We came back from holiday to find that some of our mains sockets were not working. I checked the circuit breakers but none of them had tripped. Eventually I found out that by turning the switch on the mains socket itself off then back on, the appliances that were plugged into it started working again. I had to do this on 4 other sockets that weren't working too. They are normal mains sockets without any obvious RCD or fuse.

Does anyone know why this happened? It doesn't make sense to me. Is there another circuit breaker within each socket?

  • 2
    What part of the world are you located? Are you saying each non-working socket had its own, individual switch, and each switch had to be "reset"? How did you determine the sockets were unpowered - what was the symptom (lamps plugged in didn't work? other types of devices?)
    – mike65535
    May 19 '19 at 11:26
  • I'm located in the UK. Yes, each socket has its own switch and had to be turned off and back on for the appliance connected to it like a lamp and a broadband router to start working again.
    – Luke
    May 19 '19 at 19:52

When a circuit breaker trips it must be fully moved into the off position and then back to the on position. It sounds like you have tripped the breakers and this is the normal function to reset them.

The problem is "why did you have so many tripped breakers in the first place"...

My concern is that you lack the basic understanding of electricity and the terminology, it's extremely difficult to get across what's actually occurring here because of your descriptions. A switch is located in a wall, a circuit breaker is located in the main panel, the GFCI (RCD) is usually located in the main panel in European systems and they usually have two separate GFCI (RCDs) with each covering half the panel.

If you're not comfortable you should call a professional, this answer is hated my the mods and they likely will delete this (like my last suggestion to call a professional) but safety is the top priority here.

Check the appliances and cords to see if there's any obvious damage to them, check to make sure you're not drawing more current than the branch circuit is rated for, and obviously have a GFCI (RCD) installed if there's not one already in the main panel.

  • 1
    The thing that has confused me is that none of the breakers or either of the 2 RCDs had tripped, they were all in the up position. The sockets I am talking about are the standard UK mains sockets you find in every room.
    – Luke
    May 19 '19 at 19:58
  • This definitely does not sound like an issue at the consumer unit. (Keep in mind that UK/Commonwealth mains sockets generally have a switch for turning the socket on/off built into them) May 19 '19 at 22:54
  • 1
    The reason we don't like "hire a professional" is it could be trotted out for literally every question in the "interest of safety", and such messages would just junk up the forum. It's also unfair to OP... everybody loves "an abundance of caution" when it involves spending the other fella's money! May 20 '19 at 19:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.