DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Electrical and Wiring (
-   -   No juice to certain outlets (

sidewalkdrop 01-19-2010 06:24 PM

No juice to certain outlets
I've been ignoring an electrical issue in my house for about a year now. The problem is that none of the outlets in my dining room work and half the outlets in my kitchen don't work. The two rooms are right next to each other and none of the 4 bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, den, basement, garage, outside have any such outlet problems.

I made a quick diagram here:

None of the built-in wired lights in these rooms are malfunctioning. Both rooms have overhead fans/lights that work and the kitchen has cabinet (above and below) lighting and a overhead light about the sink that work just fine (along with their respective switches).

I've reset all the breakers but that had no effect. I don't have any GFCI outlets either. I'm just looking for some initial steps to take to try troubleshooting and fixing this.

The house is about 70 years old but the kitchen was completely remolded and rewired about 15 years ago.

inspectorD 01-19-2010 07:42 PM

You have a short somewhere.
You would be saving yourself alot of trouble by just getting an electrician for this one.
How is your electrical knowledge? Are you ok with going inside the panel? If not, forget about this as a diy.
I know this is DIY site, however some things are just to dangerous, and really not worth it.

sidewalkdrop 01-20-2010 07:32 AM

Thanks for the reply.

Would you be able to clear this up: if there is a short somewhere, shouldn't it be tripping a breaker?

handyguys 01-20-2010 07:45 AM

It could have shorted out and damaged a connection and now is completely out even tho breaker is re-set.

One reason inspectorD suggests bringing in a pro is because you have set all the breakers. We assume they are all on yet no power to certain places. That means there is an open connection somewhere. This could be a loose wire that is LIVE. It could be a bad receptacle with a LIVE wire to it. It could be a bad breaker, it could be a loose wire in the panel itself.

It could also be something more simple. Could there be a GFCI somewhere, installed during the kitchen remodel? Look near the panel, look overhead in the basement.

sidewalkdrop 01-20-2010 08:12 AM

I'll also poke around the basement ceiling and see if there is any in-line equipment put in that may have tripped.

I definitively don't want to mess around with taking apart the panel. Would it be a waste of time/effort to take a look at each non-working outlet and just check for a loose wire? I can kill the power and am comfortable doing this.

handyguys 01-20-2010 08:44 AM

If you are comfortable making sure the pwer is off and checking for loose connections and can do it safely then go for it. If you have any outlets that have been installed with backstab connections change them out to using the screws. Also, make sure you check each outlet for split wiring (if you don't know what I mean, ask). If you replace an outlet that was split with one that isnt configured for split you will add yet another problem.

handyguys 01-20-2010 08:44 AM

oh, and the first dead outlet closest to the panel is the first one I would check.

travelover 01-20-2010 09:08 AM

Good advice. I had a similar problem and it was the push in wire connector that had failed on an outlet. I just switched the wires to the screw terminals and it was off to the races.

TxBuilder 01-20-2010 01:45 PM

I'm with the inspector on this one when it comes to electricity I call an electrician for anything I'm not sure I can do.

Wuzzat? 01-20-2010 02:41 PM

There's some things you can do without removing the panel cover.

Sometimes just pushing slightly on a failed outlet brings the power back. If so, you've found your loose connection.

Assuming only one of the two connections (the hot wire, which should be the short outlet slot) is bad, run a 7-1/2w test lamp from a known good ground to each short slot of each failed outlet.

If you find one of the failed outlets that has an energized hot wire, turn breakers on and off until this outlet loses power.
Now, check what other outlets have lost power.

Now you have identified all the outlets on that breaker and with that breaker off you can use an ohmmeter to check where the bad connection is.

Checking the neutral wire requires the test lamp to go from a known good 120v source, but it's otherwise the same principle.

For those outlets that still work, if you have a voltmeter there is a way to check connection integrity all the way back to the power pole without removing any covers.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:31 AM.