Several outlets not working?

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Old 04-06-11, 10:25 AM
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Exclamation Several outlets not working?

I've been testing the outlets around my home, and many do not work. Both bathrooms do not work, one is GFI, the other is normal. The test shows both are open hot.

Under the kitchen sink the outlet has a very dim lamber light when tested showing open neutral. Just opposite of this outlet on the other side of the wall is another open hot outlet.

All other outlets in the home seem to work, basement works, garage works. The tow outlets outside don't work.

I replaced the non GFI outlet in the bathroom, and nothing changed. I also replaced the outlet opposite of the kitchen and that does not work.

The home is 25 years old. I hit the the test and reset buttons on the GFI.

Does this mean mice chewed through wires and now I need an electrician to rewire the home?
 
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Old 04-07-11, 07:41 AM
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Check for tripped, off or loose breaker switches. If they all are on, then turn off all breakers. One after the other, turn a breaker on and find what it controls. See if one of the breakers does nothing (or dim light as you mentioned).
 
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Old 04-07-11, 01:52 PM
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Dead Items

Look for bad connections upstream from the problem items. Especially check closely for failed back stabbed connections. All back stabbed wires should be connected to the screws.
 
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Old 04-07-11, 02:30 PM
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You might also look at this post http://forum.doityourself.com/electr...rminology.html The second half outline troubleshooting a problem such as yours.
 
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Old 04-07-11, 08:30 PM
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What exactly will shutting off the breakers will do? Should I shut off the main as well? What happens If I shut off the breaker to the furnace and hot water tank?

I have to say the most electrical I have done was changing lighting and outlets. I'm really not sure how to check things up stream and in the walls.
 
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Old 04-07-11, 09:14 PM
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What exactly will shutting off the breakers will do?
Often a tripped breaker doesn't look tripped. Br turning it off then on you insure it is not tripped.
What happens If I shut off the breaker to the furnace and hot water tank?
Nothing but you only need to reset the breakers on the affected circuit(s). If your not sure which breakers reset all 15 and 20 amp 120 volt breakers.
 
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Old 04-09-11, 09:40 AM
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Would I need to shut off the main as well, or pass on that. I have about 20 breakers in the house.

As there were some ceiling fans installed after the house was built, they don't seem to be on any of the breakers. Yet all the fans and the lighting work.
 
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Old 04-09-11, 11:06 AM
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The main breaker is probably not the problem since most circuits still work. If you have 240v equipment that works it is definitly not the problem. No disrespect intended but from your difficulty understanding the basics it may be time to call an electrician to check it out. A book such as Wiring Simplified available at Home Depot, Amazon and other places is a good place to start learning.

As there were some ceiling fans installed after the house was built, they don't seem to be on any of the breakers. Yet all the fans and the lighting work.
They may be on a subpanel. If there is a subpanel you need to find that subpanel. Maybe the affected receptacles are from that subpanel.
 
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Old 04-17-11, 09:19 PM
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I flipped all the breakers and didn't notice anything different. All the outlets that don't work still do not work.

As far as I know there is no subpanel unless it's up in the attic above the fans.

So am I at the point where I have to hire an electrician to rewire the house because of bad wiring?

Another thing it seems like all the outlets have been back stabbed. Should I switch over every outlet in and outside the house so they are no longer back stabbed?

What's a quick way to test a receptacle to see if it's good or not?
 
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Old 04-17-11, 11:07 PM
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Another thing it seems like all the outlets have been back stabbed. Should I switch over every outlet in and outside the house so they are no longer back stabbed?
Eventually but for now just on the affected circuits.
 
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Old 04-18-11, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Eventually but for now just on the affected circuits.
So you think this might be the problem?

There is an outlet under the kitchen sink, it's one of the ones that does not work. I'm thinking of putting a blanking plate there. Would there be any problems with doing this since the circuits seem to be daisy chained?
 
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Old 04-18-11, 09:03 PM
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Was this for a garbage disposal or dishwasher?
 
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Old 04-19-11, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Was this for a garbage disposal or dishwasher?
It was for a garbage disposal, and it was not a GFI outlet.

I'm told this is out of code now.
 
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Old 04-19-11, 05:30 PM
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It was for a garbage disposal,
Did you turn on the switch?

You need to check each of the receptacles that don't work for power by pulling them out and checking across the black and white wires of each cable with an analog multimeter. Then check for voltage from black to ground and white to ground.

In the end it may be best to call an electrician. It may be to complicated for remote diagnoses. We have yet to even determine if it is one circuit and one problem or multiple circuits with multiple problems.

I could write a small book on tests you may need to run. One of the tests I would do is mapping out the circuits with continuity checks between the various box. That can take quite a bit of time and knowing enough to visualize in you mind based on the results how it is likely the circuit is run then perhaps figuring out more tests to help verify your guess. In some cases simplest may be to abandon some sections and run new.
 
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Old 04-21-11, 07:48 AM
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OP, have you found which breaker controls the dim lighting? Explore that zone completely to see if anything works properly on it. Also get one of these to find live hot wires such as through the outlet or switch. No need to touch wires either.

Amazon.com: Greenlee GT-16 Adjustable Non-Contact Voltage Detector: Home Improvement
 
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Old 04-21-11, 11:07 AM
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Also get one of these to find live hot wires such as through the outlet or switch. No need to touch wires either.
Strongly disagree with that. Non contact testers are too prone to false positives to be meaningful. You'd just have to go back and redo every test with a real meter. Their fine for a quick test if a line is dead but may indicate it is hot when it isn't.

You need to use a meter or test light. In this case either a cheap analog or a good quality digital that ignores phantom voltages. Note the impedance on even a cheap analog multimeter will be enough to block false readings. That is not always true on cheap DVMs.
 
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Old 04-21-11, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Strongly disagree with that. Non contact testers are too prone to false positives to be meaningful. You'd just have to go back and redo every test with a real meter. Their fine for a quick test if a line is dead but may indicate it is hot when it isn't.

You need to use a meter or test light. In this case either a cheap analog or a good quality digital that ignores phantom voltages. Note the impedance on even a cheap analog multimeter will be enough to block false readings. That is not always true on cheap DVMs.
Was worth every penny. Works 100% on everything 120v that I tested on the lowest possible sensitivity setting. Does funny things on high sensitivity but clockwork on low. Messing around with multimeters is fine, but when you want to check, and then recheck and then triple check to be sure, the multimeters are a real annoyance.
 
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Old 04-21-11, 05:10 PM
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To get rid of phantom voltage, you can snap on a c7 socket on a spare set of leads and use a low-wattage lamp. The downside is it will only safely work on 120V. Any higher the lamp will burn out.
 
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