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Loss of power

1544 Views 21 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  vjsimone
Ok forgive me but I know nothing about home electrical systems.

In my bedroom I have 4 receptacles, one on each wall. Sometimes when I plug something the same two plug ins they lose power. Sometimes not. And sometimes when I turn on the light it makes the same two plug ins lose power.

The breaker isn't kicking off and if I cycle it anyways plug ins still have no power. The only way these come back on is with time, usually takes hours.

Can anyone explain to me what might be doing this? I don't understand them coming back on by themselves over time . I don't understand how turning on the light makes plug ins go out. And I don't understand why its intermediate.
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By "same 2 plug ins" do you mean two outlets in the same wall plate? If so. They Igbo both be controlled. Hg be switch which could explain one of your issues. As to the other issue, I'd check the connections in the offending box to be sure that they are all tight (and likely if they are the old back stab type outlets replace them). Ron
No I mean one outlet on one wall and one outlet on another wall
Sounds like a loose connection some where. If you know how the power is routed then the problem is first not working or last working device.

If any of your devices are using the back stab connections move the wires to the screws. Back stabs are a very common cause of this issue.
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I don't know how the power is routed. Should I pull the plugs then and check them? Should I do the same at the fuse box?

What exactly is a Back Stab?
Back stabs grab the wires when they are inserted into a small holes on the back of the receptacles.

I would definately pull those two receptacles and check for problems. If back stabbed, I would move the wires to the screws.
Ok forgive me but I know nothing about home electrical systems.
Please kill the power to those receptacles before doing any trouble shooting.
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I would look on YouTube for videos on "replacing receptacles" to familiar with the job. If anyone of those outlets has 3 pair of wires on it (4 back stabbed & 2 on the screws) you'll need to know what to do. You can't put 2 under 1 screw.
Get a pair of wire strippers and maybe one of those outlet testers.

I'd replace all 4 outlets - costs maybe 10 bucks.
Well if I got to open them up and check for back stabbers, I might as well replace them. Like Tizzer said its only ten bucks.

If this continues after new "non back stabbed" outlets are installed and it continues to happen is there any other place I should look? Or call an electrician?

Thank you everyone for your help
When you say "I turn on the light", do you mean an overhead installed ceiling light?

Also, before these current issues, did the Light switch control the power to either of these 2 receptacles/outlets?
Yes, turning on the light means using the wall switch to turn on the overhead light. Not a light plugged into an outlet

No, the light switch never controlled any outlets. This is where I am confused, cause I read somewhere that light and power seperated systems.
It is common for lights and receptacles to be on the same circuit .
How old is the house? Jim's right, so be careful checking the light fixture, could be powered from a wall recepticle first, then switched at the wall which means the light socket is always hot, or has power even if the switch is off. (should not be that way, but) Sounds like you are going to have to check all your connections....
House was built in 1935. I will throw the breaker and double check with ohm meter. Electricity and me dont like each other very much.
House was built in 1935. I will throw the breaker and double check with ohm meter. Electricity and me dont like each other very much.
Don't use an ohmmeter, you need a voltmeter.
Correct rjniles, I misspoke. Volt meter
Knob & Tube era.... Has the house been rewired since 1935 ? You working with grounded or non-grounded recepticles.

Oh, you did say breaker.... wondering if all your wiring was replaced?
If its been rewired since then I dont know for sure. The outlets are newer looking, but I dont know how to tell if they are grounded or not.
You will be able to see when you pull the receptical out. if you have a black, white and a ground, bare wire or green coating, then you most likely have a ground. You may have some wire nuts on the wires. safe way to check is an $8 plug in tester, has 3 lights on it.
The Black wire should have the power on it. set meter to 200v ac. Test leads on the black and white wires should show 110v or higher. red test lead on black wire and black test lead on ground should show 110v, red test lead on white wire, black test lead on ground, should show 0 v.

I suggest you start with the light switch..
House was built in 1935. I will throw the breaker and double check with ohm meter. Electricity and me dont like each other very much.
If you're not confident and don't have experience with electrical systems I don't think you should start opening receptacles. You may create more problems than you have now.
One thing that may help is a plug tester. It plugs into your receptacle and has 3 lights that tell you different things. When the receptacles lose power, plug it in. If no lights come on, you've lost power. My guess is you'll get the combination of lights that says you have an "Open neutral"
Just because something that is plugged in doesn't mean there is no power there.
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