Receptacle Doesn't Work
By far the most common problem with a receptacle is that it doesn?t work. Because receptacles are very inexpensive and easy to replace, it makes sense to replace them when they cease to work properly. But before you go to the trouble of buying a new one and installing it, make sure that the old one is truly defective.
For a non-working duplex receptacle, first make sure the problem isn't with the appliance or lamp. Some appliances, such as hairdryers, have overload protectors that automatically shut them off if they begin to overheat. Try a second appliance or lamp in the receptacle.
If the receptacle still doesn't work, you'll usually find that the circuit breaker has tripped or the fuse has blown, the receptacle has become faulty, or there is a switch that operates that receptacle and it needs to be turned on. The problem is rarely the wiring.
1) Test the receptacle with a second lamp or appliance.
2) Be sure that one half of the duplex receptacle (or the entire receptacle) isn't controlled by a switch in the room.
3) Check the circuit breaker (or fuse) for that receptacle's circuit to be sure it has not tripped (or blown). If it has, reset the breaker or replace the fuse, and try plugging a working lamp or appliance into the receptacle again.
4) If it still doesn't work, turn off the receptacle's circuit breaker, unscrew the cover plate from the receptacle, and use a voltage tester to be sure none of the wires in the electrical box are still "hot." Then check to be sure that the wires are securely fastened to the receptacle's terminals.
5) Look for signs of charring. Replace the receptacle if it looks damaged.
6) Put the cover plate back on, turn the circuit back on, and try the receptacle again. If it still doesn't work, turn the circuit back off, remove the receptacle cover, and replace the receptacle with one that has the same amp and voltage ratings.
7) If this doesn't solve the problem, call an electrician.
Jan 18, 2006 |
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