Outlet won't work


Old 07-03-04, 11:52 AM
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Outlet won't work

I have a room where non of the outlets are working. I tested the power and found the tester to light when either the white OR black wires were grounded. Is this correct. Should the white wire be hot?
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Old 07-03-04, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
It's an open neutral. If you were to unplug everything on this circuit and turn off all switches, the neutral would no longer read hot.

This situation often arises when a heavy load is placed on the circuit, most often a vacuum cleaner. It usually results from a failed backstab connection (a wire poked into a hole).

As has been discussed here hundreds of times before, the solution is to shut off the breaker, open up every box on the circuit, and remake the white wire connections. Move every backstab connection to the adjacent screw. Pull on every white wire in a wire nut to make sure it's secure, and tighten the wire nut. Start at the dead receptacles. Then move out to nearby working receptacles. If you still have no success, check the connections in switch and fixture boxes. It's tedious but neither hard nor complicated. Get started and good luck.
Old 07-03-04, 04:44 PM
Spark Chaser
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How old is the wiring in this part of the house? Could it be the old knob and tube type? - If so - It may not be a grounded system.

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