Why Have We Lost Power in Our Outlets?

Lost Power in Outlets

We’ve all had it happen. Everything is working normally in the house and then all of a sudden we seem to have lost power in our outlets and they seem to have stopped working for no apparent reason. Zipping down to the breaker/fuse panel there appears to be no tripped breakers or blown fuses. It’s a mystery…

A Professional Electrician will troubleshoot the cause of the lost power by completing a Single Circuit Diagnosis
  1. Even though there are no apparent tripped breakers or blown fuses your Electrician knows the only way to be certain is to remove the panel covers and check each breaker/fuse with a multi-meter. There are certain older style breakers that give no indication they have tripped and require a meter to test. Although some fuses blow and you can see the solder link has melted or the fuse has blackened due to a dead short, some fuses blow with no visible indication.
  2. If one of the breakers/fuses HAS tripped/blown your electrician will remove from the wall and visually inspect the affected outlets to try and determine the cause. If nothing is found during this inspection, he will want to see if you can recall what appliances or devices may have been plugged into the affected outlets and examine them for faults.
  3. Still finding no cause your electrician will use his ohm-meter to check to see if there is a short or ground on the wires running from the breaker/fuse to the outlets. If he finds either he will use his megger-meter to test the insulation on the wires. If the test does shows a problem your electrician will methodically isolate circuitry from the affected system until the problem is pin-pointed and a repair can be planned and the price quoted.
  4. If no fault can be found only, then will your electrician reset the breaker/replace the fuse to restore power to the circuit. In this case it is likely the breaker is old and/or weak and should be replaced (if available) as a proactive measure. It is an indication that the panel should be upgraded to a modern guaranteed-for-life model. In any case a fuse panel should be replaced before your insurance company insists.
  5. If one of the breakers/fuses HASN’T tripped/blown your electrician will double check to see which of the outlets are dead and carefully mark them usually with a small piece of electrician’s tape. He will return to the breaker/fuse panel and shut off whatever controls the outlets immediately adjacent to the affected units as it is likely they are on the same circuit. These outlets will be removed from the wall and visually inspected as well. Usually the problem is found at a connection point somewhere in the circuit.

If the lost power problem is not at a connection point, it is likely the wire is compromised somewhere in the wall or ceiling where it can’t be repaired without damage and repair. In that case your electrician will use his multi-meter to pin-point the break and provide options for repair.

A professional electrician will have methods to diagnose and repair the issues that have caused the lost power and can almost always guarantee no damage. However, if none are available he should be able to recommend finishers or carpenters that can make everything right after the repair.

A firm quote for this work would be provided by a professional electrician.