In my house upstairs in the bathroom, hall and bedroom, some of the lights and outlets have stopped working by others still work. This happened weeks ago and they came back on a day or so later without intervention. No idea why.

I flipped all the breakers and gfp outlets but this had/has no impact.

I have a call in to an electrician but would like some clues as to what may be causing this.

House is about 30 years old; breakers in basement. Lived here for 20 years with no similar incidents.

  • Are all these outlets on the same circuit, or are some on different circuits? Oct 10, 2017 at 2:29
  • fall weather makes me think it could be thermal expansion that create an open loop
    – dandavis
    Oct 10, 2017 at 4:46
  • I think they are on the same circuit. Is it possible that a wall light switch could cause intermittent behavior like this? The lights came on in the middle of the night by themselves but when I turned on the bathroom light it came on and then they went out again. Oct 10, 2017 at 13:40
  • Did you replace a light fixture recently? A lot of times the power is run from the circuit panel into a ceiling light fixture box, then down to the outlets in a room and adjacent walls or to light fixtures in other rooms. A loose connection there will affect everything downstream. Find the breaker that all affected outlets are on and start from there.
    – Mysterfxit
    Oct 10, 2017 at 16:08
  • Switch of some circuits, to see if everything is on same circuit. In UK, lights and power outlets should be on different circuits. May be different else where, and for older buildings. Oct 10, 2017 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


My best bet would be you have a loose splice or connection. You need to go through each box and see if there is a conductor or wirenut that is not making a good contact. Many times if someone has used the pushins on the back of receptacles and switches, they become loose and stop making a good connection. That is why most of us were trained not to use them. Take each splice and hold the wirenut with hand and pull each individual wire to see if they are making a good connection.

You do need to fix this problem since a loose connection is slowly burning and arcing and causing the conductor and is insulation to be damaged. You might try to measure the voltage a each of the receptacles not working and see if you are getting particle voltage like 70V or something. This could give you an idea of how the circuit is run and Where your problem may be.

Good luck

  • I would find the last working outlet in that circuit and check it then the first non working outlet, this is where I usually find the problem and many times it is a backstab daisy chain that has failed either neutral or hot could. Be the problem
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 19, 2017 at 14:07

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