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Old 11-11-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
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plug-ins not working!!!


i have a series of plugs not working...they are the front part of my house's rooms (living, bedroom, dining room, basement) none of the breakers are tripped. i don't think its a loose connection in the receptacles because of this: (a little background)
this same run of plugs blew a few years ago. I had a window air conditioner i turned on and they blew...checked a few connection and couldn't find anything. i dealt with it for about a year and then had my panel updated (i had an old 60 amp, screw in fuses)
I upgraded the panel to make room for central air i am adding. after the guy reconnected the wires to the panel, those string of receptacles worked!!
fast forward to last week, i was trying to find the breaker to switch off for an overhead light. flicked till i found it. anyways, after i was done...flipped everything on....and now that same string of outlets are out again.
can something be wrong within the box? i think this because it was fixed before when the panel was upgraded and nothing else was done outside of the panel.
i'm somewhat electrically inclined (changing outlets, fixtures) but i am alittle gunshy messing around in the box...

thanks for any advice
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:27 AM   #2
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plug-ins not working!!!


I would go back through the breakers, and switch them all off then back on again; could be that one did not fully set. After that, check to see if you have a GFCI receptacle in that run, and reset it.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:36 AM   #3
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plug-ins not working!!!


Main electrical connections can come loose.

Are these outlets on separate breakers? If yes, then that sounds like a loose main electrical connection.

Warning! Power is on to the main lines of a breaker panel even with the main breaker off! Not DIY thing...

The main electrical wires would be from the electric pole, to your house, to the electric meter, then to your circuit breaker panel.

Call your electric company and ask them to retighten your main electrical connections. They may do this for free.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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plug-ins not working!!!


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Originally Posted by DexterII View Post
I would go back through the breakers, and switch them all off then back on again; could be that one did not fully set. After that, check to see if you have a GFCI receptacle in that run, and reset it.
i've tried flicking them off and on again..i only messed with the 20amp breakers. i don't think it's a GFCI that needs reset. don't even see one (its an old home) like i said nothing else was done but replace the panel when they became working again.

Quote:
Are these outlets on separate breakers? If yes, then that sounds like a loose main electrical connection.
i'm not sure what you mean here...i flicked the 20 amp breakers trying to find the one to turn off a backroom light. when i flipped them all back on, the front receptacles dont work. something come loose behind that breaker associated to those receptacles?
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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plug-ins not working!!!


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Originally Posted by jgee82 View Post
i'm not sure what you mean here...i flicked the 20 amp breakers trying to find the one to turn off a backroom light. when i flipped them all back on, the front receptacles dont work. something come loose behind that breaker associated to those receptacles?
Is there just 1 circuit breaker going to all those outlets?

Or are there several different breakers going to those outlets?
One breaker for the living room outlets.
Another breaker for the basement breakers.
Etc.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:03 PM   #6
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i am assuming one...panel wasn't labeled so process of elimination i think i've tracked down which 20 amp breaker it is.
i just don't want to pay an electrician if it's something quick/easy
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:06 PM   #7
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plug-ins not working!!!


So there is just one breaker which goes to all the outlets in living room, bedroom, dining room, and the basement?

And all these outlets are still not working?
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:18 PM   #8
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plug-ins not working!!!


The reason I am asking if the outlets are on separate breakers is that if they are, then they would also have separate wires. And it would be unlikely that two or three separate breakers/wires would stop working at the same time!

However if they are all on the same breaker, then there could be a loose connection somewhere in the house.

If they are on separate breakers though, then a common problem is that the main wires going to your house from the electric company can come loose. (Don't touch these, call your electric company!)

At the top of this breaker panel are 3 or 4 main wires. They can come loose at the connections...



Here is where the electric meter goes. The main wires in this can come loose...



Here is where the main wires come from the electric company. They can be loose at the connections...



Or the connections can be loose at the electric pole...


Last edited by Billy_Bob; 11-11-2011 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:18 PM   #9
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plug-ins not working!!!


the feed wires into the panel look fine.
i don't think its a connection somewhere along the circuit
as the last time these were out, all they did was swap out the old box infavor of a new panel and breakers. so something happened when they reconnected the wires at the panel to bring those receptacles back to life.
thats why i am thing the problem is around the breaker itself or in the panel.
could breaker be bad? how do you check, wires behind breaker loose?
how do you swap breaker? turn off my breaker to house at top of panel and that kills all the power to house?
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:32 PM   #10
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plug-ins not working!!!


My advice to you would be to call the electric company and see of they will come out for free and check your main wires.

If it is free, then no harm if everything is ok. Plus if that is the problem, then it will be solved and you will not need to worry about checking anything else.

So call the electric company and see what they say...
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:16 PM   #11
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plug-ins not working!!!


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Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
My advice to you would be to call the electric company and see of they will come out for free and check your main wires.

If it is free, then no harm if everything is ok. Plus if that is the problem, then it will be solved and you will not need to worry about checking anything else.

So call the electric company and see what they say...
No need to call the electric company; there's an easy test for this. Do your water heater, dryer, air conditioner, stove, and any other 240V appliances work perfectly? If so, then the problem is not with your service. It's just a bad breaker or loose connection on that circuit. Remove the suspect breaker, tighten the connection of the wire to the breaker, and reinstall the breaker in the panel. If that doesn't fix it, replace the breaker.
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Old 11-11-2011, 02:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Do your water heater, dryer, air conditioner, stove, and any other 240V appliances work perfectly? If so, then the problem is not with your service. It's just a bad breaker or loose connection on that circuit. Remove the suspect breaker, tighten the connection of the wire to the breaker, and reinstall the breaker in the panel. If that doesn't fix it, replace the breaker.
i have a gas dryer, water heater, stove, no Central Air....yet...
dont know what else would be on 240v
how do i remove a breaker? are they screwed in, clip in? do i have to shut off my breaker to panel first before i touch anythin with screw driver?
how do you check if breaker itself is bad? put one in from a known one that works?
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Old 11-11-2011, 03:32 PM   #13
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plug-ins not working!!!


Does the 240 volt test check for a loose neutral?
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:22 PM   #14
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Does the 240 volt test check for a loose neutral?
No, but these symptoms are not consistent with a loose utility neutral.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:01 PM   #15
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No, but these symptoms are not consistent with a loose utility neutral.
Oh?

Multiple 120 volt outlets not working is not consistent with a loose neutral?

I always thought 120 volt outlets needed the neutral to work?

Also it has not yet been determined if there is a loose main hot or not.

Nor if these are all on one breaker or not. "living, bedroom, dining room, basement" - That is a lot of outlets to be on one single breaker???

So far in my book, it is possible that there could be a poor connection at a main wire. Or if the outlets are all on one breaker, then a poor connection somewhere in the house.

But because there are so many outlets not working, I am thinking these would not all be on the same breaker. Thus more likely a problem with a main wire.

If this were my house, I would pull out my multimeter and check the voltage at the breaker. But I would suspect the OP does not have a multimeter...

And it seems to me the easiest thing for the OP to do would be to call the electric company and have them check the connections (if they do that for free), then that could be eliminated as a cause for no cost.

THEN he might want to buy a multimeter...
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