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Old 02-10-2013, 06:32 PM   #1
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


We recently bought our home and changed all of the outlets and switches. My house was built in 1981 and had the old style electrical outlets. Everything went swimmingly, except that now, three of our light switches will not work. All of the outlets still work and every other switch. I am assuming they are on the same circuit, but I do not THINK that they are on their own. I cannot visually see anything wrong with the wiring at the box or at the switch. The switches themselves are not receiving any power.

I don't even know where to test to see if they are getting power from the source.


Last edited by iherduliekme; 02-10-2013 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:52 PM   #2
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Do you have a thrown GFI?

When one of my GFi's blows, my breakfast room light woill not come on. Not user if they did this on purpose or just the way it worked out.

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Old 02-10-2013, 07:10 PM   #3
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Do you mean the receptacles in question do not have any power or don't switch off like they used to?
If the receptacles used to be switch controlled on one half and now they stay on then you need to examine the old receptacles. You will see that ones that ore half switched need to have the tab between the screws on the hot side(gold colour) removed.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:24 PM   #4
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
Originally Posted by iherduliekme View Post
We recently bought our home and changed all of the outlets and switches. My house was built in 1981 and had the old style electrical outlets.
what does "old style" mean?

Quote:
...now, three of our light switches will not work.
All of the outlets still work and every other switch.

I am assuming they are on the same circuit, but I do not THINK that they are on their own.
They really shouldn't be... and rarely are.

Quote:
I don't even know where to test to see if they are getting power from the source.
What do you have to test with?

As to lights... the common approach is to feed the circuit at the ceiling from one light fixture to the next and room by room. The wires at the switch (blk & wht) are a "switching leg" and EACH goes under one of the screws on the switch

As to receptacles... and especially if you do NOT have ceiling lights in the room... that can more easily become complicated.

What do YOU have?
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
Originally Posted by iherduliekme View Post
Everything went swimmingly, except that now, three of our light switches will not work.
So in retrospect did everything really go swimmingly??

Quote:
Originally Posted by iherduliekme View Post
All of the outlets still work and every other switch.
If 3 switches do not work but every other switch still works, do you have six(6) switches in the same location?
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:31 PM   #6
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Look at the old switches, any of them happen to have 4 screws instead of 3?
Sure hope you did not just remove 2, prong outlets and replace with 3 prongs.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:59 PM   #7
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalplumber View Post
Do you have a thrown GFI?

When one of my GFi's blows, my breakfast room light woill not come on. Not user if they did this on purpose or just the way it worked out.
No thrown GFI's

Quote:
Do you mean the receptacles in question do not have any power or don't switch off like they used to?
If the receptacles used to be switch controlled on one half and now they stay on then you need to examine the old receptacles. You will see that ones that ore half switched need to have the tab between the screws on the hot side(gold colour) removed.
I actually posted the title incorrectly. Basically, I have two switches inside the house that control a couple sets of patio lights, and a switch in my outside laundry room to control the light. Those switches no longer work, yet every outlet and switch inside the house and in the laundry room still operate.

Quote:
What do you have to test with?
A basic multimeter.

Quote:
Look at the old switches, any of them happen to have 4 screws instead of 3?
Sure hope you did not just remove 2, prong outlets and replace with 3 prongs.
All outlets and switches were replaced with units that were identical as far as prongs and screws.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:19 PM   #8
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
Originally Posted by iherduliekme View Post
I actually posted the title incorrectly. Basically, I have two switches inside the house that control a couple sets of patio lights, and a switch in my outside laundry room to control the light. Those switches no longer work, yet every outlet and switch inside the house and in the laundry room still operate.
Start at the beginning.

Open the box up again and identify what is in there.
If there is more than one pair of wires in any one switch box...

Then test for a hot.
No switch can be expected to work if there is no hot to be switched.

Still no joy? Then go up to the light fixture.
Open the box up and identify what is in there.

There should be the switching leg pair... and *at least* one other
pair of always hot wires. Then test for a hot.

and so forth....

Outside lights are notorious for corrosion and rust and beat up wire.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:21 PM   #9
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Sure hope you did not just remove 2, prong outlets and replace with 3 prongs.
I would hope not, if the house was built in 1981.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:28 PM   #10
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


You have to think like a electrician. You figure out where the circuit breaker box is and try to imagine the shortest way to the outlets in question around all obstacles. Ask yourself how you would run the wires to the outlets and go to the first one.

If all the outlets are in the same room they most likely wrap around the walls so go to the one that works on either side of the ones that do work because most likely one of the wires came loose.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:03 AM   #11
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
Originally Posted by iherduliekme View Post
Basically, I have two switches inside the house that control a couple sets of patio lights, and a switch in my outside laundry room to control the light.
What is "the" light you are referring to that is controlled by a switch in your outside laundry room?


Quote:
Originally Posted by iherduliekme View Post

Those switches no longer work,
Which switches no longer work?

Even though in your mind you know what you mean by the terms "the switch" or "other switch" or "those switches" other readers may not know.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:16 PM   #12
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
What is "the" light you are referring to that is controlled by a switch in your outside laundry room?




Which switches no longer work?

Even though in your mind you know what you mean by the terms "the switch" or "other switch" or "those switches" other readers may not know.
There are two switches next to a sliding door on the inside of my house, each controlling a set of outside lights. These switches can no longer turn on the lights. A third switch no longer works, also. That third switch is located in the laundry room just outside of the sliding door, and controls the overhead light in the laundry room.

Last edited by iherduliekme; 02-11-2013 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:35 PM   #13
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


How soon after you changed all of the outlets and switches did the problem with the 3 switches start happening?
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:54 PM   #14
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
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How soon after you changed all of the outlets and switches did the problem with the 3 switches start happening?
Immediately.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:00 PM   #15
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3 Electrical Outlets Stopped Working


Quote:
Originally Posted by iherduliekme View Post
Immediately.
Start at the beginning.

Open up the switch box again and identify what is in there.
If there is more than one pair of wires in any one switch box...
you need to know what each is.

Then test for an always hot.
No switch can be expected to work if there is no hot to be switched.

Still no joy? Then go up to the light fixture.
Remove the fixture (open the box) and identify what is in there.

There should be the switching leg pair... and *at least* one other
pair of always hot wires. Then test for a hot.
and so forth....

Once you KNOW you have an always hot... then you can switch it.

Outside lights are notorious for corrosion and rust and beat up wire.

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