Electrical Outlets Out

I had a bathroom outlet just go out. A hairdryer was plugged in and one day it worked, the next day it didn't. At the same time I discovered the other outlet in the same bathroom did not work, nor did the outlet in the other bathroom. (I'm not sure when the last two worked because I rarely used them). Then the same weekend an outdoor outlet on the patio that worked the weekend before stopped working. This outdoor outlet is at the other end of the house from the bathroom outlet. Also a bedroom outlet that basically is on the other side of the wall from the bathroom outlet works. Same with the outdoor outlet--one on the other side of the wall facing into the kitchen works. We replaced the bathroom outlet, but it still doesn't work. I have not heard any noises in the attic, so I don't think mice, etc. are chewing wires. And if something chewed the wires, wouldn't the outlets opposite them also be out? Any other ideas why outlets would just go out for apparently no reason?
I suppose I have to call an electrician to determine the problem. Any idea what this should run? I just read the thread about electricians overcharging.
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I assume you checked your circuit breaker box or fuse box in your garage or basement. If they are ok it is probably a bad ground fault interrupter GFI. It either tripped or went bad (very common, last about 10 years). Look to see if there is a funny looking circuit breaker or if one of the outlets has 2 buttons on it. It may be a bathroom or outdoor or garage or basement outlet you haven't looked at yet. If you find one with 2 buttons, hit the reset button. If that doesn't turn everything back on, by a replacement at Lowes or HD. Turn off the circuit first before replacing of course.

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You probably tripped a GFCI breaker or outlet. Check the garage for a GFCI outlet. Make sure it is not tripped.
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All my bathrooms and outdoor outlets are on the same circuit, but the GFCI is on the breaker. If you don't find it elsewhere, look there. (you know, you are supposed to test them monthly...)
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Toller wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean by the same circuit. Does each breaker switch control one cirucuit? For example, the breaker switch we use to turn off the master bedroom and bathroom does not control the outdoor outlet that is out. There is only GFCI outlet in the whole house that I can find--in the kitchen, and that doesn't appear to be the cause. Is there anything in the breaker box I'm missing?
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<< Any other ideas why outlets would just go out for apparently no reason? >>
Another common problem with bargain wiring jobs is the failure of the low cost flimsy back wired outlets and switches. If the first backstabber in a string fails (and it usually does because it carries more current) then the whole series goes dead. So whatever your problem turns out to be, replace the failed units with quality ones. Make sure to match ratings with wire size for longevity. HTH
Joe
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Joe Bobst wrote:

So I would need to replace all the outlets one by one to determine which one caused the problem? What doesn't make sense to me is why a couple of the outlets went out, but the outlets on the wall directly in back of them work fine. Wouldn't they be using the same wiring?
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Suzanne wrote:

The key piece of info here is that it's a bathroom outlet and an outside outlet, and they quit working at the same time. Most likely this means that a ground fault interrupter has tripped somewhere, and it supplies both the bathroom and outside outlets. It's either in the breaker box or somewhere on the dead circuit -- check for an outlet right next to the breaker box or in the garage or utility room or one of the bathrooms that has a TEST and RESET button on it.
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

There is only one outlet in the entire house with a test/reset button and it is in the kitchen and works fine. I did hit the buttons just as to test it, but it hasn't affected the bad outlets. I cannot find any outlet near the breaker box, which is in the garage. I also cannot see anything wrong with anything inside the breaker box.
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You sure do like to argue, don't you?
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]

That is very unlikely!
Codes added bathroom GFI protection the same time they added it for kitchens. If your kitchen was wired with a GFI (unless it was remodeled after the code changes) most likely outside and bathroom outlets are GFI protected as well.
gerry
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If there is one in the kitchen then there is atleast one more. You just have to find it! Look all around the garage, near any utility sinks, bathrooms etc...
Steve B.
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I found the outlet with the trip. It was one in the corner of the garage that I never use. I would have been *really* embarrassed if I had an electrician come out and he just walked over to the outlet and pushed in the button. Thanks to everyone for helping the electrically-challenged. :-[

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Service technician came to check Kenmore washer and commented "About 75% of calls are to replug the power or open water valves" so you wouldn't be first one.

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Check *all* outdoor outlets, and all outlets in the garage as well.

That most likely means that there is at least one more that you haven't found yet. Keep looking. Likely areas are the garage, outdoor outlets, basement, laundry room, and bathrooms.

If there is a breaker with a white "TEST" button on it, turn that breaker off and then back on.
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Suzanne wrote:

Electrical outlets are often "daisy-chained." Wires go from the breaker to the 1st outlet, from there to the 2nd, etc. A loose connection on the "out" side of outlet number 3 means that outlets 4,5,6,....32. quit working. Problem is, however, outlet #3 seems fine!
Electricians have gizmos they can attach to track the wiring hidden behind the walls.
You can find the fault yourself if your hand fits a screwdriver - but you may have to open a LOT of outlets.
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