Trailer is Having Power Problems?

My husband bought a trailer in Feb. 08 and there was an outlet in the living room on one wall only that didn't work, the rest did. The living room light didn't work. He didn't worry about it for months then one day the light worked and so did the outlet. We recently bought a heater and I had it plugged into that outlet. It has been on that outlet for a few days and it worked and so did the light.


Last night the heater turned off by itself, no big deal, I thought it had reached temp. When we woke up this morning and the heater wouldn't work, so I unplugged it and plugged into new outlet. The heater worked but when I checked the light the light didn't work either. No circuits look as if they have been tripped. Checked the GFI switch in bathroom and it's ok. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might be causing this? Please let me know. Thanks.

Dawn from Fort Wayne, IN

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November 21, 20080 found this helpful

You don't say how old the trailer is. It sounds like a loose connection somewhere that got cool enough as the weather cooled to make contact but seperated from heating up from the larger amp draw of the heater. I have heard of some stange things done in trailer wiring so i would start by checking the connections at the outlet and then the light.


Many older trailers used aluminum wire, which was more subject to heat expansion ( a problem the newer alloys corrected). If you have aluminum wire, make sure that if you replace something like a receptacle that you get one rated for aluminum. Most devices you buy in a diy center or hardware store are only rated for copped wire. Good luck.

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November 21, 20080 found this helpful

The laws changed for Trailer (Mobile Home) safety in 1979, so if it was made after 1979 your trailer is much safer & has copper wiring & not aluminum wiring. I had a 1959 trailer back in the mid 80's & it had aluminum wiring but now I live in a 1983 mobile that has copper wiring. My first guess would be possible water damage from rain, but this is just a guess.


Either way, it's not safe to use that outlet unless you are in the room. that means you should also have a working & tested fire extinguisher in that room too! But even if you never use that outlet again, you should still have a working fire extinguisher close buy. You just NEVER know!

Are you sure there's not a separate circuit breaker or a separate switch to that plug. I lived in a house for 3 years & thought my outlet didn't work, until one day I found out it was because the switch I thought that went to nothing (that was on the far side of the room) really went to that outlet! Boy did I feel stupid! <*grin*>

Let's face it, for those of us who live in older trailers or mobile home the wiring just isn't safe. In mine, the manufacturers put an outlet right under an extremely large picture window in the kitchen. Well, what do you think this window does all winter long? Weep & drip & drip some more down into the wall, so I try to never use that outlet. The previous owners also did some other "non-code" things to this place, so I spent the money & had an electrician check some of them out. He said not to worry about that outlet, but I play it safe all the same! (In the mean time I'm doing what I can to fix the problem for good!)

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November 22, 20080 found this helpful

Hi Dawn, you might check and see if the outlet is tied to a light switch. We have an outlet on one wall that won't work unless the light switch is turn on. I found this out quite by accident after we moved in our house. I couldn't figure out why my lamp would work sometimes and wouldn't work other times.


One day I was trying to figure out why it wouldn't come on an started flipping the light switches and it came on! This was after several changed light bulbs and my electrician husband trying to figure it out. Boy did we feel stupid! Hope this helps.

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Home and Garden Repair Home ElectricalNovember 21, 2008
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