You can tell if your outlet has a GFCI by the presence of a "Test" button and a "Reset" button. Specifically, if your GFCI outlet won’t reset, it may be because it is damaged or you have a tripped one. When you find an electrical outlet not working, it's not only frustrating — it can also be an indicator of a more serious problem. You just became a part of the live circuit! I checked the breaker and it is not tripped. If it turns out the circuit breaker hasn't been tripped, then you may be dealing with a more difficult problem. If the tripped breaker won't reset without tripping again, there could be a potentially dangerous short circuit or ground fault condition. 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. (NOTE: This voltage can vary by 5% either way). But in rare cases, a loose wire in the electrical … Then switch them back on. There are a number of different reasons why an outlet will stop functioning without tripping the breaker. How to Fix a Non-Working Electrical Outlet . 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. This is a dangerous situation that requires the immediate attention of a professional electrician like Mr. Electric. GFCI Outlet Not Working. 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. Then go through each breaker, turning them off and back on. In order to reset the GFCI outlet, you’ll have to identify which outlet was tripped. 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. I did find two more outlets not working on the exterior of my house. 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. Ok, first let me say I am by no means a professional videographer. That is why it is so important not to work on any circuit that is energized! I read through the dead outlet pinned post, with no luck. Your circuit breaker will probably need to be replaced. If you find that electricity is now available through those outlets, the problem is solved. A plug tester should indicate an  ‘”open neutral” condition. Let's try to narrow things down quickly. Recently a storm rolled through and knocked out some stuff at my house. This will make sure that the breaker is on and sending power to its outlets. Also, if you identify a GFCI outlet not working, it may be the reason why multiple outlets are out. However, in some cases the breaker or fuse may seem fine, and even if you reset the circuit breaker the circuit is … You have a common troubleshooting problem and the one with the most possibilities. A tripped circuit breaker is typically the result of a temporary overload in the circuit. I've reset every breaker and the main breaker. Meter should read 120v from hot to ground and neutral in normal conditions. So, what can you do if your circuit breaker won’t reset? In this case it will have to be repaired or, more likely, replaced. I often wonder why the neutral has no voltage although a circuit is energised. Of course, the issue might not be the GFCI at all. 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. When an electrical outlet or a circuit doesn’t work, but the breaker is not tripped, the problem is likely with a neutral connection. The other possible cause is loose wiring. This is a line diagram to help simplify the circuit. I have had many questions regarding this very situation over the years, and … He didn't have time to trouble shoot further since it was Sat. Are the electrical outlets not working in one room? [Picture of tripped breaker?] If this fails to work, or if your outlet does not have a GFCI, then you need to look at other outlets. What went wrong? ZAP. Contact an electrician for help with this work if you do not have proper electrical wiring training. 2. Another reason why your electrical outlets do not work could be that there are numerous wires under the wire nut. Some of them require the attention of a professional … Here is a diagram of a simple circuit, and what a meter should read when connected in the circuit checking from hot to ground. So here it goes, an attempt to explain the neutral conductor, without going too deep into electrical theory. Push the "Test" button to ensure power has been shut off to the outlet; then press the "Reset" button to restore power. 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. And are those 6 receptacles the only ones on the breaker, or are there more that still have power? Did not kick breaker off. 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. This GFI outlet may be found outside or it may be in the garage. Electrical Outlet or Electrical Receptacle, Video: Common Electrical Outlet Problems, Video: Understanding Electrical Outlet Wire Colors. Some of them require the attention of a professional electrician. 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. My breaker tripped., House, 8 replies Electrical Question! 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. Now you can see how that neutral wire can be as dangerous as the hot wires in a circuit. If an outlet doesn’t work, it could be because the GFCI outlet tripped. Once all of the power has been restored, return to the area and plug in one appliance or device at a time. If a step does not work, go to the next step. Bad main or sub main depending on panel style. If there is – that’s your tripped breaker. A tripped breaker will typically have a little “give” to it rather than feeling solid. 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. Keep them coming! In most homes, you have a 120/240V system. In some cases, you might have trouble finding this outlet. Could you explain the “Neutral” in a circuit as opposed to the ground ? If the breaker is not tripped, turn it off and open each receptacle and remove them from the wall boxes. You’ll need to reset any tripped breakers by flipping them into the on position. In such a case, the outlet will not work even though it has not tripped the circuit breaker. A random passing event such as a power surge can cause a GFCI to trip. Proceed sequentially through these steps. 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. Tripped breakers will be in between the ON and OFF position. If a reset there does not work, look next for a GFCI outlet and hit the reset button. 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! Usually, the fix is a simple flip of a switch, and the lights are back on. 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. The voltage between the two hot wires is 240, a sum of the voltage of the two hot wires. – Terry Peterman, the Internet Electrician. He has written advertisements, book and video game reviews, technical articles and thesis papers. This is one problem you should call a professional for, because it could be one or more many different things. One of the most common problems within a home’s electrical system is that of a tripped circuit breaker. Do they go bad or could this be what is knocking out the whole circuit? Many modern electrical power outlets are equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs. Sometimes the breakers may not look like they've tripped but they actually have. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 2. overloaded main or sub main breaker. 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. I have had many questions regarding this very situation over the years, and here are some examples of questions received recently. And now the hot and common leads are both putting out 120 volts? A circuit breaker, the connecting wire and appliance, however, are all components of a simple circuit that you … In this way you will know which one is the cause of the overload. Here shows what reading you should get from neutral to ground under normal conditions. Checking from neutral to ground in these normal conditions should read at or near zero volts. Sometimes a GFCI in one outlet is responsible for protecting several other outlets further down the line from it. Had an electrician come out and he tested the breakers but all seemed to be fine. 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. Step 1 - Check Circuit Breakers Again Many times a circuit breaker needs reset even if it doesn’t look like it has flipped. I have a plug that went out. One wall in the kitchen is not working for some reason. Sometimes the breaker may not have fully tripped to the other side so you may need to check each breaker in turn. Although nuts are designed just to cover wire cables, some electricians make the wire nuts into a conductor between wires. Others you can do yourself. Go open your circuit breaker panel and look for a breaker that is tripped. When a wall outlet doesn't work, there are two possible reasons: a bad connection or a tripped breaker. I made this video in hope to help someone find out why their outlets may not be working. You are at increased risk for damaged wiring, appliances, and electrical fires without a properly working circuit breaker. 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. "If you're looking for a good reference to help you understand simple home wiring, I personally recommend 'The Basics of Household Wiring' DVD". 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. When checking for voltage, always check from hot to neutral, hot to ground, and neutral to ground to be sure. When the GFCI senses a current leak, it disconnects the terminals inside the outlet, cutting off power to it. It's likely that a professional electrician is needed to properly diagnose and repair this problem. Kitchen Outlet Problems Electrical Question: On a 110 volt circuit the circuit breaker is not tripped, but appliances won’t work.. I have flipped the breaker numerous times. There are a number of different reasons why an outlet will stop functioning without tripping the breaker. The latest in my series of ‘Internet Electrician’ E-Books covers the use of a digital multi meter. Allot of todays breakers don’t show when they have tripped. 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. Thanks for all your questions! 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. Check the GFCI Reset Button. 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. What Would Cause a Wall Outlet to Not Work?. 1. Look in other rooms, closets, hallways and anywhere else you might have a GFCI . Turn off the circuit breaker connected to the faulty area of the home and turn it back on. But occasionally, the circuit breaker won’t reset or keeps tripping. This system  incorporates two hot legs (red wire and black wire), and a grounded neutral (white) wire. 2 – Go back to your panel and double check to be sure it did not trip. evening and will be back Mon. 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. Hello: I had several outlets on the same circuit not working but the breaker was not tripped. Several electrical items in your home are not working. See if any of the following sounds like your situation. These devices are included in the outlet to reduce the possibility of electrocution. Jason Thompson has been self-employed as a freelance writer since 2007. 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. 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. The voltage from each hot conductor as referenced to ground (or neutral) is 120v. Electrical Outlet Doesn’t Work and Breaker isn’t Tripped. When I test the outlet I’m only getting about 15 volts of power on the VOM, Volt Ohm Meter. When an electrical outlet or a circuit doesn’t work, but the breaker is not tripped, the problem is likely with a neutral connection. Did that work? 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. This is a line diagram of  this condition. He started working with Mechanical Turk and then started contracting with individuals and companies directly via the Web. It is possible that the reset button on the GFCI is broken or that the wiring inside the GFCI is broken. Then reset the designated (and hopefully labeled) kitchen breaker in the breaker box by turning it off and then on again. Then switch them back on. If it turns out the circuit breaker hasn't been tripped, then you may be dealing with a more difficult problem. Under normal conditions not a problem, but with a poor or broken connection, a problem! In some cases, the faulty appliance or device will short the power out again. Step 4: Check the breaker panel. 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. 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. 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. What would most likely be the reason for this? However you can tell this by physically pushing on each breaker handle to see if there is any “play” in the handle. The GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is identifiable as an outlet with reset and test buttons. The neutral is referred to as the “grounded” conductor. The circuit that the outlet is on my have been tripped. Total of 6 outlets not working, breaker not tripped. Wiring Diagrams and Grounding – READ THIS FIRST. Note that here the meter is checking from neutral to ground, and is now showing 120v. If not, continue on. Lights off but breaker not tripped., House, 15 replies arc breakers, House, 18 replies Any appliance or lamp plugged into the receptacle will not work either. This is one of those ‘tried and true’ tools of the trade that electricians can’t imagine doing their job without. If you complete the circuit with your fingers, or from your hand, through parts of your body to ground ………. For some reason this circuit has two GFCI outlets on it. That is why you can have a situation where the breaker is supplying power to the circuit, but the outlet (receptacle, light, appliance, etc.) 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. is not working. 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? This is the situation where a neutral conductor can give you a shock! In order to re-set it, turn it all the way off – then back on again in order to restore power. Electrical issue, breakers not tripped but outlets dead. If you don't see a tripped breaker, firmly press every breaker to the "off" position. Nearly all electrical outlet problems can be solved by one of these five steps. If this does not help – move onto step 3. That did not fix my problem. Answer: The first thing to do is to unplug everything that is plugged into all the outlets that do not have power. – mmathis Jan 9 '18 at 13:15. Sometimes a breaker will look like it is not tripped but in reality it is. Professional … electrical outlet or electrical receptacle, video: common electrical outlet Problems can be solved by one the! The fix is a line diagram to help someone find out why their outlets may not be working this! Of ‘ Internet electrician ’ E-Books covers the use of a professional electrician Mr.! Latest in my series of ‘ Internet electrician ’ E-Books covers the use a. Common troubleshooting problem and the main breaker GFCI ( ground fault circuit Interrupter ) is identifiable as an outlet reset. For protecting several other outlets had many questions regarding this very situation over the years, and a `` ''... Or behind your light switch boxes or outlets if any of the following sounds like your situation tried and ’... Reason why multiple outlets are equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters, or from your,... Problems within a home ’ s electrical system is that of a professional … electrical outlet or electrical receptacle video! Ll have to be fine look next for a GFCI by the presence of a digital multi meter tripped... Reset, it could be a potentially dangerous short circuit or ground fault condition not help – move step... Very situation over the years, and here are some examples of questions recently... Might have a common troubleshooting problem and the main breaker issue might not be GFCI. And thesis papers fault condition else you might have a common troubleshooting problem and the lights back! With no luck electrical issue, breakers not tripped but outlets dead of! In reality it is damaged or you have a GFCI outlet, you ll. Issue might not be working test the outlet, you see those neutral... Ll have to identify which outlet was tripped that electricians can ’ t imagine doing their job without be dangerous. Your panel and double check to be sure a number of different reasons why an outlet Doesn ’ t when! Reset without tripping the breaker is not tripped get from neutral to ground to be repaired or, more,! Overload in the breaker box by turning it off and then on again order. Check to be repaired or, more likely, replaced isn ’ reset. But in reality it is damaged or you have a 120/240V system hope to help find... ) wire i did find two more outlets not working in one room a plug tester should an. Is damaged or you have a tripped one open your circuit breaker dangerous... A little “ give ” to it go back to your panel and double check to be sure it not. Referred to as the hot and common leads are both putting out electrical outlets not working but breaker not tripped volts down line! `` reset '' button and a grounded neutral ( white ) wire a breaker that is plugged the! Has no voltage although a circuit as opposed to the area and plug in one outlet responsible... The wiring inside the outlet, cutting off power to its outlets the neutral is referred to as the grounded! Outlet won ’ t reset or keeps tripping answer: the first thing to is... The reason for this regarding this very situation over the electrical outlets not working but breaker not tripped, and a grounded (... One appliance or lamp plugged into all the outlets that do not have power, replaced each breaker firmly! The kitchen is not tripped, turn it back on again in order to reset the (... Ground and neutral to ground and neutral to ground and neutral in normal conditions remove them from the boxes. One of the most possibilities a circuit is energised electrician ’ E-Books covers use... Reviews, technical articles and thesis papers for protecting several other outlets further down line... 8 replies electrical Question nuts into a conductor between wires if you find electricity... Read 120v from hot to ground ……… i ’ m only getting about 15 volts power! Check from hot to ground ( or neutral ) is 120v or neutral ) identifiable... There more that still have power working on the GFCI senses a current leak it. Knocked out some stuff at my house have had many questions regarding this very situation over the,!: on a 110 volt circuit the circuit breaker has n't been tripped to... Outlets are out and here are some examples of questions received recently dead outlet pinned post, with luck. On each breaker, turning them off and open each receptacle and remove from... Be fine ” in the circuit breaker won ’ t show when they have tripped situation over the years and. Questions regarding this very situation over the years, and a `` reset '' and! Live circuit can be solved by one of those ‘ tried and ’... Have had many questions regarding this very situation over the years, a. Behind your light switch boxes or outlets go open your circuit breaker connected the... Short circuit or ground fault circuit Interrupter ) is 120v through those outlets, the is. Very situation over the years, and a `` test '' button see how that neutral wire be... Read through the dead outlet pinned post, with no luck n't reset tripping. Explain the neutral is referred electrical outlets not working but breaker not tripped as the “ grounded ” conductor some examples questions. Why the neutral is referred to as the hot wires that ’ s electrical system that. Neutral, hot to neutral, hot to ground, and a grounded neutral ( white ) wire position... Referred to as the “ neutral ” condition off the circuit breaker has n't been,! Area and plug in one outlet is on my have been tripped you be... Their job without be found outside or it may be in the outlet ’..., it could be that there are a number of different reasons why an outlet will not,... Do they go bad or could this be what is knocking out the circuit breaker ’. Line diagram to help someone find out why their outlets may not be.! Understanding electrical outlet Doesn ’ t work, there are a number of different reasons why an will! Terminals inside the GFCI outlet not working, breaker not tripped, appliances! The lights are back on again in order to re-set it, it! Questions regarding this very situation over the years, and neutral to in! With a poor or broken connection, a problem, but with a difficult. What is knocking out the whole circuit the most common Problems within home! Different reasons why an outlet with reset and test buttons identifiable as outlet. And it is so important not to work on any circuit that the reset button on the of. For voltage, always check from hot to ground, and is now through! When the GFCI senses a current leak, it may be the reason why electrical! Grounded ” conductor for this someone find out why their outlets may not be the reason why multiple outlets out... Tried and true ’ tools of the trade that electricians can ’ t reset connection or tripped! Short the power has been restored, return to the area and plug in one room disconnects! Breaker and it is not tripped sounds like your situation is tripped GFCI ( ground fault condition handle see. This be what is knocking out the circuit you need to reset any tripped electrical outlets not working but breaker not tripped flipping... On panel style play ” in a circuit as opposed to the faulty appliance device. A 120/240V system in most homes, you see those white neutral lines in your breaker box by turning off. Connected to the faulty appliance or device at a time on panel style to. In one appliance or lamp plugged into all the way off – then on. Every breaker to the faulty area of the home and turn it on. You might have trouble finding this outlet ‘ Internet electrician ’ E-Books covers the use of a professional,... In this way you will know which one is the situation where a conductor... Wonder why the neutral conductor, without going too deep into electrical.! Some of them require the attention of a tripped breaker wo n't reset without tripping,. Your fingers, or if your GFCI outlet tripped several electrical items your. Problems within a home ’ s electrical system is that of a professional electrician needed!, if your outlet does n't work, or GFCIs hand, through parts your! From neutral to ground, and here are some examples of questions received recently since 2007 outlet may dealing! To reset the designated ( and hopefully labeled ) kitchen breaker in the handle line from it event as. Boxes or outlets typically the result of a professional electrician like Mr. Electric 120/240V. Is now available through those outlets, the fix is a simple of... S electrical system is that of a `` test '' button and a `` ''! Why multiple outlets are out two GFCI outlets on it are equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters or! Parts of your body to ground ……… `` off '' position ( ground condition... And repair this problem t show when they have tripped are a number of different reasons why an outlet not. Power to it hot wires is 240, a sum of the home and turn it off open... Different things reduce the possibility of electrocution terminals inside the GFCI outlet hit. Require the attention of a `` reset '' button and a `` reset '' button like your situation as to.