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Repairing an Electric Outlet

Troubleshooting the cause of an outlet not working can help define how to repair it. This is a guide about repairing an electric outlet.

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Man fixing and electrical outlet
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June 26, 2016 Flag
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I live in a older home (1950s). I recently bumped a plug while moving furniture. I heard it make a couple of popping sounds, but nothing happened. The next morning that outlet and the ones in the next 2 rooms would not work either. The ceiling lights work fine. I turned off the power at the fuse box. I took the cover off the outlet and checked with a meter to make sure it was safe. I took out the outlet and found out one of the wires was broken. I don't plan on using that outlet anymore how can I just bypass it so that the outlets in the other rooms will start back working. Thanks.

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July 12, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you Bruce.

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February 16, 2015 Flag
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Why won't the breaker trip, but if you play with the plug it starts working again?

By Nick

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February 18, 20150 found this helpful
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The breaker would only trip if too much current is being pulled (demand exceeds supply). If you have a loose outlet, where the plug falls out or you have to wiggle the plug to get it to work, it wouldn't necessarily trip the breaker, because it's not connecting/pulling electricity at all. The solution is to replace the old outlet. If the issue is a particular appliances plug and wiggling the cord fixes the problem, than the cord is probably going. If the problem is a particular plug and not the cord, sometimes you can widen the prongs so it's a better fit in the outlet.

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January 25, 2015 Flag
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My phone charger was plugged into the wall outlet. It stopped charging and made a popping sound. I moved the cord a little and there was a spark. I was scared to unplug it, but I did eventually. My cord is now plugged into my laptop and is working. What is the problem?

By cara

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January 26, 20150 found this helpful
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You have a hot to ground short. From what you described it may be in your phone charger transformer. This could easily cause a fire and should be corrected by a professional.

If you are certain that the sparks came from the phone adapter, get rid of that phone adapter. If the sparks may have originated in the receptacle, get an electrician to service and replace the receptacle.

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March 7, 2016 Flag
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We have two power outlets in the kitchen that stopped working. Our home is older so the outlet doesn't have a "reset" or GIF. We have an old fuse box, not breakers. We had work done in the kitchen and we noticed the problem happened after the granite installers installed the granite back splash. The outlets they cut around stopped working.

I did hear power tools being used so I am wondering if they blew the fuse. We tried the, un-screw of the fuses and put everything back in, fix. We do have some fuses that seem to be under a glass cage that we could not really open or are scared to. We are not sure if we are to open this part or not. Anyway any suggestions or explanations to get this fixed would be greatly appreciated. I am trying to avoid making a service call if it is an easy fix I may be overlooking.

Thanks

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March 20, 20160 found this helpful

I would call the people who did the work first. They obviously did something wrong. Do it right away in case you need to pay to have it fixed. The bill should go to their company. Good luck.

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November 2, 2015 Flag
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For about two months now, in the master bedroom, 2 of the outlets which have the TV and cable box connected and also the light in the room go out and come back on. I have checked the breaker and it doesn't trip. One of the times that it went off, it stayed off for a few minutes. When went off I moved the light switch to turn it off and the lights came on. I switched the light fixture for a new one and it's still doing it. Besides checking the other outlets for loose wires any suggesting on what to check?

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November 4, 20150 found this helpful

Breakers and switches, when shut off or tripped, stay off.

Checking for loose connections is what is required.

If your power is shutting off and turning back on it sounds like a loose connection somewhere (maybe inside a device such as a switch or breaker but more typically in a wire nut or the neutral connection in the power panel).

Loose connections are heat generators. I would have an electrician track this down as soon as possible.

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October 25, 2015 Flag
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I have had a non working plug in our bathroom with a working light for years. We recently had a lot of work done, including rewiring the kitchen. The contractor replaced the fixture in the bathroom during the renovation. The new fixture works like the old one. Light works, plug does not. Any idea what the issue is, and is it an easy fix? Thank you in advance.

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October 26, 20150 found this helpful

Unfortunately, he's out of the country. Even when he's around, he's hard to get hold of. When the work was being done, I told my mother to have him do it, unsure as to whether it was her error for leaving out the electrical issue and he assumed I just wanted a new one for aesthetic purposes.

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January 26, 2016 Flag
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We live in an apartment building built in the 1970s, maybe 80s. My daughter had an inexpensive fan in her room that would slow down and then it just stopped working.
I bought a new fan and it worked okay and then it did the same thing. I would turn it on and it wouldn't work, then it sounded like something gave it gas, and it would slowly start to propel.

Last night it worked and then stopped. I jiggled the cord, unplugged the light, and the fan, and it worked then stopped. So afraid a fire or a weird wire is the culprit I moved to a different outlet and it worked fine. How do I know what is going on with the outlet, and are we in danger? Is it just the voltage to that one outlet?
The landlord is a super pain to deal with.
Thank you.

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February 1, 20160 found this helpful

This is probably one for an electrician to handle since they have the meters and test equipment necessary to test the voltage at your receptacle.

It is possible you have a loose connection that when heated with current flow, opens or better closes the circuit.

Or it is possible that this receptacle is on a shared neutral in which the neutral is not making it back to the panel. If this were the case, the speed of your fan and even whether it was working would depend on other electrical loads being on.

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January 17, 2016 Flag
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I have a problem here that I was hoping you could help me with. 1 of the 2 receptacles isn't working, in my kitchen, 1 outlet with 2 plugins. I tried changing the whole outlet, but that didn't help. It can't be the breaker as the other plugin is still working.

Please help

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January 18, 20160 found this helpful

A duplex receptacle has a bridge between the two neutral slots (tall ones) and a bridge between the two hot slots (short ones) and the grounds are tied together internally. It would be difficult for one to be working without the other unless a bridge was cut. (Bridges are cut to make one receptacle switched on a duplex receptacle).

An electrician could fix this for you.

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August 21, 2015 Flag
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We have a plug in our kitchen that is a switch for our undercabinet lighting on one side and on the other side is a plug. The plug has suddenly stopped working, even though the light switch is working fine. The breaker is also working fine. We have changed the plug, but it is still not working. Any ideas as to what else we could try?

Thanks!

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August 24, 20150 found this helpful

I like Bruce's first line of advice-- call an electrician. Bruce is an electrician, and can explain these things, but nothing beats having a trained professional fix things for you.

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January 15, 2016 Flag
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One of my bedroom sockets is going off and not tripping. Two of my livingroom ones just cut off and then they come back on a few hours later.

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