Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
My wife pluged a Vicks vapor machine into our bedroom outlet. The outlet stopped working. The the vapor machine and my ceiling fan with lights also quit working. I put in a new plug and checked the wiring in the fan. All the wires are connected and there are no burn spots on the wires. How do I fix it?
Beginning with 1999, Arc Fault Circuit Protection was required for bedrooms in dwelling units. Nuisance trips are common with this type of protection and vaporizers. The original protection was at the breaker - the breaker would trip. More recently, the protection could be in the receptacle much like a GFCI receptacle, and daisy chained.
It is possible that if you have AFCI protection at the receptacle (newer home or remodel) , that another receptacle, which provides the protection, has a tripped pushbutton that needs reset.
It would be bad practice to put the light on this circuit, but it could have been done.
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
I would try a different appliance in the outlet to see if the outlet in question works. If not then I would reset the circuit breaker and try again. If it still doesn't work it may be the circuit breaker is not working and needs to be replaced.
If you can, try tracing the wiring back to the breaker box. If it goes through a junction box, the wire may have become disconnected there. Please don't keep trying to use the circuit. If you can turn off the breaker, that would be best. If a wire is broken or disconnected it is a fire hazard and should be turned off right away.
My husband got the outlet working. What happen is I wanted to put a fan it the room with a light so my husband took down the old fan with no light. The fan is box wiring, but there was no box, so he put in a metal box.
I have a single outlet in my living room that is not working. All other outlets and lights are working fine. I changed the outlet to a GFCI, but it is still not working. I checked the wire with a voltage meter, no juice coming in through wire. This doesn't seem to make sense. I checked the panel, nothing is tripped. This outlet is about 5 feet from another outlet, that one is working fine.
My husband the electrician says that your new outlet is wired backward meaning that you have your wires switched. Please switch your breaker off before correcting this.
Thank you for your response. This is not a "new" outlet. I bought this house a few months ago.
The outlet just stopped working. I am not sure why, but here is the confusing part. The breaker is not flipping off, but when you turn the breaker off then back on it works for a second and stops again. I have lived here for 3 years and nothing like this has happened before. So what do I do to fix this? Would a new outlet fix this or is it a more serious issue? I'm kinda worried there may be an exposed wire or something shorting it out. Anyone else have this issue or any ideas?
You could have a loose wire. Here is an article from Family Handyman that tells you how to troubleshoot: https://www.fam outlets/view-all
My husband is an electrician. He says that it either has a bad breaker or a loose connection.
I plugged my vacuum and straightening iron into my outlets on the exact opposite side of the dressing room table. I have another outlet, a lamp is plugged in that one. I plugged my vacuum and straightening iron same outlet vacuum worked for a few minutes then went out! The outlet stopped working! The breaker was on on position! I flipped it off and on, but that didn't work. Would it help if I shut off the main breaker? And then flipped it back on again?
I was vacuum the house. The extension cord was plug into on of the outlet in the dining room when suddenly the vacuum stopped working. I check the electrical panel and everything was okay. I resent all the outlets and still not working.
Call your electrician.
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?
An electrician could fix this for you.
You need a meter to detect if voltage is present at the receptacle and if the neutral is connected by measuring resistance to ground. There exists a plug in device with three lights that will give you that information.
Another thing to consider is that kitchen receptacles are GFCI protected. It may be that the standard receptacle you replaced is fed from a GFCI receptacle which is tripped. The lighting would not be on the GFCI receptacle. Check to see if any other receptacles are dead, if so I would lean toward a tripped GFCI somewhere.
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.
I had a nitelight plugged in. The bulb was loose and I tried to tighten the bulb and it popped; now the outlet doesn't work.
Are you sure it is the outlet that does not work. Have you tried using a new bulb ??
My plug sockets stopped working. There was no bang or odd noises. I checked the circuit breaker, but nothing was tripped. I have unplugged everything then re-booted it, but nothing! My lights are working though. I need some help please.
The most common cause of outlets failing would be a tripped breaker in your power panel. You have correctly troubleshot the situation by unplugging the connected devices and turning the breaker off then on to reset it. Still, no luck.
The second leading cause of receptacles failing would be a tripped GFCI or AFCI receptacle. One receptacle tripping can take out a whole host of receptacles. Look to see if you have any such receptacles (with a test and reset button) . If that receptacle has no power, try resetting it and hopefully power will restore to the others as well.
It is possible the power for these receptacles have a switch. This hidden switch could be turned off (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation).
After that you are entering an area best left to an electrician. Something has opened the circuit. Wiring could have overheated and burnt open. A rodent could have chewed through the wire. A breaker could have failed. In a multiple occupancy dwelling (duplex, apartment ...) it is possible another tenant could have opened the circuit from their side of the wall. All of these situations require the knowledge and equipment an electrician would supply.
By Tyrone from Brandywine, MD
Call an electrician.
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.
The outlet is suddenly dead. The wiring all looks good.The hot wire is hot. I installed a new outlet, it won't work. Any ideas?
By S from southern CA
We recently redecorated our kitchen. In doing this we changed the positions of some of our plug sockets. These all work fine and have no problems. However, since doing this 4 different plug sockets in 2 separate rooms have stopped working.
We have tested the electrics and using the mains tester pushing straight down it shows no power, but when you angle it to the left and right it shows power, but nothing works once plugged in. Does anybody have any advice? Thanks in advance.
By Jon Rose
Two of my electrical outlets quit working. It didn't even throw breaker switch, but I did hear a click in the breaker panel.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Why did the electrical outlet in my bathroom stop working? Can they go bad?
By Sharon from Salt Lake City, UT
Yes they can go bad and it's inexpensive to replace. Go to Home Depot or Lowe's and you can get a new one. Just be sure to turn off the electric current that flows into that plug in at the fuse box first. (11/11/2010)
Bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor outlets have to be ground fault by electrical code. Your outlet may be of this type. If it is you will find a small button usually located between the upper plug holes and the lower plugs holes. This little button has to be pushed in. Sometimes there is a small light to indicate if there is power or not. If your home is old it may not have this safety feature and you should have an electrician install ground fault outlets everywhere I have mentioned above. It prevents you getting a shock by shutting down the electricity to that plug. (11/12/2010)
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 Gregory Dandridge 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)
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?
By DArcy stoonsniper from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
We had this happen and had to replace the outlet. Call a professional and have them come in and do it for you if you do not know how to do it. (09/08/2010)
Bathroom electrical outlet is not working. When tested, the wires showed no power. The fuse box did not trip. Can this be repaired?
Out of nowhere, one outlet in the bedroom stopped working. 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!
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. Any help would be appreciated.