I plugged a bouncy house pump into a surge protector located on one wall. The surge protector also had a TV and a internet box plugged into it. After a few minutes the pump stopped working. I came in, saw the surge protector wasn't on anymore. Neither was the window unit which was plugged in to the same outlet.

I go back to check the breaker box and smell burning wire. I checked the rest of the outlets on the same wall running the length of the house and none of them work. I reset the breaker but to no avail. I used a voltage tester on each outlet and it will light up red (high voltage) but it will not turn things on when plugged in to any of them.

This same thing happened last year and I called an ELECTRICIAN whom came out, charged me an astronomical price, fixed two receptacles that were bad, then ran a wire from my breaker box to the ceiling, along the ceiling , thru a bedroom, down a hallway and into the living room where he ran it down a wall and created an outlet I could use to plug in our heaters only. And that one isn't working. So basically now only half the outlets in the house.

Any suggestions on what could be done to fix the issue? What could the problem be? Is there anything to help me if I have to hire again?

  • 2
    Imagine by window unit you are talking about about an AC. ACs usually take quite a bit of power of a circuit. Add in a TV and internet box(not much) plus a pump and probably over loaded the circuit(burn smell), and caused damage(not working). Should probably replace the whole circuit, wires, outlets, and maybe breaker.
    – crip659
    Apr 28, 2022 at 10:49
  • 2
    There are a few breaker panels known to be defective(older types), that are dangerous to keep using. Burn smell near the breaker might be a sign you have one of these. If you can post pictures or just the name of the panel, it will help.
    – crip659
    Apr 28, 2022 at 12:20
  • 3
    Stream of consciousness writing is a cool literary technique and good for brain storming ideas, but it's not so good for communicating details about a problem. Please edit your question to include some formatting to make this more easily read and understood by those who are willing to help you for free. i.e. help us help you. Also, feel free to correct the spelling errors while you're at it, again, it just makes it easier to read and focus on the problem at hand, not on the post itself.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 28, 2022 at 12:47
  • 4
    Hire a reputable electrician for this (check to make sure they're licensed and bonded). It will cost you a decent amount, but it's cheaper than building a new house because your old one burned down. Burned plastic in your panel is a major red flag that something is seriously wrong.
    – Machavity
    Apr 28, 2022 at 13:19
  • 1
    Things like pumps shouldn't be plugged into surge suppressors. They generally draw high levels of current (especially on start up) and tend to kill the suppressor prematurely.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 28, 2022 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


This sounds like a classic back stab issue where the motor load was enough to heat up another receptacle and the connection no longer works last time it may have been the hot but if all the receptacles show hot it is the neutral or white side failed.

I would go to the closest receptacle to the panel (normally closer is first) turn that breaker off and pull that first outlet out and look at the white wire the last working receptacle or first non working one will be the location of the problem, make sure by plugging in a light or a known good electrical device to make sure you find the last good / first dead it is possible to be in the panel but that is quite rare if properly wired. Replacing the receptacle if burnt backstabs, unless it has good screw terminals it possibly could be a broken wire But backstabs are a high 90% range the cause of this problem.

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