I am not electrician. I am a DIYer and have some experience with replacing breakers, doing basic electrical work, but nothing really "advanced".

An outlet was recently cracked, and my roommate went to replace it while I wasn't home. I am told he didn't turn off the breaker, but when I came home nothing on that circuit was working. I had assumed the breaker was broken from not turning it off, so I replaced it with a new one. Still not working. I checked to make sure the new outlet was wired correctly, and it was.

It's the second outlet in the circuit, I think. It is second closest to the breaker box, so I assume it is second in the circuit.

Anyway, does anyone think I should get an electrician, or can I at least rule out some other causes, or fix this myself?

  • 2
    Did you check for power at the breaker before replacing it? If not, Why not? Thats an odd thing to go for first without some verification that it's bad. Did you check for power at the breaker after replacing it? If not, go do that.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 1 '14 at 15:17

If you are correct that nothing on that circuit is working (including an outlet closer to the circuit breaker panel) then something would appear to be wrong at the panel.

I wonder if perhaps you got the wrong breaker and the actual breaker for this circuit is sitting in the tripped position? Sometimes it can be useful to flip each breaker on and off one at a time (of course that can play havoc with whatever else is on those circuits, such as computers wot don't have a UPS).

If it was only that outlet and ones further down I would suspect that the incoming wires are not correctly connected or the outlets have been separated by breaking off the tabs between the two receptacles.

  • Computers are connected to the first outlet, and neither work. Neither does anything else plugged into that outlet, or any other that runs off of that breaker. The breaker I purchased and replaced the old one with is an OEM replacement. I am sure I replaced it correctly. I am no novice at replacing breakers. Is it possible that a break was caused in the first outlet (and subsequently making the others not work) when replacing the second one?
    – Oliver
    Dec 1 '14 at 7:42
  • Yes, it's possible. You can look there and anywhere the circuit goes before the outlet box. The wire should be anchored so that isn't possible. I once diagnosed a break in a junction box that was caused by a nicked wire that finally broke. If you don't find anything at known junctions then it may be time to call a pro- a break in a straight length of wire is extremely unlikely unless the wire inside the wall was damaged. I guess I'm also a bit surprised you would replace a breaker without testing that it was necessary. You can also test to see if the hot is present at the outlet. Dec 1 '14 at 8:53

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