Author Topic: Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!  (Read 2203 times)

Thinkum

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Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!
« on: February 19, 2016, 09:54:40 AM »
I have always tried to work on things myself, whenever possible. However, electric wires and outlets have been a no-go zone for me. The other day I had an electrician over to wire up a range hood that had no plug on it. Then I also had a loose electric outlet. So homeboy fixed both for me for a reasonable $75. However! I was sort of upset with myself since I seen how easy it was to do both and I was unnecessarily thinking it was more complicated that it was. I also did not trust myself.

Yesterday, a day after the outlet was fixed I found it was inoperable. The electrician never messed with the outlet other than readjusting the outlet box and using a different screw. In this way, I seriously doubted he did anything to muck it up. So I checked online and found Family Handyman and an article/video. I found a wire had come loose from the box. Needless to say, it was WAY easy to fix the outlet. And now, I have a new skill for life. Basic, sure, but also money saving and empowering. Score.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2016, 03:51:04 PM »
Nice job! Electrical work may seem daunting at first, and the risks aren't to be taken lightly, but it really isn't that hard if you read up a little bit before you start and are careful when doing it.
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paddedhat

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Re: Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2016, 05:39:11 PM »
Good job. Now think about taking a bit of the savings, and invest in a non contact voltage tester. They are found at Home Depot and Lowes starting at about $10. They detect voltage in an outlet or wire, just by touching the outside jacket of the wire, or sticking the tip into the outlet. It's a great way to confirm that you have found the right breaker, and properly killed the power whatever you are repairing. If you do use one, ALWAYS check it on a known hot circuit before you start checking your work. When it comes to loose outlets, screws can be an issue, but more commonly, it the fact that the "ears" on the top and bottom of the mounting strap are just floating, not sitting firmly on the wall. The cure for this is a stack of #8 flat washers, sandwiched between the box and the strap. This can take a floppy outlet and make it rock solid.

Thinkum

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Re: Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 05:54:56 PM »
Good job. Now think about taking a bit of the savings, and invest in a non contact voltage tester. They are found at Home Depot and Lowes starting at about $10. They detect voltage in an outlet or wire, just by touching the outside jacket of the wire, or sticking the tip into the outlet. It's a great way to confirm that you have found the right breaker, and properly killed the power whatever you are repairing. If you do use one, ALWAYS check it on a known hot circuit before you start checking your work. When it comes to loose outlets, screws can be an issue, but more commonly, it the fact that the "ears" on the top and bottom of the mounting strap are just floating, not sitting firmly on the wall. The cure for this is a stack of #8 flat washers, sandwiched between the box and the strap. This can take a floppy outlet and make it rock solid.

Very good advice and thank you! A voltage tester has always been on my "to buy" list, but never got around to it because of my fear of electricity/lack of knowledge. Now that I have tackled this, I am a little more comfortable and see exactly how a tester would have helped allayed my fears.

As to the "ears", I think I know what you are talking about and thanks a great tip.

MasterStache

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Re: Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2016, 07:26:36 AM »
A Voltage tester works well, as does a Multimeter. This is my "go to" device for outlets.

http://www.amazon.com/ELECTRICAL-RECEPTACLE-TESTER-OUTLET-PRONG/dp/B002Q3R7HI

It's great for knowing when you've flipped the right breaker AND testing to make sure the outlet is wired up correctly.

paddedhat

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Re: Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2016, 10:41:20 AM »
A Voltage tester works well, as does a Multimeter. This is my "go to" device for outlets.

http://www.amazon.com/ELECTRICAL-RECEPTACLE-TESTER-OUTLET-PRONG/dp/B002Q3R7HI

It's great for knowing when you've flipped the right breaker AND testing to make sure the outlet is wired up correctly.

Excellent tool to have, I keep one in my electrical tool bag. It can be pretty amazing to see how many grounded outlets are not grounded to anything, and other troubling problems the tester picks up. I use the one with the GFCI trip button, since on several occasions I have had to track really bizarre wiring schemes in homes, where a bathroom receptacle is wired through a GFCI outlet that was found, on an outside wall, behind a bush. Or a kitchen outlet that is fed through a GFCI outlet hidden in a garage.

robartsd

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Re: Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2016, 10:57:17 AM »
Risks with electrical work are not to be taken lightly. It is very important to make good connections - sloppy connection may have poor electrical contact leading to higher electrical resistance and more heat than the device/wiring is designed for leading to fire.

Thinkum

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Re: Fixed an electrical outlet for FREE!
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2016, 11:44:22 AM »
Lot of good info here, thanks all!