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arod_299's avatar

I plugged a faulty appliance into a wall outlet but now the outlet doesn't work. Can anyone help?

Asked by arod_299 (7points) February 25th, 2010

Recently, I was trying to fix my refrigerator which has been acting up. I came to find out that after checking for continuity on the compressor that the compressor was dead. Eventually, the refrigerator stopped working and now the outlet that the refrigerator was plugged into does not work. The refrigerator is a throw-away and I will need to replace it. No big deal. However, I have also noticed that other outlets in the vicinity are also not working which means they are likely along the same circuit as the defective outlet.

I am somewhat handy, so I have checked and reset all of the circuit breakers on the main breaker even though I did not see any of them tripped. Additionally, I also reset all of the GFCI receptacles in the entire home and checked for power going into and out of the GFCI from the back. Still, the outlet that the faulty refrigerator was plugged into along with the other outlets downstream still do not work.

Any suggestions besides calling an electrician? I’d prefer to do this job myself to save a healthy bill. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!

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14 Answers

Cheeseball451's avatar

Unless you can rewire the wiring within the walls out let i would call a electriction :) and a electriction will do it right so nothings wrong with it ethier.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Before calling an electrician I’d try cycling the breaker again. It could be burned out and not resetting when you think it should. If you are handy you can swap two breakers and see. It is easier than you think. Just turn off the power. Bzzzztt!

dpworkin's avatar

I second @worriedguy – soft breaker. Swap it out and see if that helps.

candide's avatar

first try the fusebox – faulty appliances can trip switches – just what they said -

dpworkin's avatar

@candide He did reset all the breakers, but one might have blown.

candide's avatar

Okay – it’s just that that is all of the experience I have with these and it was a fridge, too, so I thought I would let him know

hope he gets it working again

HungryGuy's avatar

I assume you’re aware that, to reset a tripped breaker, you need to turn it fully off, then fully back on again. Just turning it back on from the tripped state won’t reset it.

dpworkin's avatar

@HungryGuy If the guy can test for continuity on the compressor, I’m willing to bet he can reset a circuit breaker.

HungryGuy's avatar

@dpworkin – Bet if you want, but I’d never assume any such thing where people are involved. It’s possible that the breaker is bad, but that’s really unlikely. And thre’s hardly anything else it can be but a tripped breaker from the symptoms he’s describing: every outlet on that circuit is dead, but there’s power elsewhere to the house. And while a home handyman can easily install an outlet or replace a broken light switch, opening a main panel is something best left to an electrician, IMO.

arod_299's avatar

You guys are great. First of all. Yes, I know how to reset a circuit breaker from the main breaker, lol. In fact, I reset every circuit breaker and tested ALL GFCI receptacles for power coming in and out. I reset all the GFCI’s as well. Still no power to the outlet as well as the downstream outlets. Now, the circuit breaker that supplies power to these outlets happens to be a “sub-panel” which looks like a double circuit breaker (larger than the singles). Could that trip (shift out of place)? I’d like to think that there would be a simpler solution than replacing the subpanel breaker. I would find it difficult to believe that a small maytag skybox mini-refrig beverage dispenser would cause that much energy. Certainly it appears the circuit shorted but how do I fix it is the question. I took apart the standard outlet that the mini-refrig was plugged into to check for loose connections. Nothing was charred, burnt or loose. However, is it possible that the outlet could still be defective and that if I replace it, that it and all other outlets downstream will work again? Just a thought. Thanks guys. You’re the best!

babaji's avatar

Maybe a sub box in one of the rooms, with a couple of breakers in it? Maybe in a closet somewhere?

LuckyGuy's avatar

You have a volt meter, right? Check to see if there is voltage at both the input and output sides of the breaker. Measure from ground (the box or neutral) and the breaker. That will show you if the breaker is working correctly. Input will be hot and if the breaker is reset the output should be hot as well.
My vote is still bad breaker.

Just though of something else. How about a leaky return on an appliance downstream that is tripping the GFI? You could get it if you have an unpolarized plug in an outlet the “wrong” way. I had a dishwasher do that. You could feel a light buzzing on the door. I did not have a GFI so nothing popped.

gasman's avatar

Maybe I missed it, but did you check for voltage on the line side of the receptacle where the fridge was plugged in? It’s possible that overheating fried something in the wiring itself—a loose connection, for instance, where the resistance had been higher than normal and thus overheated to the point of melting a connection.

If voltage is present on the load side of the breaker but not on the line side of the receptacle, then the problem is in the wiring in the walls. Otherwise just replace the receptacle.

Jabe73's avatar

I know this question is old but i just joined a week ago so just in case i could still help i can tell you this. You need to find the 1 outlet that has the power feed coming into it, the power from this feed would be supplying power to your other outlets, it sounds like it has to be a problem with the wiring BEFORE the outlet connections themselves, if you find where the power from the breaker/fuse panel is going into the first outlet than you need to use a voltage tester and test for the proper voltage across the brass and silver terminals. If there are splices you may need to take the wirenuts apart and make sure there are no broken connections. If you DON’T have power at the supply outlet (unless there are more junction boxes with connections in them for this circuit) the problem would most likely be coming from a defective breaker so you should check for voltage across the breaker terminals (actually do this first before anything else) !

Sometimes excessive amperage from a load (especially a compressor motor that was going bad) may have caused a brittle/weak spot on a part of the wire supplying the power. Loose connections on the receptical terminals can cause problems too. I’m not great at explaining things in writing (i’m more of a hands-on person) but i hoped this helped anyway.

P.S I almost forgot, if the supply outlet is a GFCI that is feeding the other outlets in this circuit their power make sure the GFCI resets properly and like i said once the GFCI is reset test for power on the line side first than the load side to make sure a faulty GFCI isn’t the problem.

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