I made this video in hope to help someone find out why their outlets may not be working. You should be particularly concerned that this is the problem if you have had recent work done on the outlet, the wall around it, or anywhere else on your home's electrical system. But occasionally, the circuit breaker won’t reset or keeps tripping. Another easy solution that might apply when your circuit breaker is on but there is no power to its corresponding outlets is to check the GFCI reset button. This is one problem you should call a professional for, because it could be one or more many different things. The voltage between the two hot wires is 240, a sum of the voltage of the two hot wires. When checking for voltage, always check from hot to neutral, hot to ground, and neutral to ground to be sure. I have a plug that went out. This is a line diagram of  this condition. With the switch for the light closed, the voltage feeds through the filament of the light bulb, and (loads) the neutral, but with a broken connection, and no complete path, the light does not work. Backstory: Last year around this time, we had Christmas lights plugged into the outlet on our front porch (home built in 1977, this outlet is very old,) and one day the lights stopped working. Thanks for all your questions! Kitchen Outlet Problems Electrical Question: On a 110 volt circuit the circuit breaker is not tripped, but appliances won’t work.. So here it goes, an attempt to explain the neutral conductor, without going too deep into electrical theory. In the case of a broken neutral, checking the outlet with a meter or a neon voltage tester from hot to neutral would not show voltage. Now you can see how that neutral wire can be as dangerous as the hot wires in a circuit. evening and will be back Mon. Did not kick breaker off. That is why you can have a situation where the breaker is supplying power to the circuit, but the outlet (receptacle, light, appliance, etc.) GFCI Outlet Not Working. Sometimes a breaker will look like it is not tripped but in reality it is. Then switch them back on. He has written advertisements, book and video game reviews, technical articles and thesis papers. You’ll need to reset any tripped breakers by flipping them into the on position. One of the most common problems within a home’s electrical system is that of a tripped circuit breaker. Some of them require the attention of a professional electrician. If one of the wires or contacts in the outlet, or in the wiring to or from the outlet, is broken, there isn't a complete path for the electricity to travel. They seem fairly, well, “neutral.” Yet I’ve heard electricians say they rather have a run-in with a “hot” lead than the neutral leg (“return”) of a hot, in-use circuit. When an electrical outlet or a circuit doesn’t work, but the breaker is not tripped, the problem is likely with a neutral connection. This is a line diagram to help simplify the circuit. If this fails to work, or if your outlet does not have a GFCI, then you need to look at other outlets. My breaker tripped., House, 8 replies Electrical Question! Ok, first let me say I am by no means a professional videographer. These devices are included in the outlet to reduce the possibility of electrocution. That is because it is physically connected to the grounding (or earthing) system at one point only, and that is at the main service entrance panel. I checked the breaker and it is not tripped. In most homes, you have a 120/240V system. Check the GFCI Reset Button. A tripped circuit breaker is typically the result of a temporary overload in the circuit. I read through the dead outlet pinned post, with no luck. It is a rare occurrence, which is one reason why a situation where there is no power and the circuit breaker is not tripped can be puzzling at first. Lights off but breaker not tripped., House, 15 replies arc breakers, House, 18 replies Here shows what reading you should get from neutral to ground under normal conditions. Contact an electrician for help with this work if you do not have proper electrical wiring training. Wiring Diagrams and Grounding – READ THIS FIRST. Electrical Outlet Doesn’t Work and Breaker isn’t Tripped. Of course, the issue might not be the GFCI at all. And finally, this is the question that prompted me to do a bit of an educational post explaining the role of the neutral conductor in a circuit. Then a system of grounding (or earthing) conductors (bare copper, or green)  is used throughout all the circuits to provide a path for fault currents (should a problem with the intended path occur) back to earth, tripping the breaker. For some reason this circuit has two GFCI outlets on it. However, in some cases the breaker or fuse may seem fine, and even if you reset the circuit breaker the circuit is … Step 1 - Check Circuit Breakers Again Many times a circuit breaker needs reset even if it doesn’t look like it has flipped. Keep them coming! Then switch them back on. I often wonder why the neutral has no voltage although a circuit is energised. Here is a diagram showing what happens if the neutral path is broken, and the reading on a meter when checking from neutral to ground. 1. A plug tester should indicate an  ‘”open neutral” condition. In some cases, the faulty appliance or device will short the power out again. If the breaker is not tripped, turn it off and open each receptacle and remove them from the wall boxes. I have had many questions regarding this very situation over the years, and here are some examples of questions received recently. He started working with Mechanical Turk and then started contracting with individuals and companies directly via the Web. Meter should read 120v from hot to ground and neutral in normal conditions. This is a dangerous situation that requires the immediate attention of a professional electrician like Mr. Electric. You just became a part of the live circuit! Checking from neutral to ground in these normal conditions should read at or near zero volts. If you find that electricity is now available through those outlets, the problem is solved. Also, if you identify a GFCI outlet not working, it may be the reason why multiple outlets are out. But in rare cases, a loose wire in the electrical … I've reset every breaker and the main breaker. As to your question, there is for the most part two locations to look for any power issues: #1) the first location anyone should look is the fuse box, it could be a tripped breaker if 120 volts and a blown fuse if 12 volt is the issue, then #2) this is the one most if not all miss, THE GFI OUTLET. There are a number of different reasons why an outlet will stop functioning without tripping the breaker. Some of them require the attention of a professional … If the outage has gone farther than a single wall and into an entire room, you’re going to want to again take a look first at your breaker box and see if the room in question has been tripped. is not working. Sometimes a GFCI in one outlet is responsible for protecting several other outlets further down the line from it. Recently a storm rolled through and knocked out some stuff at my house. I did find two more outlets not working on the exterior of my house. Make sure the "Test" and "Reset" buttons aren't the root of your outlet's failure to provide power.. Electrical Online: Electrical Outlet Doesn’t Work and Breaker Isn’t Tripped, The Circuit Detective: GFCI Outlets in Homes, Living With My Home: Electrical Outlet Problems. Several electrical items in your home are not working. In some cases, you might have trouble finding this outlet. He didn't have time to trouble shoot further since it was Sat. Your circuit breaker will probably need to be replaced. Step 4: Check the breaker panel. Sometimes the breaker may not have fully tripped to the other side so you may need to check each breaker in turn. "If you're looking for a good reference to help you understand simple home wiring, I personally recommend 'The Basics of Household Wiring' DVD". Push the "Test" button to ensure power has been shut off to the outlet; then press the "Reset" button to restore power. James, you said your breaker is not tripping, but if your resetting your main breaker to get things working again, that means it is tripping. – Terry Peterman, the Internet Electrician. You can tell if your outlet has a GFCI by the presence of a "Test" button and a "Reset" button. I have had many questions regarding this very situation over the years, and … The neutral is referred to as the “grounded” conductor. So, what can you do if your circuit breaker won’t reset? Barbara, because the outlets are outdoor and the circuit breaker is not tripped then I would suspect that there is a GFI outlet somewhere that is tripped off. In such a case, the outlet will not work even though it has not tripped the circuit breaker. Usually, the fix is a simple flip of a switch, and the lights are back on. I’ll attempt to answer as many as I can through various means, either a quick answer on my blog, or if the answer warrants a full post with diagrams, I’ll create a post or video on the website. Electricity is Off but Circuit Breaker Isn't Tripped When the lights go out in one or more rooms or in a series of electrical outlets, the culprit is sometimes a circuit breaker or a fuse has blown. You push the tripped breaker switch toward the Off position firmly ; It springs back to the middle tripped position; What to do: Call an electrician right away. I usually start at the closest outlet to the breaker panel that is not working if that one is good the last working one on that circuit. I’ve never understood why, and I think that a lot of people think you can’t get hurt by a neutral conductor…thought an elaboration on this might be a beneficial thing for you to post on your site. Although nuts are designed just to cover wire cables, some electricians make the wire nuts into a conductor between wires. Referring to the question of the receptacle not working, but the breaker is on, and the hot and the neutral side of his receptacle showed 120v, you can see here that checking anywhere on the neutral conductors ahead of the break in the circuit will show a reading of at or near 120 volts, the same potential that will be on the hot side of the circuit. When the GFCI senses a current leak, it disconnects the terminals inside the outlet, cutting off power to it. Let's try to narrow things down quickly. Electrical Outlet or Electrical Receptacle, Video: Common Electrical Outlet Problems, Video: Understanding Electrical Outlet Wire Colors. If you complete the circuit with your fingers, or from your hand, through parts of your body to ground ………. See if any of the following sounds like your situation. 2. When an electrical outlet or a circuit doesn’t work, but the breaker is not tripped, the problem is likely with a neutral connection. And now the hot and common leads are both putting out 120 volts? This GFI outlet may be found outside or it may be in the garage. This is the situation where a neutral conductor can give you a shock! In this way you will know which one is the cause of the overload. With the circuit open because of a bad or broken connection, the neutral can have a full 120v (the supply) on it as referenced to ground. In order to reset the GFCI outlet, you’ll have to identify which outlet was tripped. Another reason why your electrical outlets do not work could be that there are numerous wires under the wire nut. When a wall outlet doesn't work, there are two possible reasons: a bad connection or a tripped breaker. Jason Thompson has been self-employed as a freelance writer since 2007. The other possible cause is loose wiring. Are the electrical outlets not working in one room? Answer: The first thing to do is to unplug everything that is plugged into all the outlets that do not have power. 2 – Go back to your panel and double check to be sure it did not trip. [Picture of tripped breaker?] Hit the "Test" button, then the Reset" button, on each of them and keep going back to find out if this has fixed your problem. If a step does not work, go to the next step. However you can tell this by physically pushing on each breaker handle to see if there is any “play” in the handle. Allot of todays breakers don’t show when they have tripped. That is why it is so important not to work on any circuit that is energized! That did not fix my problem. The circuit that the outlet is on my have been tripped. You have a common troubleshooting problem and the one with the most possibilities. 2. overloaded main or sub main breaker. Angie’s List member George Umezawa chose to be safe rather than sorry when he hired Power Up Electric in Los Angeles to replace six two-prong electrical outlets in his 1957 home. If it turns out the circuit breaker hasn't been tripped, then you may be dealing with a more difficult problem. After all, us electricians need to keep some of our knowledge a secret, or you wouldn’t look to us as the genius’ that we really are! A random passing event such as a power surge can cause a GFCI to trip. When you find an electrical outlet not working, it's not only frustrating — it can also be an indicator of a more serious problem. Sometimes the breakers may not look like they've tripped but they actually have. Did that work? Once all of the power has been restored, return to the area and plug in one appliance or device at a time. (NOTE: This voltage can vary by 5% either way). How to Fix a Non-Working Electrical Outlet . Specifically, if your GFCI outlet won’t reset, it may be because it is damaged or you have a tripped one. If an outlet doesn’t work, it could be because the GFCI outlet tripped. This system  incorporates two hot legs (red wire and black wire), and a grounded neutral (white) wire. Others you can do yourself. And are those 6 receptacles the only ones on the breaker, or are there more that still have power? One wall in the kitchen is not working for some reason. Proceed sequentially through these steps. In order to re-set it, turn it all the way off – then back on again in order to restore power. What would most likely be the reason for this? – mmathis Jan 9 '18 at 13:15. The GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is identifiable as an outlet with reset and test buttons. What went wrong? If this does not help – move onto step 3. Then go through each breaker, turning them off and back on. Lights and outlets out, no tripped circuit breakers, House, 27 replies Lose Power for 1/2 hour, no breaker tripped - Thoughts?, House, 17 replies Anyone with an electric free standing range? Look in other rooms, closets, hallways and anywhere else you might have a GFCI . If an electrical outlet in your home has suddenly stopped working, your first instinct is probably to check the circuit breaker that it is connected to. You are at increased risk for damaged wiring, appliances, and electrical fires without a properly working circuit breaker. This is one of those ‘tried and true’ tools of the trade that electricians can’t imagine doing their job without. Electrical issue, breakers not tripped but outlets dead. Turn off the circuit breaker connected to the faulty area of the home and turn it back on. Had an electrician come out and he tested the breakers but all seemed to be fine. If there is – that’s your tripped breaker. If it turns out the circuit breaker hasn't been tripped, then you may be dealing with a more difficult problem. If a reset there does not work, look next for a GFCI outlet and hit the reset button. The voltage from each hot conductor as referenced to ground (or neutral) is 120v. If your lights are dimming or flickering after turning on a large appliance (but your circuit breaker has not tripped), this could mean the voltage in your household is not up to standard. A tripped breaker will typically have a little “give” to it rather than feeling solid. Q: When I plugged my cell phone charger into a kitchen outlet, my phone didn’t start charging as it normally does—rather, it seemed that this one electrical outlet was not working. Total of 6 outlets not working, breaker not tripped. The neutral, grounded conductor is as important to the circuit working properly as is the hot wire, so if the neutral path is broken, the circuit is incomplete. A circuit breaker, the connecting wire and appliance, however, are all components of a simple circuit that you … You checked to make sure the appliance is plugged in, the device is switched on and the circuit breaker is not tripped, and yet the appliance is not receiving power. When I test the outlet I’m only getting about 15 volts of power on the VOM, Volt Ohm Meter. Here is a diagram of a simple circuit, and what a meter should read when connected in the circuit checking from hot to ground. It is possible that the reset button on the GFCI is broken or that the wiring inside the GFCI is broken. I have flipped the breaker numerous times. Then reset the designated (and hopefully labeled) kitchen breaker in the breaker box by turning it off and then on again. There are a number of different reasons why an outlet will stop functioning without tripping the breaker. If you don't see a tripped breaker, firmly press every breaker to the "off" position. This will make sure that the breaker is on and sending power to its outlets. Hello: I had several outlets on the same circuit not working but the breaker was not tripped. Note that here the meter is checking from neutral to ground, and is now showing 120v. It's likely that a professional electrician is needed to properly diagnose and repair this problem. Tripped breakers will be in between the ON and OFF position. Do they go bad or could this be what is knocking out the whole circuit? Could you explain the “Neutral” in a circuit as opposed to the ground ? If an electrical outlet in your home has suddenly stopped working, your first instinct is probably to check the circuit breaker that it is connected to. If the tripped breaker won't reset without tripping again, there could be a potentially dangerous short circuit or ground fault condition. Go open your circuit breaker panel and look for a breaker that is tripped. The latest in my series of ‘Internet Electrician’ E-Books covers the use of a digital multi meter. Bad main or sub main depending on panel style. Any appliance or lamp plugged into the receptacle will not work either. What Would Cause a Wall Outlet to Not Work?. In this case it will have to be repaired or, more likely, replaced. As a sometime-electrical-do-it-yourselfer, you see those white neutral lines in your breaker box or behind your light switch boxes or outlets. Under normal conditions not a problem, but with a poor or broken connection, a problem! Many modern electrical power outlets are equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs. Nearly all electrical outlet problems can be solved by one of these five steps. ZAP. If not, continue on. I did find two more outlets not working for some reason this circuit has GFCI! Ll need to look at other outlets further down the line from it it goes, attempt. 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