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bkocik 07-26-2007 09:15 AM

Intermittent outlet failures
Hi all -

My house is around 25 years old. Since we bought it 3.5 years ago, the kitchen outlets have occasionally lost power for no obvious reason, and then regained it within a moment or two. I haven't replaced outlets there yet.

In the living room I replaced all outlets and switches about 2 years ago. Today, the outlets in that room lost power for a good half hour, and I don't know why. I checked breakers and found nothing. They magically started working again on their own - I didn't really do anything to prompt it, because I hadn't yet formulated a plan.

Someone has suggested I may have a bad outlet in both cases. I'm wondering if maybe the breaker panel is getting old and needs to be rewired or replaced.

Does anyone have any other suggestions on what I should be checking, and how? Should I just admit defeat early and call an electrician to figure it all out?

Thanks much.

HouseHelper 07-26-2007 09:24 AM

Most likely a loose connection at a receptacle from the use of backstabbed connections. You should start a systematic inspection of all receptacles and as you check each one, relocate the wires to the screws.

You should also check the wire connections in your panel at both the breakers and the neutral bus (with the power off of course).

jbfan 07-26-2007 10:24 AM

Just what househelper said. This can be a long and tedious process, but you will find the problem.

bkocik 07-26-2007 10:38 AM

Okay. Thanks very much to both of you. I guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend. :)

HouseHelper 07-26-2007 12:22 PM

After re-reading your post, I think I would start with the neutral connections in the panel. Make sure everything is fully inserted in the hole and the screws are tight.

HiFi 07-28-2007 12:32 PM

A loose contact in the box is the reason

JohnJ0906 07-28-2007 08:32 PM

What brand, and how old is you breaker panel?

I agree with the above posters advice, but a bad breaker is not outside the realm of possibility.

Tony Cunningham 08-14-2007 05:22 PM

hi all... i am happy to be working on homes in the Biloxi, ms area for habitant for humanity....such a warm reward !!!! i recently was called into a home where the kitchen lights worked sometimes, and then sometimes wouldn't.
so i said to myself "SELF"....we always start at the end of the problem and work backwards....i had every meter that the law allows..immediately disasembled the 4' ceiling light.then went to the 3/way switch...(wouldn't you) as i am doing this, the person in charge of the area went to a 2 gang light switch in the other room. Little did i know he was a master electrician. He said , TONY put everything back... OKAY !!! does the light work now? yes SIR !! does it work now? no SIR !! ( the "electricians) had sourced from the in the evenings the kitchen lights worked and in the day they did not...

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