I have a thirty amp circuit that seems to control the lighting and outlets on the attic level of my home. I also have the problem of outlets that are older and deteriorating badly, one of which came apart while being used and shorted out, but this didn't trip the breaker.
I shut off the breaker and replaced the outlet. When I re-energized the circuit the new outlet didn't work. The new outlet is 125/15amp CU only. It does not appear to be a wire going to the circuit.
Upon further inspection of the remaining outlets in the area, there are more than one that appear to not work. There are others that do work. I will attempt to replace one of these to get some kind of baseline. Do I need to call an electrician?
I am quite capable of replacing all of the outlets, but if there is no improvement I guess there is a wiring problem.
I have been researching and it seems that the thirty amp circuit controlling everything is not a good idea. I moved into the house ten years ago and it was that way then. I had the home inspected by a home inspector who didn't mention this as a problem.
I plugged my heater into an outlet; now the outlet doesn't work. I replaced the outlet, but still doesn't work. Two other outlets in the room work and the light works. It didn't knock out the breaker. What could be wrong? Please help.
By Deb from Wheeling, WV
Well, my husband got the outlet working. what happen is i wanted to put a fan it the room with light so my husband took down old fan with no light. so it is bx wiring so there was no box so he put in a metal box so what we were reading on bx wiring it needs to have a bx clamp to secure it so he put clamp on. and put fan back up and everything is working now. I bought a book on old wiring and that is what help us thanks to all. :O)
How do I fix an electrical overload?
WARNING - overloaded electrical circuits present serious fire hazards. Additionally, DIY home electrical work can present or create personal safety hazards. Know and follow the safety rules. Better yet, hire a professional-most insurance will not pay out if you have overloaded a circuit or had work done by an unlicensed electrician.
The following is an extremely simplified answer but should get you started; the best thing to do is to first learn about home electrical systems from library and Internet sites like:
http://electrical.about.com/ (There are other sites, run a search)
Now, look in your circuit box to determine the whole house amp load from the information listed in the box. Next, check to see if the individual circuit breakers list the load-some will be 120v with a load of 1500w total, others will be 240v for things like stoves, AC/heating, and clothes dryers. Then follow the steps below .
Step One - Get a note pad and pencil. List the circuit you are overloading (should be listed in the circuit box); you will also be making additional notes, see Step Three.
Step Two - unplug everything on the overloaded circuit.
Step Three - re-plug one item and wait for a few minutes. If the one item doesn't throw the breaker, note the wattage/amp (should be on the plug or a tag on the cord) and move on to Step Four
Step Four - continue adding one electrical item and noting the wattage/amp.
I have a breaker in my house that has a "test" button on it. It tripped and won't reset. I have checked and the only thing in my house that doesn't have electricity is one outlet in our bathroom. I replaced the outlet, but it still doesn't have electricity and the "test" breaker won't reset, it just keeps on tripping.
By Brent P.
Oh by the way I forgot one of the problems was one of the ground fault plugs on the outside was getting moisture inside and tripping the button in the kitchen. The carport, back door, bathroom, front porch lite, and plugin, and the living room and utility room was all on same circuit.
The Christmas lights on my house are not working, but have for past 3 weeks. I took an extension cord and moved it to the front porch and plugged it in. When I did that the refrigerator and freezer in garage quit working. I hit all the breakers, but there was no change. I pressed the trippers inside and outside of the house and still nothing. Any ideas how to fix this?
James, you said your breaker is not tripping, but if your resetting your main breaker to get things working again, that means it is tripping. This is one problem you should call a professional for, because it could be one or more many different things.
1. Bad main or sub main depending on panel style.
2. overloaded main or sub main breaker.
3. bad terminations in panel.
4. main bus failing in breaker panel.
I have some Christmas lights hooked up to an outdoor outlet. I live on the ground floor of a condo and have a patio off the living room. The outdoor outlet is covered, it is under my upstairs neighbor's terrace.
The Christmas lights were connected to the outdoor outlet via a indoor rated extension cord, not outdoor, without a third prong for grounding. I ran four strands of lights in a row to circle the perimeter of the patio.
I had the lights on and was hosing down some plants across the patio, behind which the lights were strung. Some water splashed on the lights and they all blew. Ever since the outdoor outlet does not work. I flipped the breaker and hit the reset button on the outlet. No luck.
I know the story I just conveyed above illustrates a total ignorance for electricity and probably careless and even reckless behavior on my part of using an indoor non grounded extension cord and having the good sense to water the plants with the lights on. Before I potentially do anything to kill myself or cause a fire is there anything else I can do before calling an electrician?
Thanks so much for your advice.
By Biz from Brooklyn, NY
Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it. I will start with replacing the outlet. Thanks.
I have 2 outlets that are in separate bathrooms. Both have power, but neither one will run a hair dryer or hot iron. They will power a radio. Has anybody seen this before or have any suggestions?
Older places with old wiring is very dangerous. Sounds like old set up. You didn't say how old the place was you lived but a lot of even l950's houses now have bad wiring. An electrician or a friend who knows about wiring is a good thing here because the advice we can give without seeing is worth absolutely nothing. But you just might want to think on this; don't wait and burn the house down.
I moved into a house built in 1995. There is a GFCI outlet in the bathroom that will not stay on. When you press the reset button, the outlet stays on for about 5 seconds and then the breaker trips. I've replaced the GFCI outlet with the same results. Any advice would be appreciated. It's a 15 amp outlet.
I know a family that got annoyed because the power surge protector kept tripping so they bypassed it and their house burned down. Be careful something like that is not going on with your house. Have you consulted an electrician? Somethings need expert advice and I think electrical problems is probably one of these.
I moved into a private rented flat today. When I turned on the shower to wash the shower room down and it blew all my sockets, but it hasn't tripped it out on the main board. I have reset the main board, but still nothing is happening. Any ideas what it could be, please anyone? Thanks.
Telephone the landlord NOW and ask them to have a professional come in to check the 'on-demand' water heater to the shower-it sounds as though the wiring is wrong on that feature.
Whilst awaiting the service call engineer, do not use any of your electricals on any circuit you think may share with the shower room, and be alert to any electrical overheating (burning plastic smells or a metallic 'tang' in the air). Feel for 'hot spots' along the walls, outlets, and at the mains box-CAREFULLY to avoid burns or shocks.
I think you got very lucky. When I lived in Guatemala (mid-90s) a co-worker was electrocuted in her shower because of faulty wiring in the on-demand shower feature.
Be sure to write down the date and time of the telephone conversation, and what the landlord promised he/she would do to remedy this extremely dangerous situation. You may need the information to prove that you made contact, and to recoup any out of pocket costs associated-for example, if your landlord does not act quickly to repair this you may have to take a hotel room until it is done, or even move out completely should the landlord prove unwilling to sort this immediately.
Why is my electric outlet getting hot?
By Teresa from Louisville, Ky
We live in a house built in the 1970s with aluminum wiring-which is a big fire hazard because it can start fires in the wall or ceiling that you don't know about until it spreads, a house in our neighborhood burned down a couple of years ago from an electrical fire caused by aluminum wiring! We have occasionally over the years had a couple of outlets that feel hot to the touch, especially one in the kitchen, sometimes I've even smelled it "burning". My husband would replace the outlet & some of the wiring. The last time, when he checked the one in the kitchen because I could smell it(nobody else has ever smelled it), the wire had burned through the plastic on the outlet & was on the verge of starting a fire in the wall! He rewired that outlet all the way back to the main wiring in the attic & we haven't had a problem since.
The house I grew up in was built in 1890s & had same problem. My dad re-wired the whole house. That's what needs to be done with our house, but my husband isn't comfortable with doing it & electrician said it would be around $6000,which we can't afford. We just watch our outlets, don't overload & occasionally I will go around & feel them, especially the one's that have something plugged into them.
Just beware if you have an older home with wiring like this, it can be very dangerous, houses burn down from this problem all the time.
The whole house has 15 Amp outlets; some with one or two #12 wires. I came across, while changing an outlet that this particular one has six #12 wires on a 15 Amp outlet. My new outlet doesn't has holes big enough to insert #12 wires. Can I use piggytail to use these six #12 wires on 4 side screws or for this purpose do I have to buy a 20 Amp outlet. Please help.
By hard worker from Auburn, WA
My outlets in the kitchen are all out. The GFI surge protection outlet seems to work, when I push it the light goes out and when I trip it the light goes on. I also checked my circuit breaker and nothing looks tripped. I turned each one off and then back on. The outlets still don't work, any ideas?
First, GFI is not surge protection, it is to protect you in case of a Ground Fault and Interrupt the power so you don't become the path to ground and get electricuted. Second, the light indicates different things in different brands of gfi outlets, some mean it functioning and some mean it can no longer protect you and has locked out the power to protect you and needs to be replaced, which sounds like your problem. Replace it or have it replaced by a qualified electrician if you don't know how.
My washer is plugged into its own GFI plug and everytime the washer starts to fill up the GFI keeps popping. It's got its own place in the main breaker, but that doesn't pop or need to be reset. What can I do?
My husband is a home builder. One of the most common warranty issues he has is replacing gfi's. They are surely made in the bad part of China and often go bad. My advice is to find a handyman or electrician to replace the gfi. You can buy them at the big box cheap enough - that way all you have to do is pay labor and will not get charged so much. Get help to make sure that you get the right one.
The breaker will not kick. To make things simple for me, my husband explained that the gfi is like an outlet and surge protector in one with it's own tiny breaker inside. They are required to use them near wet areas. When there is a surge the gfi "kicks off" and must be reset.
I plugged an extension cord in my bedroom for a pool pump and now none of the power works in that room and none of the breakers are tripped. Could it be a bad breaker?
Could be a bad breaker, could be that your bedroom outlets are tied into a GFCI circuit. Check the bathroom GFCI outlets for a reset button, could even be on a different floor of your house. BTW, if that is on a GFCI outlet then I guess it is okay to run your pump off that outlet, however, you have already learned that it is drawing way too much power from that circuit. If that is not a GFCI circuit, then you really should not be running a pool pump from it as you risk possibly electrocuting your swimmers if some sort of short occurs.
All the outlets in one room stopped working, the lights still come on. I replaced the breaker and all the outlets and it's still not working. Help me.
Because you've replaced all of the outlets, and the breaker, yet still have having electrical problems, it's safe to say that you have broken wires inside the walls on the circuits that are showing continued problems. The breaker you replaced may not be feeding the problem circuits, did you carefully 'map' your circuits before attempting a fix? The following link takes you to an excellent DIY site with extensive home electrical info, this page teaches you how to map your circuits:
I think, though, that at this point you need to get a licensed-bonded-insured professional electrician in there as soon as possible. Broken wires in a wall are a terrible fire hazard.
A professional has insurance (in case he/she makes serious mistakes and causes damage), and several tools in his/her kit that most homeowners don't even know exist-one of those tools is an electronic, battery operated hand-held device that detects 'live' current travel through most wall covering materials including plaster and lathe. This device will quickly discover the location of broken (or chewed, rodents in the walls happen in the best of homes:) wires so that the exact location can be found and the correct repair made. This saves tearing up long swathes of wall to find the bad wires, for one thing-a real savings right there that makes the cost of having a professional actually quite cost-effective.
Until you have a safe, correct and total fix, the safest thing to do is cut the power to the areas you are having problems with. Please do it now no matter how inconvenient because a house fire is the ultimate in 'inconvenient' you can experience!
Please update us when you have this sorted. It's always great to know when another family has been saved from the dangers of a house fire, and it's a valuable bit of information to add to the knowledge base.
We have an outlet in our kitchen that we have used actively. The other day while popping some popcorn the outlet threw, sounding like the breaker going off, however when I got to the box nothing was thrown and now this outlet doesn't work. Any ideas?
Stephanie from BC
First I would check the breakers and turn all of them off and back on. Sometimes they pop without showing it. That's when most electricians dig out a box of Q-tips and thoroughly clean the breaker box, to justify the traveling time to the service call.
If that is not the problem, it gets more difficult. Without taking the outlet out, it is impossible to diagnose. It could be the outlet, or it could be one of the wires going to the outlet. Most likely it is one of the wires going to the outlet and showing a visible break in it.
If there is no noticeable break, even when the outlet is pulled out and the wires wiggled with a wooden spoon to feel for a break within the insulation, then it will be necessary to use a volt meter or a voltage tester from the Dollar store to check for the presence of electricity. If there is no electricity between the black and white wires, but there is between the output end of that breaker and the block of white wires, then the break is somewhere in the wall. In that case the break has to be pinpointed with a buzz or tone tester and repaired by an electrician. DearWebby (08/29/2005)
By Rose Mary B
Editor's Note: We sent this one to Dear Webby who has lots of electrical knowledge:
In this case I would highly recommend that he call an electrician. Anybody who calls the GROUNDED (white wire) a "neutral", should not be allowed near screwdrivers without competent supervision. Electricity can, and often does, kill, especially in wet and damp environments.
Most likely some wires are mixed up and touching a ground in a light fixture or mirror cabinet, creating a potentially deadly trap for non-electricians. If an amateur complicates that situation, it will just be that much more expensive. (09/05/2008)
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?
Maxx from Minneapolis
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
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)
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)
For the last 3 years, the electrical outlets in my 1/2 bath (1st floor) and 2nd bath (2nd floor) have not worked. This occurred around the same time that I was replacing the standard outlets in my home with updated decorator ones where you can't see the screws.
I've checked the circuit breaker panel (in my basement utility/laundry room) and can't see where anything is tripped. One of my neighbors mentioned that maybe I need to have the grounded outlets that have the breaker/test switch on them. Or might I need to replace the breaker switch on the panel in the basement? Any help would be appreciated!
GO2JARED from Columbus, OH
I figured out my problem. When my house was built, only 6-years ago, they put 1 standard outlet in the 2nd bathroom and the 1/2 bath. They put a GFCI outlet in the master bathroom however, each bathroom has only 1 outlet. For some reason when I switched them out a couple years ago with more modern ones (where you can't see the screws on the front plate), the 2nd bathroom and 1/2 bath outlets stopped working.
It hasn't been a big issue until now, as I am prepping my home to rent out. But, I figured it out through my search online and the local Lowe's guy, and replaced the non-working ones with GFCI outlets (which were not originally installed). All of the sudden, everything is now working and back to normal. I don't know why they worked with incorrect outlets when the house was built, but my switching them out with identical types must have caused my wires to realize the mis-wiring. I confirmed this with a colleague who is also an electrician on the side.
BTW - I will not pay hundreds of dollars (that I don't have) to someone to fix something that I can do myself, with some degree of safety. I have rubber gloves for electrical and a tester...now, after being zapped only 3-4 times. :) (03/19/2009)
Out of nowhere, the one outlet in the bedroom stopped working. The TV uses this outlet. All the other outlets in the room are okay. I checked the circuit breaker box, and none appear to be tripped. Just in case, I flipped all of them to no avail. What could have happened, and what should we do? Thanks!
I thought I had tripped the circuit breaker after turning on the TV, stereo, Satellite receiver all at the same time. However when I went to check the breaker, it had not tripped, but there was no power to any of the outlets on that circuit. Does this sound like a faulty breaker? And if so, can I change it myself?
GD from NY
Editor's Note: We had this happen once, and it didn't make sense. Call your power company to come check to make sure you are getting all the power you should be. One of their wires coming into the house had burned up the connection in their box by the street, so we were only getting half of the power we should have been getting. There is no charge to have this checked. (06/08/2009)
After putting up our outdoor Christmas lights the power went out to that outlet. The circuit breaker did not trip and we do not have any GFI outlets to reset. What do we do?
We bought an older home and the GFCI circuit in our bathroom did not work. I quickly replaced the circuit with a new GFCI and added an extension. All seemed fine, thegreen indicator light was on, etc.
I have an outlet plug that doesn't work, but shows it has power when tested with a tester. The electrical outlet has been replaced and still the same problem.
I have an outlet that I plugged a vacuum into, the vac ran for about 5 seconds then quit.
One of my outlets only has 51 volts; what could be wrong?
Bathroom electrical outlet is not working. When tested, the wires showed no power. The fuse box did not trip. Can this be repaired?
I have an outside outlet, not a GFCI, that got wet. The outlet is burnt. I replaced the outlet with a new one, but there isn't any electricity to the outlet. Any help is greatly appreciated.
I have an electrical outlet that does not work. However, there is power and the circuit breaker is fine and does not trip. Any suggestions?
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.
My electric keeps going out and the breaker is not tripping, I've even tried to flip each and every single one of them and nothing happens.
The four outlets in one room have stopped working. The related breaker did not trip. When I turn it off and on again, nothing happens. Should I replace the breaker?
I have a toaster oven plugged into one of several GFIC outlets in my kitchen. Yesterday we noticed the oven was not working and the GFIC reset button had tripped.
Why did the electrical outlet in my bathroom stop working? Can they go bad?