gonna be out of a lot of money to an electrician or is this something simple I could fix myself?
By greasedog from Glen Carbon, IL
By coincidence, I just paid an electrician ($81) per hour to diagnose and fix the same problem. All of a sudden various switches and outlets stopped, went dead. None of the breaker switches were tripped. The problem? Somebody in the past had changed a particular outlet and when installing the new one did not strip off enough insulation. Thus, there was intermittent contact, which finally caused a complete circuit to go. The TV that had been plugged into it still worked, but the next outlet in line didn't and half of the outlets and switches in another room were out, too. The scary part is we've always had a TV plugged in there and never had a problem in 21 yrs. Our good electrician took some time to figure out the problem. He found the problem by wiggling the plug, besides doing all the normal tests. We are handy around the house, but would never have figured that one, as we never fool with the plug behind a large TV, it stays plugged in all the time. Bite the bullet and get a pro. You'll rest easier.
I had something similar happen not long ago in my kitchen. It was something amazingly simple. Maybe one of the outlets has a GFI (ground fault interrupter). Check them all and see if any of them have a little square button between the upper and lower plug outlets. Just press it to reset it. I hope this helps. I was crazy with how I was going to pay for it to be fixed, and very proud of myself when I did it on my own. (05/06/2009)
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