Low Voltage at the Outlet- Causes and Solutions

Homeowners in Atlanta, Georgia, are alarmed when they discover an outlet not producing enough power. Reduced voltage does not only cause disruptions to plugged-in objects, but it also causes energy waste, wear and tear on appliances and plugged-in devices, and the possibility of a fire outbreak.

Damage to the outlet wiring may be the root cause of an outlet not providing full power. The possibility for electrical current resistance increases when the wiring is damaged, making it more difficult for the wiring to transfer the necessary voltage to the outlet.

Using this guide, I will show you how to troubleshoot electrical outlets that aren’t sending out enough power to increase the safety and functionality of your electrical system. As soon as the steps fail to resolve the problem, it is necessary to seek professional assistance.

Causes of low voltage in outlets

Causes of low voltage in outlets

Let’s start by going over some of the likely sources of the problem. Low voltage from domestic outlets is often caused by a fixture that has been worn or broken.

Here is a quick table on the causes of a low voltage at the outlet.

Causes of low voltage

Effect on outlets

Essential products

  • Wear and tear on the outlets.
  • The outlet becomes worn away and loose


  • Damaged outlet wiring
  • The wiring does not transfer the necessary voltage to the outlet

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  • Faulty switch
  • There will be poor insulation and excess amperage

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  • Like other commonly used products, Outlets suffer wear and tear over many years of use. Over time, the constant plugging and unplugging of cords cause the contacts within the plug to loosen, resulting in the outlet being worn away.
  • Another possibility for an outlet not receiving full power is damage to the outlet’s wiring. The possibility for electrical current resistance increases when the wiring is damaged, making it more difficult for the wiring to transfer the necessary voltage to the outlet. The effects of overheating, melting, and electrical surges on wires are known as wiring damage.

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  • Branch wiring, a faulty switch, or high resistance in the room’s electrical circuit are just a few of the factors that might cause wall outlet voltage to fluctuate. If the problem of low voltage at an outlet is not addressed and controlled, poor insulation combined with excessive amperage and resistance might become a source of fire in the future.
  • If you have an appliance that draws a lot of power, it can produce a voltage drop. Inductive or capacitive loads can also result in a slight voltage draw if the load is large enough.

Identifying the causes of a low voltage in an outlet

low voltage at outlet

1. Check the circuit ground wire bond on your panel

A low voltage situation is often an indicator that the circuit ground wire has not been correctly bonded at the panel or that the ground wire has not been properly joined or spliced at a connecting point inside the circuit, among other possibilities.

2. Check the ground wire within your circuit

Additional tests need to be carried out to determine whether the ground wire is adequately bonded at the panel position.

The presence of a low voltage condition may indicate that the neutral wire has had a fault. The procedure outlined below will assist in determining the location of a damaged wire or a lousy connection resulting in a low voltage problem. It is necessary to conduct voltage testing at each outlet connected to the same circuit as the afflicted outlet.

The following is an illustration of a way for identifying a low voltage problem on an electrical outlet:

  • Ensure there are no loose or broken wiring connections at the source of power before connecting to the low voltage outlet.
  • It is recommended that you use a decent quality non-digital meter that will not give you inductive readings. The testing leads should be connected to the circuit wire rather than the outlet.
  • Get voltage at all the outlets connected to the same circuit as the main power supply.

3. Tests and electrical observations

If the tester reads 120 volts between the hot and ground, the circuit must be turned off, and each wire leading from each outlet connected to the problem outlet must be tested for continuity. Pay close attention to the ground wire test results and look for any loss of continuity, which could indicate an issue with the wire or a faulty connection or snip.

The best way to perform a continuity test is to use a spare insulated wire and attach it to one wire at a time at the issuing outlet, allowing a loop rear test to the source outlet in which the tester is located.

To verify continuity, you must turn off the circuit’s power supply. A result of zero resistance for all of the wires indicates that the system is operating normally. Do not forget about the low voltage continuity test because the circuit may differ considerably when 110 to 120 V are restored. You may have a broken cable within the wall if there is an issue between the two points.

Nail damage happens during the framing, cabinet assembly, or drywall installation because of the force applied to the cable. A broken ground may exist between the power source and the affected outlet if you receive 60v (or 0v) hot-to-ground.

How to troubleshoot outlets

How to troubleshoot outlets

In some circumstances, a low voltage outlet can be fixed by performing some simple troubleshooting on your own. Whenever you detect that an outlet is not producing the proper voltage, the first step is to determine whether the problem is isolated to a single outlet or extends to additional outlets, switches, and appliances.

If you have a voltage meter, you may check neighboring outlets with it, or you can put in a lamp to see if the outlet is functioning or not. If you don’t have a voltage meter, you can check surrounding outlets by plugging in a lamp. If any other dead outlets and fixtures are discovered, make a note of where you found them.

Verify that the home’s electrical breaker panel is in working order. Ensure that the circuit breaker that supplies power to the outlet has not tripped or that no fuses have burned out, and then reset or replace the breaker as necessary. It is essential to verify that the ground fault circuit interrupter outlet has not been tripped before proceeding.

Make any necessary adjustments, and then reset the GFCI outlet by pressing the ‘RESET’ button on the outlet’s faceplate. If the breaker does not set and persists in tripping, there may be a ground fault or a short circuit in the system. If this is the case, turn off the circuit breaker until the problem is identified and fixed.

Before you begin fixing the outlet itself, please switch off the electricity to it at the breaker panel in your home. The ground, neutral, and hot voltage wires can be found by removing the faceplate and gaining access to the outlet wiring. Check that the screws holding the wiring in position on the outlet are correctly tightened. Loose screws can result in an outlet not giving out its maximum electricity.

Examine the wiring for signs of corrosion or burned marks. The wires can be stripped down to the level where the copper is shining and cleaned, then replaced if there is damage; however, fitting a new outlet is suggested if there is a risk of recurrent loose wiring difficulties.

How to replace your outlet

How to replace your outlet

If the troubleshooting techniques outlined above do not resolve the problem of an outlet not giving out enough power, it is necessary to call an electrician for assistance. The problem at hand is more intricate than a specific outlet problem – for your safety, have electrical repairs performed by a qualified professional instead.

When an outlet does not produce enough power, it may be necessary to replace the fixture and, in some instances, add more cabling. If the outlet isn’t properly suited for the voltage in your home, you may encounter this difficulty. The mismatch may have occurred because electrical upgrades were performed in the past, but outlets were not modified to accommodate the modifications at the time.

Changing a wall outlet is not a task that every homeowner can do. To maintain safety and code compliance, it is best to delegate electrical work to a qualified electrician if you do not have the necessary expertise and experience.

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Let’s wrap up on low voltage at the outlet

Installing a wall outlet is not a task that every homeowner can do. To maintain safety and code compliance, it is best to delegate electrical work to a qualified electrician if you do not have the necessary expertise and experience.

If you cannot resolve the problem with a low-voltage outlet using the techniques outlined above, you will require the assistance of a qualified electrician.

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