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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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September 19, 2016 Flag
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I am trying to cut the power to an outlet and tried turning off by elimination each 15/20 amp circuit and the power remains on. Any ideas?

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September 19, 20160 found this helpful

If you only have one electrical panel (could you have a subpanel feeding this outlet?) and you have tried killing power on each circuit (I assume you checked the single pole breakers), and you are not generating electricity, then my guess is that a 240 volt circuit is feeding this outlet.

Another question is how did you check the circuit? A plug in tester is good, but even simpler is to have a load, such as a lamp, on the circuit. A digital multimeter will sometimes indicate voltage when no load is present.

Each leg of a 240 volt breaker carries 120 volt measured to the neutral and 240 volts measured to the other leg. It is possible that your receptacle is fed from a double pole breaker.

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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

I would hire an electrician to fix this.

The receptacle can be removed and a cover plate installed but it would be about the same cost as replacing the receptacle.

The wiring broke free on its own so it is probable that it has experienced some heat damage from a loose connection that needs to be assessed.

Once the wire insulation has been repaired (I like heat shrink tubing for this) the wire can be reconnected and made to work.

Typically, and per code, black is hot and white is neutral. Connecting the blacks together and then connecting the whites together should energize the other receptacles. BUT - things are not always done correctly and the assumption that black is hot and white is neutral can cause trouble. This is why I would call an electrician.

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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
Best Answer

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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February 21, 20150 found this helpful

If you have no knowledge of electricity, do not try to replace an outlet by yourself. Call an electrician. It is a very inexpensive task, and worth it to have things done properly.

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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
Best Answer

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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January 26, 20150 found this helpful

Bruce has given you great advice. As well, if you ever again have something plugged in, and it sparks, unplug it at once!

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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 think if you can afford granite counter tops, you can afford a qualified electrician for this job. You maybe should think about upgrading your electrical since you are renovating.

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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

This sounds dangerous to me. I would call an electrician to come check this out.

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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...

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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

Did you explain to the electrician you hired that the plug in had never worked. If so, and he didn`t fix it, call him back and ask him to fix it, and I would not expect him to charge you for this. If not, call him back and explain what is going on, and see if he can remedy the problem.

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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...

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October 8, 2013 Flag
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I have no power to one kitchen power outlet and one living room outlet. The circuit breaker appears good.

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