Why Won't Electrical Outlets Work If The Circuit Breakers Are OK?


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There are two reasons why the electrical outlets won't work. They are not connected to a circuit breaker so they are disconnected from any circuit (unlikely but should not be ruled out) OR they are connected to a GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) outlet that has tripped. These outlets are usually installed in wet places such as bathrooms, kitchens or laundry rooms where water could collect on the floor. The GFI will detect a fluctuation in the ground wire and trip. The ground wire should never carry current or have a voltage present. You should measure zero current with an ammeter. If it does contain current or voltage then the ground has changed value causing the GFI outlet to trip which trips all electrical outlets on the GFI line.

You will recogonize the GFI outlet since it has two push button switches between the outlets themselves. One button is marked TEST. Push it in and wait up to 60 seconds. It should pop out and all outlets connected to it will work. Push the other button if there actually was a ground fault and the other outlets will work. In essance, the GFI outlet is a mini-circuit breaker.

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