Lv 6
BWANA asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 2 months ago

"4" Elect. Wall OUTLETS are "out" at the same time?

Awhile ago, four electrical outlets in the wall, "including" the wall outlets on the opposite walls as well, all STOPPED functioning.  I can get no electricity from them.

I have replaced all the double-socket (3 prong) outlets, thinking one of them (in line) might be faulty.

Did NO good.  They're still out.

I've checked the circuit breakers and all are in the on position, etc.

How can I trace down the problem?

If it is "within" the walls, I'll have a real problem cutting holes.  The wife will not like that AT ALL.  :)

Any help or advise would be appreciated.



11 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Circuit breakers have to be reset.  That is, you have to push it all the way to OFF and then all the way back to ON.  When a breaker trips it usually flips only about halfway, and that's easy to mistake for ON just from a glance.  

  • 2 months ago

    turn the breakers to the 'off' position.  wait 10 seconds, then back 'on'.  when a breaker 'pops off', just pushing it back to 'on' doesn't reset the breaker [on may brands] -- you have to go all the way to off first.  if that's not it, you have a loose or broken wire somewhere ... get out your multimeter and start testing at the breaker involved.  yes, breakers can and do die and need replacing -- very infrequently, but does happen.  [hint:  if you discover failed breaker, take it out (very carefully or with main breakers turned off) and take with to the hardware -- this assures you the salesman can get you the correct replacement.]

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    USA today                

  • garry
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    thinks you have to replace a fuse or get an electrician to fix it ..

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    This is the way it goes.  Electricians use as little wire as up to 10 paired outlets are chain linked together on  ONE breaker. Each pair of outlets sits in 1 electrical box. Average outlet boxes per room is about 4, so as the gypsum board is not up yet the electrician may decide to go into the next room and do those outlets too.  So that would be 8.     Then he has to run another line from a new breaker for the next bunch.  If you have the older style home with the single bare lightbulb in the ceiling - that comes from a light box.  10 boxes can be joined together to a breaker.  A chandelier has 5+ lights on it but it comes out of "ONE" box.  This all gets inspected by the "electrical inspector before insulation is put in the walls over the wiring or gypsum board over all of it.

    . What you got to do is go down to the breaker box and look on the door to the breaker.  There is a bunch of lines there.  Usually words are written there like back bed, bath, kitch,hall,entry, etc.     Meaning that is what rooms are covered by the one breaker.  If nothing is written, guess YOU got to do it.

    . So if ye be the only one home then I find the best way to do this is have a portable plug in radio.  Crank it on LOUD.  Plug it in to the outlet that is out.  Now go to the breaker box. and you see the black switches all in a row?  They should be perfectly aligned.   I slide my finger from top to bottom (as my breakers are on top of each other)  Yours may be horizontal arrangement.  You slide a dry finger along the row of breakers and you will find one slightly "out of step" with the rest.


    Flick that breaker completely OFF and flick it is reset.   Now they all line up.   The radio should be blaring as well unless you got more than one breaker blown. So feel the other row and find the breaker out of step and shut off and turn on.

    Done!  You normally won't see an orange flag on a tripped breaker.  Just on one that is switched off.

    They looked like they are on, but they are not on.   True too!

    If when you plug something in that sparks within the wiring, that may blow the breaker.  Vacuum cleaners break right at the plug, and plugging in multiple heaters in a single breaker circuit will blow the breaker.  The electrical heaters have to be spread out so they are on separate breaker circuits. Anything that make heat (or cold) draws the most electricity.  That is why the fridge gets its own breaker and outlet just for the fridge (because the fridge turns on and off and the door is never opened; you do not want to open it to find the fridge breaker blew because you plugged in a hair dryer for a short time and when you disconnected the hair dryer it shorted out which blew the breaker.  No big deal for the hair dryer, but you do not know if the fridge is dead.  (Give it a weekend and you have to chuck out the food.)  That is why the fridge plug uses one outlet and blocks the use to the other.

    That is the way the house wiring works.

  • 2 months ago

    Go back to the breaker box. DON'T look at the position of the breakers. Actually physically move each all the way to the OFF position and then back to ON. MOST breakers don't move far enough when tripped to appear tripped on casual viewing.

  • Bill
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    The last time I solved a problem like yours that wasn't a breaker, I found the neutral wire loose in the breaker box.  The loose connection had gotten hot and burned open.  This probably isn't your problem because you didn't get shocked when you replaced the receptacles.  Another time I found that some moron had used a big wire nut to connect five wires together behind a box of light switches.  Again, the connection was loose (you can't safely wire nut 5 wires) and got hot and opened up.  As someone already pointed out, tripped breakers do not move all the way to the off position, so look again.  A volt meter is very useful to troubleshoot this.  If the breakers are all in the ON position, you can use a voltmeter to make sure there is 110V coming out.  You could have a loose or failed connection in a working outlet that is "upstream" of the four that don't work.  You can have a loose connection at the breaker.  (It's unlikely and be careful if you start monkeying around in there.)          

  • 2 months ago

    If multiple outlets all go out all at once, it is highly unlikely to be an outlet problem (unless they are downstream from a GFI or something.) It is far more likely to be a breaker problem. I like Marvinator and T C's answers. 

  • T C
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Marvinator is right on regarding the breaker....

    If that does not solve it....check to see if there is any GFCI in the vicinity that may be on that circuit.  Although other outlets on the multiple-location protection should be tagged ....many times they are not. So when the GFCI is tripped the rest of the outlets will be interrupted also.

  • 2 months ago

    Check the breaker box again.  Look closely, one of them may APPEAR to be on, but is actually popped.  Push the lever to the full OFF position, and then back to ON. If you cannot tell which one it is, do this with ALL the breakers.   I cannot count the number of times this has happened to me, and i was looking right at the correct breaker.  They need to be shut completely OFF and then ON again to be reset. 

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