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rcpawsmail

11:33PM | 12/25/03
Member Since: 12/23/03
17 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
Recently, one outlet in my home has stopped working in the living room area. The immediately adjacent outlets still work. Any ideas on how to find out what caused this one outlet to stop working?

k2

01:03PM | 12/26/03
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
An electrician (which I'm NOT) once told me that he never uses the "push-in" wiring sockets in the back of outlets, as they can work loose--especially if there's a surge. So he only uses the screw connectors.

If the nearby working outlets are on the same circuit, I'd suspect that a wire's worked its way loose. (Don't forget that if there is a loose wire, it might be on another outlet--the one that feeds the non-working one.)

Oh, and: this outlet wouldn't be "downstream" from a GFCI, would it? (unlikely in a living room...but worth a look to see if a GFCI has tripped.)

Don't forget to shut off the power in case you decide to check it out.

[This message has been edited by k2 (edited December 26, 2003).]

Lawrence

05:47PM | 12/27/03
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
The wires probably disconncted or the outlet went bad.

The reason it does not interrupt the entire circuit is that electrical code requires that each outlet be fed by "pigtails," and not be directly wired to the circuit. A pigtail is a short wire that connects to the line splice inside the junction box. As such, for each splice in a simple, single outlet box in the middle of a circuit run, there will be three wires going into each wire nut: the (1) incoming and (2) outgoing wires for the circuit (which maintain the circuit even if something goes wrong with the outlet), and (3) the pigtail (which goes to the outlet). For a simple outlet, there will be three wire nuts: one hot, one neutral, and one ground.

That way, if something goes wrong with the outlet (as happened here), it only affects that outlet, not the entire circuit.

[This message has been edited by Lawrence (edited December 27, 2003).]

joed

08:27AM | 12/29/03
Member Since: 09/17/02
527 lifetime posts
Do you have a switch on the wall you can't figure out what it controls? It probably controls this outlet. Maybe it's a dimmer that some one turned down. It shouldn't be a dimmer by the way.
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