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tl/dr: It seems a finicky blender killed my outlet - My blender initially turns on but then stops after a moment, and won't turn back on. I plugged a night light into one plug and it turns on initially but then turns off once inserted fully. The night light works fine in the other plug. The blender doesn't work properly in either plug. Do I just need to replace my outlet?

The incident

I had some trouble with my blender: I accidentally broke part of the lid, and it is one of those blenders that has built in "catches" to make sure it doesn't run without the lid on correctly. I already had my food in so I attempted (with some success) to continue blending anyway. However, the blender was finicky and kept turning off despite my efforts. Eventually it stopped turning on altogether. I figured the blender just didn't appreciate my efforts and switched blenders (the other one wasn't ideal for my meal, which is why I didn't try it sooner).

The Symptoms

A bit later I realized that, in fact, the whole outlet was acting wonky. Namely, the other blender also had trouble with it. It initially turned on, but then stopped turning on too. I moved a few feet to the next outlet and the new blender worked fine.

I then got out a "night light" to test the wonky outlet. In one of the plugs the light worked fine (which is the same plug the new blender was plugged into and didn't work). In the other plug (the one the broken blender was plugged into) it only lit up if I had it partially plugged in - once it was fully plugged in it turned off. Obviously the outlet has issues. To recap and provide more details:

  1. The outlet provides power, but apparently not enough for a blender
  2. One plug worked fine for a low-power device, but the other plug stopped working when the light was plugged in all the way.
  3. No breaker circuits are tripped
  4. There is one GFCI outlet in the kitchen, on a different wall. I confirmed that this outlet is not controlled by the GFCI
  5. I'm 95% sure that this outlet isn't on a GFCI at all
  6. There are additional outlets on this wall in the kitchen, and they all work fine (in fact I finished my lunch by using the fully-functional blender plugged into another outlet just a couple feet away).
  7. There are no signs of physical damage to the outlet

The question(s)

I'm guessing that the blender turned on/off a little to quickly for the outlet and damaged it in some way. My presumption is that I just need to replace the outlet, which I have done before. However, I'm always very cautious about electrical issues and will happily get an electrician if there is any sign that there is more to this issue than it seems. So, my questions (the first one is the only one I need answered):

  1. Does it sound like the only issue is a faulty outlet that needs to be replaced?
  2. Does a blender turning on/off repeatedly seem like the sort of thing that could break an outlet? I don't think my blender actually cycled that many times, and I'm mildly concerned that there was more wrong with this outlet and my blender was just "the straw that broke the camel's back".
  3. In particular, might this be a sign that my blender is trash? A broken lid is a lot cheaper to replace than an entire blender.

And because a picture is worth 1000 words:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Can you turn the power off, pull the outlet out, and give us photos of it? Are there any other outlets that died alongside this one? – ThreePhaseEel Aug 22 at 23:56
  • @ThreePhaseEel Yes, I can do that later today. This is the only outlet that is having problems. There is one other outlet on the counter just a couple feet away that (I assume) is on the same circuit and which operated my blender fine. – conman Aug 23 at 11:31
  • @ThreePhaseEel As promised. In case it isn't obvious, the outlet is installed sideways on the (short) back wall of the counter. – conman Aug 23 at 13:58
  • Nothing plugged in the back (I've read enough of these to know that causes problems) - hot and neutral, are both attached via wirenuts on the side. Looks pretty straight-forward and normal. I've replaced this kind of outlet successfully before. – conman Aug 23 at 14:00
  • the outlet doesn't look like it had an overload problem. There could be some debris or pitting internally we can't see. Since it's a $0.50 part, just replace it and move on. – dandavis Aug 23 at 17:57
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That one may be a builders grade .99 special get a spec grade for 3$ they are heavier and you won’t have the problem any longer. In past positions I had to test outlets (hospital electrician) now they use hospital grade outlets crazy expensive but they last longer and have a higher withdraw force than new .99 specials, the spec grade have very similar withdraw rates as the hospital grade. I mention the 3 basic grades because they all wear out but the cheap builders grade fail much sooner than the other 2. You know the blender is good it works in another outlet, get a new quality outlet, turn the power off and replace it.

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Did you check your circuit breakers to see if a circuit has tripped...? Yes indeed, receptacles ( outlets can go bad, wiring in them can come loose and well as others things.) First: Check your circuit breakers, see if any are tripped. If not... Approach with the utmost cation if you intend to remove that outlet.. FIND ( if you can ) that outlet breaker if no breakers are tripped.. and pull out that outlet...Replace if cracked or it can no longer hold a plug.

And provide pictures please !

  • I'm not sure what I would provide a picture of. The outlet looks perfectly normal. Also no, nothing is tripped. – conman Aug 22 at 17:45
  • "Looks normal" = "I'm not seeing it" @conman – Harper Aug 22 at 21:13
  • Are you convinced there's nothing wrong with your blender ? I would hope you already plugged it in to another outlet , right ? – Retired Electrician Aug 23 at 2:46
  • I have two blenders - the one that gave the outlet problems and another. In the end I made my lunch with the other blender in a different outlet, but neither blender works in this outlet. – conman Aug 23 at 12:16

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