electrical outlet problem

Half of one electrical outlet isn't working. Is there a way for me to figure out what's wrong without any special equipment? Can I fix it without special equipment? Thanks
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Greetings,
Before getting too involved I would take the following steps: A) make sure it is not a switched outlet B) purchase a new duplex receptacle ($0.44) C) turn off the power at the main breaker D) install the new duplex receptacle EXACTLY like the old one <== requires a screwdriver, maybe a pocket knife E) turn the power back on
Special Notes: If you don't have a regular duplex receptacle you should have stated that in your post If this doesn't fix your problem please post what steps you have already taken and wait for more answers. Pay close attention for anything out of the ordinary when performing the swap.
Hope this helps, William

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One thing I did not mention---both outlets worked a couple weeks ago. This happened all of a sudden. But I will do as you say. Thanks for the advise and directions. Bonnie
Half of one electrical outlet isn't working. Is there a way for me to figure out what's wrong without any special equipment? Can I fix it without special equipment? Thanks
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<< B) purchase a new duplex receptacle ($0.44) >>
Bad choice. They're harder to work with than a decently made unit. Spend an extra buck and save a lot of aggravation. The old receptacle may be a back stabber and that will be a PIA for a first timer. Better back wired devices are much more reliable and easier to wire. My nickel's worth.
Joe
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Joe, what exactly should I buy?--what do I ask for in the hardware store?
Bonnie
<< B) purchase a new duplex receptacle ($0.44) >>
Bad choice. They're harder to work with than a decently made unit. Spend an extra buck and save a lot of aggravation. The old receptacle may be a back stabber and that will be a PIA for a first timer. Better back wired devices are much more reliable and easier to wire. My nickel's worth.
Joe
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Greetings,
If you try to start making changes you run the risk of error. Bring in the old one, hand it to the "specialist", and ask for one of the same. Install it EXACTLY like the old one. You cannot go wrong.
--William
PS: I always considered back stabbers easier for beginners. Often times beginners have trouble properly looping the wire around the screws. They do not properly torque the screw, or the loop runs counterclockwise when it should run clockwise, or the loop does not go far enough around the screw, or the loop is spilling out of the edge of the screw, etc, etc.

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Thanks, I will do as you suggest. The outlet has been fine for 14 years so I think getting the same one is more than reasonable. I will write down how it is hooked up before removing it. And I DO have trouble curling the wire around the screw. Back stabbers??? The wire usually spills out the sides a bit. Is that dangerous?
Bonnie
Greetings,
If you try to start making changes you run the risk of error. Bring in the old one, hand it to the "specialist", and ask for one of the same. Install it EXACTLY like the old one. You cannot go wrong.
--William
PS: I always considered back stabbers easier for beginners. Often times beginners have trouble properly looping the wire around the screws. They do not properly torque the screw, or the loop runs counterclockwise when it should run clockwise, or the loop does not go far enough around the screw, or the loop is spilling out of the edge of the screw, etc, etc.
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This is Turtle.
Be a Spend thrift here and got to Walmarts and buy the Regular wire screw type receptical [ the only one they sell] and will cost a wild price of $.97 cents each. If you have two of them it will cost about $2.00 total. Repolacing is much faster than figuring out what part of the receptical that is bad. Do turn off the power to the plugs before touching anything and don't work plugs hot.
TURTLE
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<< Joe, what exactly should I buy?--what do I ask for in the hardware store? >>
Simply ask for a good quality duplex outlet. Since the one you have now has failed (likely) its simply good common sense to replace it with something better. Most all common devices look alike to the novice and even to a clerk, and plating and positions of connectors are pretty much standardized. Black wires go to the brass terminals, white wires go to the (whitish) plated terminals, and the green wire (hopefully there is one) goes to the green painted screw terminal. HTH
Joe
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<DIV>&lt;&lt; Joe, what exactly should I buy?--what do I ask for in the hardware store? &gt;&gt;<BR><BR>Simply ask for a good quality duplex outlet. Since the one you have now has<BR>failed (likely) its simply good common sense to replace it with something<BR>better. Most all common devices look alike to the novice and even to a clerk,<BR>and plating and positions of connectors are pretty much standardized. Black<BR>wires go to the brass terminals, white wires go to the (whitish) plated<BR>terminals, and the green wire (hopefully there is one) goes to the green<BR>painted screw terminal. HTH<BR><BR>Joe</DIV> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV><FONT color=#000080 size=2><FONT size=3>It's very possible that a wire has come loose and she may just have to reconnect it (after turning off the power, of course).&nbsp; I had that same situation once.</FONT>&nbsp; <FONT size=3>My situation was that the duplex outlet had two choices for connecting the wire...loop around the screw and (I guess) backstabber.&nbsp; It was "backstabbed" and the wire had pulled out.</FONT></FONT></DIV> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV><FONT color=#000080>Lynn</FONT>&nbsp;<BR></DIV></BODY></HTML> ------=
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I have never seen half an outlet fail, though I suppose anything is possible. Pull the outlet out and describe the wires going to it. I bet the jumpers between the top and bottom are broken and fed differently; but we can't tell that from here. (It could be as simple as someone throwing a switch you didn't know controlled the outlet.) And... make sure no other outlets are out.
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Vote me with the folks who say slow down and figure what is going on here. You don't lose half a duplex unles it is split wired. This could be a switched outlet or it could be a multiwire and tripping one breaker may leave the other side hot. Not legal but it happens
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I'm inclined to agree with toller. Halves of outlets don't go out, and if she replaces the receptacle without snipping the link, she's in trouble

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OK----------tonight I will take it apart and see what is going on inside. Bonnie

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