About two months ago, I purchased an Igloo cube freezer for my basement. I plugged it into a standard 120V grounded outlet and it turned on and ran apparently normally for a three weeks before I found that the freezer had turned off and all of the food had spoiled.

I quickly realized that there was no power to the outlet. Upon inspecting my circuit breaker panel, there were no tripped breakers. I eventually got around to cutting power to the whole house - I wasn't sure what individual breaker the outlet was on - and I replaced the outlet. I noticed that the old outlet was a little beat up, with the plastic around the ground broken off. I figured that the outlet was old or had become defective over time.

Well, the freezer ran fine for about a week, and now the new outlet is dead. No response from anything else plugged into the outlet and again no individual circuit breakers are tripped. I'm at a loss as to why this has occurred. I will likely kill the power to the house again and pull the outlet, however I'm not sure what else I can do to troubleshoot. (I have a multimeter, and can try that tonight. When troubleshooting it before, I couldn't find it and plugged in an extension cord work light to test, with no result.)

  • 1
    I would plug in your work light, using another outlet first to make sure it's on. If you can't see it from the breaker box then you need a helper. Now go flip every breaker on and off AND try to push or wiggle each breaker watching the light the whole time. What I'm thinking is that your problem is in the breaker box, not the outlet.
    – Tyson
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 15:44
  • I would be surprised if your outlet burnt out. What kind of wires are servicing it? Knob and Tube or Romex? Commented May 2, 2016 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


It is possible that you have a bad outlet before the freezer. Many times contractors use the push in connectors on the back of the outlets called "stabs" (I think they should be outlawed). These knife edge connections don't do well with loads like freezers because they draw a large starting current. Start by checking the outlets close to the one that powers your freezer since you just replaced that outlet. There are usually several outlets on the same circuit the problem could originate from a working outlet that the load side stabs failed. I work my way back to the first working outlet on that breaker check it, then check the next one that is dead. It has been this almost 100% of the time. I have repaired well over a hundred over the years Only 1 or 2 had loose wires at the breaker and there one that the outlet was covered with sheet rock. If you don't find it you may need to hire an electrician that has a through the wall scanner to find breaks behind the walls with a tool like a Greenlee CS800 but these are expensive and not something a home owner would use very often.

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