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Old 08-08-2009, 02:22 PM   #1
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


I have several electrical outlets that don't work and some where when you plug something in, the plug falls out.

The house was built in 1991. All the outlets I am referring to look like regular outlets and are all inside the house.

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Old 08-08-2009, 03:15 PM   #2
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


Get a count on how many outlets you have. Go to Home Depot or Lowes and pick some up. Shut down your main breaker and spend half the day replacing the outlets

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Old 08-08-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


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Get a count on how many outlets you have. Go to Home Depot or Lowes and pick some up. Shut down your main breaker and spend half the day replacing the outlets
How many wires are generally connected to each outlet?
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:38 PM   #4
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


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I have several electrical outlets that don't work and some where when you plug something in, the plug falls out.

The house was built in 1991. All the outlets I am referring to look like regular outlets and are all inside the house.
It does sound like you have some replacing of receptacles to do. However receptacles that when plugged into with some appliance and that appliance doesn't work is likely to be something other than a bad receptacle.

Have you checked any receptacles for voltage at the receptacle?
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:40 PM   #5
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


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How many wires are generally connected to each outlet?
That depends... for an outlet to work it must have a minimum of two wires connected to it a neutral and a hot wire.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:57 PM   #6
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


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It does sound like you have some replacing of receptacles to do. However receptacles that when plugged into with some appliance and that appliance doesn't work is likely to be something other than a bad receptacle.

Have you checked any receptacles for voltage at the receptacle?
No, I haven't done that....can I pick up a voltage meter for a cheap price at home depot or something?
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:51 PM   #7
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


Yes you can. You can get one probably under 20 bucks
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:21 PM   #8
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


Dollar to a donut those old outlets are Slater brand. Those were notorious for wearing out both inside and out.

The wires fall out of the back stabs, and the plugs fall out of the receptacle.

This disrupts the continuity of your circuitry.

Simply replace them with some new ones and there is a good possibility your circuits will be restored to operating condition.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:21 PM   #9
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...partial&s=true

On a receptacle you will have 2 brass screws- for black (Hot) wire
2 silver screws- for white (neutral) wire
1 green screw- for green/bare(ground) wire

You will have some receptacles with 2 white and 2 blacks and 2 ground wires. one black and white wire feeds the receptacle with power, while the other black and white wire take power from that receptacle and feed another recepacle.

Receptacles with just one Black white and green wire just use one of each brass, silver srews to terminate to the receptacle. when you have a receptacle with two black and white wires you can use both screws the the receptacle.
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:50 PM   #10
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


While you are at whichever store you decide to purchase your electrical receptacles from- -buy yourself one of the "Home wiring" books they will have there. Every electrician you have ever seen had to start learning from the basics. I'm certainly not trying to discredit you, as we do not know your skill levels. They do have some very educational books out now for homeowners. Good Luck, David
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:11 PM   #11
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


Preface: I'm not a professional electrician

However, I am a DIY electrician that purchased a book and some tools and testers, got some advice on this forum, and did a rewire on 1000sqft of residence (permitted, of course). Next I plan to rewire a kitchen and addition. I recommend definitely getting a home wiring book if you can afford it. There are some cheapies out there with basic diagrams for less than $10. My project had sections of cut-up extension cords mixed in with some 14-2 and 12-2, a few adapters plugged into light bulb sockets powering light fixtures that were hanging by clothes-hanger wires from 12-2 and gas lines... Yeah, that was the original home-owner's DIY finished basement electrical work. The receptacles were like you describe, with some working and others not. There were some that had 12-2 back-stabbed (in the 70's) that had gotten loose.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:44 PM   #12
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How to Fix Electrical Outlets That Don't Work


Plugs falling out = high contact resistance = shortened motor lifetimes.

Don't get a voltmeter that responds to Phantom Voltage.

If you have #12 wiring, it's not very flexible so make sure the receptacle terminal screw doesn't come loose as you push the new outlet back into the box. With wirenuts and #12, twist the wires together with pliers before you screw on the wirenut. These few turns probably act as a strain relief.


Last edited by Yoyizit; 08-08-2009 at 09:48 PM.
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