Bathroom AND garage outlets not working!!!

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  #1  
Old 08-22-11, 07:33 AM
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Bathroom AND garage outlets not working!!!

Looking for some input... I have an outlet in the garage and a GFCI outlet on the floor above in the hall bathroom which are not getting power. I have tested both with a plug-in style tester which detects open-neutral, ground, etc, as well as a pen-style voltage detector. We are getting no power to the outlets.
My first thought is to replace the GFI outlet in the bathroom, as I have had this problem in the past when a vacuum was plugged in and tripped the breaker. This fix did nothing this time, so we tested the wire and discovered no power.
Step two - tested the breaker, then replaced it. Still nothing.
All other outlets and switches in the house have been working properly, and since this problem affects the bathroom (hair dryers and curling irons too) I would like to get to the root of the problem soon!
Looking forward to hearing you if you can help. Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-22-11, 07:34 AM
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Obvious question:

Did you make sure you reset the GFI outlet?
 
  #3  
Old 08-22-11, 07:43 AM
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Yes. I can push the reset button all day. Typically it will click when it resets, this one does nothing.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 07:49 AM
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You changed the breaker for this circuit out and you still get no power in the line itself? And you're sure all the breakers are reset and On?

I know, stupid question, right? But my wife once claimed we had no power in half of one of our rentals because when I sent her down to the basement to turn on all the breakers that I'd turned off previously, she flipped one side of the box, saw that the other side now pointed the SAME WAY as the first side, and decided they were already on...
 
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Old 08-22-11, 07:56 AM
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I'm thinking that bathroom receptacles are supposed to be on a separate circuit. This would make the garage and bathroom two separate problems.

However, maybe the house was wired before current codes and they are on the same circuit. Start checking for another GFCI somewhere in the house, garage, or an outside receptacle. Sometimes there is more than one GFCI on a circuit and when the upstream one kicks, all the downstream receptacles go dead.

There used to be a guy on the site who preached mapping all your circuits for future reference. It has saved me from hair pulling on several occasions.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 08:00 AM
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This fix did nothing this time, so we tested the wire and discovered no power
How did you test?

Are there other receptacles or lights on this circuit that do work? The problem could be in the last working receptacle, light or switch not just one of the bad ones.

You need to check all connections on the circuit. Move any wires inserted in spring holder on the back of receptacles* (back stabbed) to the screws. Any wire nuts in receptacles, switches, and lights on the circuit need to be removed and redone**.

*GFCIs are usually back wired with a pressure not back stabbed and that is a reliable connection it doesn't need to be moved.

** Wire nuts can have corrosion inside or a loose wire a visual inspection might miss.

Of course when this is fixed you need to start thinking about putting the bath receptacle on a dedicated circuit. The lights are OK on a shared circuit. While it is probably grandfathered bringing up to code will reduce problems with overloads.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-22-11 at 08:16 AM.
  #7  
Old 08-22-11, 08:13 AM
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Checked all the GFCIs in the house, all are working. Hmmm...
All breakers have been reset, and on.
When I started checking the breakers for voltage I discovered one was not getting a reading, so I was confident replacing it would do the trick. It has been replaced, and the meter now chirps as it should. So imagine my confusion when finding no power when I hold the meter up to the wires in the bathroom.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 08:19 AM
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I have two testing devices, one plug in style which detects open-neutral, etc. The other is a pen style voltage detector which I am sure you know the one. Both are Fluke brand.
So are you saying if the working outlet at the end of the circuit is wired incorrectly, then the previous ones will not work?
I will double check the remainder of these outlets, but am mildly confident these outlets are the only ones. There may be light fixtures on this circuit but again I will check.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 08:24 AM
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Cmontgomery see my post above. The pen tester is too inaccurate for serious testing. It can give false positives. You need an analog multimeter, brand name digital meter, test light, or solenoid tester (Wiggins) to do accurate testing.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 08:26 AM
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Receptacles are normally wired A to B to C etc. What Ray was saying is if receptacle B has power but C does not the problem could be the wire leaving B or at C.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 08:29 AM
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So are you saying if the working outlet at the end of the circuit is wired incorrectly, then the previous ones will not work?
No the one after it not the previous one. Not mis-wired a bad connection.

Edit Pcboss beat me to the post.

Also you might want to read http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rminology.html
 
  #12  
Old 08-22-11, 11:02 AM
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So, if I have no power to these outlets currently, how can I tell which breaker they are on?
 
  #13  
Old 08-22-11, 11:19 AM
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Your panel should have an accurate directory that tells you which breaker controls what. If not, now is the time to create one.

Wiring should not have any splices buried behind building surface materials. You could have an open splice, but it should be in an accessible junction box.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 12:16 PM
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You can narrow it down to single pole 15 and 20 amp breakers. Then try to identify what areas each control. Then it's educated guess. If you have one breaker that seems to control nothing and is hooked up then that may be for the area in question. if you have a breaker that controls far fewer fixtures and devices then is average for your house that may be it.

If nothing obvious pops out at you you may just need to test all the dead fixtures and devices if nothing then assume they may be fed by the nearest working fixture or device. Then work your way out in a search pattern.
 
  #15  
Old 08-22-11, 12:21 PM
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Thanks for the input so far. I will attempt to track this down this evening.
If you can think of another solution or advice, please let us know. Will keep you posted if I find a solution.
 
  #16  
Old 08-22-11, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
There used to be a guy on the site who preached mapping all your circuits for future reference. It has saved me from hair pulling on several occasions.
That was Racraft. Here is my paraphrased version of The Sermon.

When you first move into a new home (new to you) you need to "map out" the electrical circuits. By this I mean that you need to one-by-one turn off each circuit breaker and check which receptacles and which lights are controlled by that particular circuit breaker.

You need to locate each and every GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacle and know if there are any receptacles or lights that are wired "downstream” of this receptacle.

You need to make a detailed "Panel Schedule" that lists all of the above information. Do NOT rely on the existing panel schedule (if there even is one) because it may be wrong.

Keep the panel schedule at the circuit breaker panel and keep a spare copy with your electrical tools. If you make any changes in your electrical system such as adding a receptacle be sure to make a new panel schedule reflecting those changes.

This information is important. Some day it could save your life.
 
  #17  
Old 08-22-11, 03:03 PM
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Thanks for digging that up Furd.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cmontgomery View Post
Thanks for the input so far. I will attempt to track this down this evening.
If you can think of another solution or advice, please let us know. Will keep you posted if I find a solution.
Be sure not to use that pen tester. You need a meter or test light and to take the following readings on each connection.

black to white
white to ground
black to ground

Be sure to move any back stabs to the screws.
 
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