I've been using my clothing iron in the same outlet in my laundry room for the past 6 months since I moved into my house, but all of a sudden the iron won't work in that outlet anymore. I plugged an outlet tester in and it says the outlet is fine, and lower power appliances work in this outlet. The iron works in other outlets, but not this one.

I'm in the US, the iron is 120V, A/C, 60 Hz, 1100 Watts.

What could the problem be?

* UPDATE April 9, 2013 * It turns out the problem was the iron, not the outlet. I replaced the outlet and had the same problem, so I started using the iron in a different outlet. One day I heard a "pop" while ironing and the "hot" side of the cord caught fire right near the plug. Luckily I was there at the time to make sure the fire didn't spread. It burned through the cord pretty fast and then I unplugged it. Now that iron is in the trash and I bought a new one.

  • Sounds like the outlet may just be getting old. Does your iron have any type of light telling you it is on, does it light and no heat? Have you tried jiggling the plug or slightly bending the plug's prongs, can you at least get the iron's light on for any time? – Jason Mar 7 '13 at 15:54
  • Interesting... when you plug the iron into this outlet, does the plug get very hot? Does the iron have a two prong plug or a three prong plug? What happens if you plug a hair dryer into this outlet? – maple_shaft Mar 7 '13 at 15:57
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    As suggested my Monso, the prongs may need adjustment, Are yours solid or split. If split, they can be bent apart slightly, for better contact. – HerrBag Mar 7 '13 at 16:03
  • @Monso, yes the iron has a light which is not coming on. I'll try your suggestions. – Ike Walker Mar 7 '13 at 16:45
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    For solid prongs (or even split ones actually), you will get longer lasting results if you slightly twist them rather than just bend or spread them. Of course, this is a stop gap solution, the real problem of the worn outlet should be addressed ASAP. – bcworkz Mar 7 '13 at 19:53

It is probably as simple as one of the plug prongs not making good contact with the outlet. Try bending them in slightly by pinching them together, then putting it in the outlet again.

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  • Your diagnosis was correct. I jiggled the plug a bit and the light came on. I tried pinching the prongs in, and that didn't help. In then end bending the prongs apart seemed to fix it. Thanks! – Ike Walker Mar 7 '13 at 16:51
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    You should stop using that outlet immediately and have it replaced. Not having good contact in an electrical circuit leads to heating. It could get hot enough to cause a fire. – longneck Mar 7 '13 at 17:36
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    @IkeWalker User longneck is correct, you should consider replacing this outlet as it is a potential fire hazard, especially for an appliance that draws a lot of current like an iron. You can get an outlet at your local hardware store for less than $4. – maple_shaft Mar 7 '13 at 18:15
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    @IkeWalker Well there are a hundred YouTube videos on how to do this... youtube.com/watch?v=84aGPD2nAM0 is one. Instead of your outlet tester I would get a No Contact voltage tester, it beeps and lights up when you put it within an inch or two of a live outlet. If you encounter anything you don't understand then post back with a question or call an electrician. – maple_shaft Mar 7 '13 at 19:02
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    @IkeWalker More importantly it will save your life from potentially dangerous situations created by the previous homeowners ;-) Seriously... you won't believe some of the ridiculous things that people will do. – maple_shaft Mar 7 '13 at 22:51

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