What's wrong with this one outlet?

Suddenly, the kitchen counter outlet I plug my food processor and other small appliances into doesn’t work. No breakers were flipped, and I turned the ones around the area (not sure exactly which one it is) off and then on again. Nothing.

What could it be? Is it dangerous? Is my kitchen going to burst into flames, or do I just need a new outlet?

in the USA in recent times the kitchen receptacles should be on a GFI circuit. this is often done with one receptacle being a GFI unit with a TEST and RESET buttons. find this device, could anywhere in the room and if an older house even out of the room, and push the RESET button.

see if this might be the situation.

Or it’s the residual current device. Acts a bit like a kind of breaker but it’s technically different.

Only three outlets in the kitchen, none GFI unless there’s a hidden one or something. Looked around nearby walls and didn’t see any there, either. The only one I’ve noticed in the house is in the bathroom.

The wiring was redone circa 1995, I think.

An RCD and a GFI are the same thing. In the U.S. and Canada they are typically called a GFI or a GFCI. Elsewhere in the world they are called an RCD.

To the OP, double check your breakers, and check to make sure there’s not a switch controlling the outlet somewhere. If it’s not a switch or a breaker or a GFI tripping then it’s probably something broken (bad or loose wire, or maybe the metal tabs inside the outlet broke, etc). In that case, you need to have a professional electrician come out and look at it.

check that the bathroom GFI receptacle is working and reset it if needed. sometimes the circuits were wired where GFI circuits were fed from other rooms and could be confusing.

My two bathrooms are controlled by one GFI in only one of the bathrooms. So if it trips in the one bathroom, I get no power in either plug.

I’d think it odd but plausible, that the bathroom GFI also controls the outlet in your kitchen.

On less well-built homes, one other possibility might be that the wires inside the outlet connecting the plug to the houre current have loosened enough that the outlet is no longer supplying power. Given the 1995 rewiring job, this seems unlikely in this particular case, but I’ve heard of it happening enough times in quick-turnover subdivision construction that it’s at least worth mentioning.

Just a few notes about electrical protection devices in general, for the benefit of anyone coming into this thread.

A breaker is designed to trip when there is too much current, which is typically something like 15 amps on most residential U.S. circuits. A breaker prevents more current from flowing than the wires can handle, so if you didn’t have breakers the wires would get really hot, the insulation would melt, and things would catch fire.

The problem with breakers is that you can easily have enough current flowing to kill someone without tripping a breaker. The most likely places where people run into this sort of situation are in locations like kitchens and bathrooms where water is present. You can easily touch the “hot” part of a circuit while touching something that is grounded (like a sink full of water, which grounds through the water pipe) and receive a lethal shock without tripping the breaker. A Ground Fault Interrupter, or GFI (aka Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, GFCI, or Residual Current Device, RCD), measures the current through the hot and neutral conductors. If they are ever out of balance by more than 5 mA (the maximum “safe” current that can pass through the human body) the GFI trips and shuts the circuit off.

GFIs are currently required in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and similar “wet” locations. They have been required in kitchens since the late 1980s, so if your house was re-wired in 1995 and they didn’t put in GFIs then they didn’t wire your house up to code. It might not be a bad idea to have a real electrician who actually cares about things like not killing people take a look at what was done.

The latest type of circuit protection is called Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters, or AFCIs. Breakers and GFCIs won’t trip if you have something like a frayed extension cord, which is really good at burning down your house. AFCIs detect arcing faults, which is good for preventing house fires. AFCIs have been required in bedrooms since 1999, and in 2008 AFCIs have been required in other areas as well (with some exceptions).

A house rewired in 1995 wouldn’t require AFCIs, but you might want to consider adding them anyway. They are a good thing, IMHO.

Another possibility is that the breaker did open but the switch didn’t flip. I’ve had that happen once or twice. You should flip the breakers off and then back on.

Also, you might want to look in the cabinets to see if you have a hidden outlet somewhere. We just discovered one in our kitchen that we had no idea was there. A good place to look would be under the sink.

This. I once tripped ours and spent half an hour looking for it before I found it behind an appliance. A lot of websites I looked at also suggested the garage. Good Luck.

You may have a hidden junction in the wall that’s come lose.

Most likely, you have a bad receptacle. Those 60 cent ones in the bargain bins at home Depot are total crap. The OP said he wasn’t sure which breaker controls the circuit. I’d suggest killing the main breaker. That way the entire house is off. Unscrew it from the box and replace. Make certain you put the wires back the same way.

Buy a decent receptacle for a couple bucks. The bargain bin ones aren’t worth the time to install.

Here is a how to vid. Remember, always kill the power first.

If I read your op right you are saying that you have only one outlet not working. The other outlets in the kitchen are working.

This probably means the you do not have a GFIC or breaker tripped. It sounds like you have either a bad outlet or a bad splice in one of your outlet boxes. I think it would best if you got a pro in to ttest and correct the problem.

Are you sure there isn’t a switch controlling that outlet? That situation is pretty common in kitchens.

I’ve been in this house five years - if there’s a switch it’s the world’s most secret switch.

Not the bathroom GFI - dried my hair on that one this morning. Will check under the sink.

I mentioned this before further upthread, but double check your breakers. It’s pretty common to have a separate breaker for one outlet in the kitchen so that you can plug a microwave into it.

Also, some breakers reset oddly – they flip to the ‘middle’, have to be turned off completely, and turned back on; if it’s not done properly, pushing the knob to the ‘on’ position does nothing.

This morning I turned every breaker in the house off and then back on. Nothing except a surprised fish in the aquarium.

Perhaps a loose wire on the receptacle, especially if the electrician used the stab terminals in the back.