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Ask Kevin Your Own Question
Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2828
Experience:  29 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 5 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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I was using an Electric heating unit, and all of the sudden

Customer Question

hi, I was using an Electric heating unit, and all of the sudden a pop came from the unit when I turned it on, now 3 of my wall outlets have stopped working and i cant figure out how to get them working again
JA: Sometimes electrical issues that that you think will be really complicated end up being easy to fix. The Electrician I'm going to connect you with knows all the tricks and shortcuts. Is there anything else important you think the Electrician should know?
Customer: I have already checked the breakers for the room and it is in, and i have tried to reset it, even turned off the main breaker to the house and reset that as well
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Electrician about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 6 months ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. 1) Do you have a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or an AC voltmeter available?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
i dont?
Expert:  Kevin replied 6 months ago.
1) OK, I assume that you checked the circuit breaker did not trip. Have you reset the breaker? 2) Is there a GFCI on the circuit which may have tripped? If so reset the GFCI. 3) Otherwise, you will need an AC voltmeter to ioslate the problem and take a few voltage measurements. Perhaps you can borrow a meter from a neighbor or a friend? If not, you can purchase an AC voltmeter from any Home Depot or Lowe's for less that $25.00.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
i have tried to reset the breaker for that room and it does nothing. I have older ports, so no gfci. what will a volt meter tel me
Expert:  Kevin replied 6 months ago.
1) voltmeter will confirm if there is an open hot or an open neutral wire and can identify the location of the problem. In problems such as this, often it is a loose wire termination or a faulty wire splice.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
ok, will go get one and comment in a bit, thanks
Expert:  Kevin replied 6 months ago.
Very good
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Just got the tester I don't really know how to use it
Expert:  Kevin replied 6 months ago.
1) Set the meter to the AC voltage setting. It will have a sine wave symbol (squiggly line), Then set the range to 200 volts. 2) Make sure the circuit breaker is in the ON position. 3) Go to a dead receptacle on that circuit and measure for the 3 following voltages and reply back to me with the measurements. A) Hot (short slot) to Ground (round hole)B) Hot (short slot) to Neutral (long slot)C) Neutral (long slot) to Ground (round hole) 4) Also refer to the attached diagram to assist you.
Expert:  Kevin replied 6 months ago.
1) In addition to measuring for voltage at the dead receptacles, you can also try the following Wiggle Procedure. Keep in mind that sometimes the Wiggle Procedure may work and at other times, it may not work. But worth a shot at trying this:) Wiggle Procedure: You have a circuit with dead outlets and maybe some dead lights on it or you’re experiencing flickering on a circuit. You will need a 2 wire voltage tester to check the outlet. A Multimeter or a Volt/Con are suggested. I prefer the Volt/Con because there are no settings to make, it does continuity and is audible. Success begins with knowing what you’re looking for. 1] No voltage reading between the hot and the neutral or ground indicates an open hot. 2] No reading between the hot and the neutral but 120V between the hot and ground and 120V between the neutral and ground indicates an open neutral. 3] No continuity between the neutral and ground – Check for tripped GFCI device first 4] If all the branch circuit breaker are on you have a bad connection on the hot or neutral wires. The usual cause is a bad connection, either a termination on a device or connection in a wire nut. Over the years I’ve found the easiest way to locate the opening needing examination and correction is to wiggle the devices. 5] The first step in this exercise is to get a lamp to act as an alert. Make sure the lamp works and in the on position. You may also use something like a vacuum cleaner or blow dryer, for an audible alert. Don’t use anything electronic, like a radio. 6] Plug it into a dead outlet. 7] Now with a cube tester or any plug you will need to go to all the dead outlets and any live outlets in the area, insert the plug and wiggle the device side to side slightly. Watch the test lamp or listen for the other alerts as you wiggle the devices. If the loose or bad connection is present the wiggle action may make it contact briefly and the lamp or the other things will alert you . Having found the suspected outlet all that is left is to correct the bad connection. If the device is a push back wired device, this probably is the cause of the circuit failure. All wires must be terminated under the screws. Also you should never put more than one wire under a screw. This troubleshooting procedure works in most cases and won’t have you open boxes un-necessarily. Keep in mind that the problem is in one of two places in the circuit, either in the first dead outlet or the live outlet just ahead of it.
Expert:  Kevin replied 6 months ago.
If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you. Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off. Thanks.............Kevin:)
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I am getting no reading on all 3 of the outlets, so there seems to be a issue I'm not seeing, please let me know what you think

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