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Old 12-05-2011, 06:53 AM   #1
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Sockets stopped working-need electrical advice


I have three outlets in my kitchen - two on the wall above the counter and one below the sink - which have stopped working. Two others still work. I have been doing some serious banging to remove the countertop and breakfast bar top, which are near these sockets. Could this have caused them to stop working somehow??? One socket - the one under the sink - works on the bottom socket but not the top! This is very strange. Is there an electrical person out there who can advise me? Thank you!

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Old 12-05-2011, 07:36 AM   #2
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Bad gfci, loose connection would be the other. Start by turning off power, then check for voltage before dismantling the receptacles, to inspect. Now of course, since you are doing a Kitchen remodel, now is the time to properly wire it, if it was not done correct before.

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:12 AM   #3
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Are any of the affected receptacles GFCI?
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:19 AM   #4
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Thank you for your replies. House was built in 1993 - no GFI. I pulled out the sockets and the wires on back are sound. I don't have a voltage meter so will have to go out and buy one. I take it that's my next step? No good just to install new GFI sockets? I'm worried - do you suppose I did something to wiring up in the wall when I was wacking that breakfast bar? Geesh. Ain't nuthin' easy. I did move my adjacent stove out and back in. It's a three-prong. Do you suppose that had any impact? I'm grasping here. Thanks all.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:33 AM   #5
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Sockets stopped working-need electrical advice


Did you check the working device onthe circuit. The problem could be in a device that is still working.
If the wires are pushed into the little holes in the back move them to the screws. The pushin connections are a very common cause of this problem.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:50 AM   #6
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Well, I turned off the breaker again and went to check the working outlet. Fortunately an electric appliance was already plugged into it so I could see that it was still hot! So there's a separate breaker feeding that working outlet.

Two of the three non-working outlets have push-in and not screwed on wires. Did I understand you correctly that I should pull out the push-ins and then screw them on? I see there are two screws on either side of the outlet. One set of screws is steel and the other is brass, if that makes a sifference. Do I wire black-to-brass and white-to-steel, or what? THANKS!
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:02 AM   #7
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that's correct. Black wire to the brass colored screw.
That outlet under sink that only works on half of it doesn't sound right.
pay attention to it.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:09 AM   #8
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OMG, I am pulling with all my might using plyers and can't hardly budge those %#$@ wires. Should I just cut them off and them buy a new socket and screw them on to a new socket?
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:14 AM   #9
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Sockets stopped working-need electrical advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by jammin06 View Post
that's correct. Black wire to the brass colored screw.
That outlet under sink that only works on half of it doesn't sound right.
pay attention to it.
Wouldn't that one be for the garbage desp. And only hot with switch is the up pos. if installed right??
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:16 AM   #10
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Yes, I feel like such a doof, that was the issue. I'm panicking a little over this electrical stuff and lost my head on that one, sorry for the gaff. But the other outlets are still a problem, I promise!
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:27 PM   #11
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You cannot simply pull out the wires that are backfed into your receptacle; otherwise they could pull out on there own. Next to the hole that the wire is pushed into, there is a second hole, into which you need to press something the same size as the wire, or slightly smaller, to release the catch, while pulling out on the wire. AFTER, of course, being absolutely certain that the power to that device is OFF. Also keeping in mind that some boxes may contain more than one circuit.
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:37 PM   #12
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OK thanks. I'll shut off ALL my breakers just to be sure! I don't understand why, if the wires are securely attached, removing them and putting them under the screws instead will make a difference. Could you explain to me? Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:07 PM   #13
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A backfed connection basically grips the wire, as opposed to holding it firmly in place with a screw. Not the same, but think of pulling on a rope with it between your thumb and index finger versus getting a real grip on it; even if you can hold it, your muscles are going to relax over time, just as the metal in a backfed connection does, and your grip will not be as sufficient. Simply good practice, particularly when you have a known problem, to get the best connection possible.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:57 PM   #14
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Interesting, thanks for the explanation. Well, I managed to rewire one of them, but on the second one as I struggled to to push into the adjacent hole to release the wire, the whole darn socket cracked across the back. So now I guess I have to replace it, which is OK. But, does it do me any good to turn the power back on and try out the one socket I rewired? WOuld that tell me anything? Could it possibly be working on its own even if the other one still isn't? At this point I'm thinking maybe I should just buy new GFI sockets (or whatever you call them) and install those, but I'm not sure if that makes sense. Man, the things I'll do to save money. Thanks again for any help.
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:27 PM   #15
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Sockets stopped working-need electrical advice


Not having been there, I can't say for sure, but, unless you had a lot of force in the wrong direction, or were forcing something too large into the hole, perhaps the receptacle was cracked as far back as when it was installed, and the problem just showed up. As for what to do next, that's obviously your call, but my suggestion would be to get a receptacle, and finish the job, before restoring power and checking further. As for GFCI, again, your call, but yes, I would address that as long as I was working on it. A single GFCI receptacle at the beginning of a circuit can protect the remaining receptacles, and the wiring instructions will be in the package. The only bear is that GFCI's are larger than standard receptacles, so are often cozy in older boxes.

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