Why Is Multiple Electrical Outlets Not Working

Why Is Multiple Electrical Outlets Not Working?

If you have been testing the outlets to your new home and many of them do not work. Don’t fret! It is normal for these issues to exist.

It might have even been your home your years, and maybe you have two bathrooms, one is GFI and the other is normal, but the outlets in both do not work.

Then under your kitchen sink, you have an outlet that also doesn’t work, but the outlets in your basement, garage and other parts of your house seem to work fine.

electrical outlet

You begin to think of getting an electrician to rewire the whole house, but that would be a lot of expenses as you might already have the mortgage to pay.

You may have tried to replace these outlets already and they still seem to have the same issue, so you are left with the question, why are multiple electrical outlets not working?

We have a few reasons why you are experiencing this problem, and maybe learning about one or more of them could make your new house a comfortable home. 

Common Reasons

Backstabbing wires

One of the prominent problems that can cause multiple outlets in your home working is the issue of backstabbing wires.

Professional electricians would tell you that there are two ways to wire a screw terminal, one way is by curling the wire around the screws and tightening the bolts down, the other is by backstabbing the wires.

You are wondering what backstabbing is, don’t worry! It’s simple. Backstabbing is when the wires in your outlets are pushed directly into the connectors that grab these wires instead of being connected by screw terminals.

When wires are backstabbed, they create loose connections, and these connections can fray the wires in the outlet which could have killed the rest of the circuits in the house.

After reading this, you might want to take a quick check on your outlets to see if they are backstabbed.

Well, you might not need the help of a professional to do so, all you have to do is to remove the receptacle from the outlet box by taking off the outlet plate. Then you should be able to see if the wires are backstabbed or they are correctly curled around the screws.

We also advise that when you have a situation of backstabbed wires, do not make it a DIY project. Unless you have prominent experience with wiring a house, you should contact a professional to make these changes for you

Too many wires under the wire nut

Another reason why your electrical outlets do not work could be that there are numerous wires under the wire nut. Although nuts are designed just to cover wire cables, some electricians make the wire nuts into a conductor between wires.

The wire nuts are connectors for wires, so using them for anything else could damage the inner wiring of your house and cause some of your electrical outlets to stop working.

So you can check the wire nuts around your house to see that they are not crowded with wires.

Wrong wiring device

In your case, it might be the problem of wrong wiring devices in your house, as the wiring of a house could be of copper, silver or aluminum. Silver is the best, but it could be more expensive to be installed in most homes, and not so available to be used as the others.

Copper is another strong material and more durable than aluminum, not just that! Most electrical devices are built to work with copper wiring. Aluminum could also be used, but they are brittle and they break easily, so using them comes with a lot of problems.

Aluminum has more resistance for electricity compared to copper, so if your house is wired with aluminum, you might experience some electrical problems like outlets that do not work, as high resistance would cause the wires in the outlets to heat up and burn, rendering the outlets useless.

Since most homes are wired with copper and most devices are rated for copper, if you have checked your house and you discover that your’s has an aluminum wiring, we would recommend that you purchase only electronic devices that are fit for aluminum.

It is crucial because apart from electrical outlets that do not work following this instruction could save your house from fire hazards.

Switched Plugs

When most houses are built, there are switches installed that control all the electrical connections in a room or even half of the outlets in the whole house.

So, instead of the homeowner to walk around turning on and off the lamps and other electrical appliances in the room or that section of the house, they make it more accessible, all you do is to flip one switch.

And you, moving newly into the house might not notice that, even if you have already been living in the house with lots of rooms, there are some part of these rooms you barely visit.

One of the switched plugs in those rooms could be faulty and could be the cause of your unworking outlets, so you should take a walk around your house and identify those abandoned switches. Flipping them to see what they do, could be the way your outlet problems get solved.

Watch this video to see how to wire a switched outlet:


Although the above reasons could be culprits, the problem could be with the appliances you are using to test these outlets. There are other causes of your failed outlets like a tripped circuit breaker or a tripped GFI outlets in your house.

In these cases, some outlets could have more troubling problems than the others, so you can check your electrical panel and reset any breaker that has been shut off.

Remember to check these breakers well, because the flips of some of them could get stuck in the middle. Investing in an upgrade electrical outlet or unplugging some items in your home might also keep the circuit breaker from constant flipping.

Your aging electrical system could be a reason too. Also, these outlets could be burned out and be the reason they do not work.

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