Does not sound like the circuit is 'shorting out'.
But you are on the ball finding the location. Maybe the oulet got
damged or is old or got damp!
More correctly it sound like a 'loose' or bad connection. In other
words something is disconnecting and the circuit is going 'open'.
Best advice might be (after turning off the power to that circuit) to
change out the outlet for brand new. Prob less than a dollar for a
good one with 'screws' for attaching the wires. See below.
Avoid those cheap 'back stabbed' (These are where the wires were/are
just pushed into holes on back of the outlet!).
Back stabbers economic maybe but more prone to long term problems.
From time to time check elsewhere in case other back stabbers were
Examine the existing wiring carefully (get someone familiar to help if
necessary) The black or hot wire (or wires) goes on the brassy looking
screw, the white or neutrals go on the silvery looking screw. There
may also be L or live moulded into the plastic. Make sure the ground
wire/s (usually bare wire!) is/are connected to the metal box in the
wall. Or may be connected to a green looking screw which is part of
the outlet itself. If it's connected to a screw of the metal box the
two screws that hold the outlet into the wall box will make a metallic
connection to the outlet ground pin (the round one).
If it gets' more complicated than that get someone handy to help/
advise the first time you do it.You don't want to have say a meta
washing machine or fridge sitting there not grounded!
There is one other thing to check though, especially if the house
dates from the 1970s! And that is 'Aluminum wiring'.
Due to the high price and shortage of copper Al. wiring was used in
some cases. It did not prove reliable (And even caused a few fires!).
Sometimes it was recalled. Except for certain industrial applications
it has virtually disappeared from domestic use. If by some remote
chance you do have Al. wiring, get knowledgeable advice. Because the
outlets and switches etc. have to be compatible with Al. wire and have
to be installed more carefully; especially on an older installation
where the softer Al. wire may have a tendency to become loose over the
Here's hoping the advice from posters here is a help.
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