My daughter was using a rug shampooer. She said that all of a sudden the shampooers power went out. She finnished the job with a different outlet. Then while vacuuming, using a different outlet, the same thing happened. Here is what i have done so far. I have tested the two outlets, neither has current. I have reset the curcuit breakers, by firmly turning them off then on. My home was built in the 50s and I dont have any of those wall outlets with the built in breakers. Both of these outlets are in the same room but on different walls. Just found that two more outlets are out in th same room

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    Do you have any GFIs (ground fault interrrupters) in your house. It's possible that the shampooer caused the GFI to trip which will remove power from one or more outlets.
    – Barry
    Feb 23, 2016 at 1:10
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    Who is the manufacturer of the electrical panel? If it's Federal Pacific Electric Company (fpe), you'll likely want to have an electrician replace the panel. It sounds like the carpet cleaner burnt out the receptacles, without tripping the breaker. This is very dangerous, and poses a significant fire hazard.
    – Tester101
    Feb 23, 2016 at 2:15
  • Although scary information from a random individual on the internet is scary, FPE and (to maybe a slightly lesser degree) Zinsco panels are dangerous. Strongly suggest you look into the issue if you have either of these. Feb 23, 2016 at 4:15
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    If tester101 is a random individual, I'm in trouble! Feb 24, 2016 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


Sounds like you have a bad connection that finally burned in half from the high current draw of the shampooer and almost burned in half in another spot but was finished by the vacuum.

You need to trace the circuit(s) back to the nearest working receptacle and check the wiring from that point on to your non-working ones. Take apart your junction boxes and device boxes and check all connections for mechanical tightness and electrical continuity. Don't forget to shut off the breakers controlling these circuits before tearing into it.

Good luck!

  • The age of the house has be in agreement with @ArchonOSX. many times I have found a wire that broke off at the outlet right at the point it was stripped usually after a heavy load like a vacuum or steam cleaner.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 23, 2016 at 14:28
  • Sounds like the guy who did the original work had a habit of deeply nicking the wire when he stripped it. You may have that problem with every termination in your house, if so, I'd redo them all. Wire ampacity ratings have enough headroom that a small nick wouldn't do that. Feb 24, 2016 at 0:15

As Barry commented, it sounds like you have a GFCI outlet somewhere that you may be overlooking. Don't forget to check any exterior outlets. If this is the case, keep in mind that there are two ways to wire a GFCI outlet. One way only protects the outlet itself, and the other way protects the outlet AND any others that are down line from it.

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