2 outlets in one room do not work..


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Old 01-10-14, 02:16 PM
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2 outlets in one room do not work..

Hi,

I just bought a home built in 2006. After we moved in, I realized that two outlets in one room are not working. No power is running to anything plugged into them. It looks as though the outlets affected are probably the last two on a chain of wiring. The second outlet looks to be the last in the chain. Also to note, two outlets in the room do work properly. I have attached a quick drawing. In the drawing, the outlet on the outside wall is the second outlet.

Things I have tried:
-bought new outlets for the affected outlets (no success)
-rewired several times checking for loose connections. (no luck)
-bought a outlet tester (neither outlet registers with the tester.. lights stay off)
-Bought a voltage tester sniffer (the first outlet, the sniffer lights up and makes noise. The second outlet, the sniffer does nothing.)

The sniffer though does not seem to be super accurate so an actual multimeter may be needed to check for accuracy but I do not own one yet. Otherwise, I'm at a loss here. I'm adventurous and willing to troubleshoot but I am not quite sure what this could be.

Thanks guys.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-10-14, 02:44 PM
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#1 Go buy a volt ohm meter.
Ever a cheap ones better then nothing.
Going to have to guess you mean a non contact tester. You'll get a lot of false positives using one. Ever running it over you clothes can set it off.

First make 100% sure there's not a switch that controls those outlets. It's common to see a switched outlet so you can have light in the room as you walk in.
Next start looking for a tripped GFI. There's no rhyme nor reason sometimes to how rooms are wired. They could have jumped off power just about any place.
So do not just look in that one room.
I've found all the outside outlets and lights where controlled by a GFI in the bathroom on the back side of the house on the second floor before.
If any of those other outlets are back stabbed, change them to under the screws.
 
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Old 01-10-14, 02:47 PM
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Would a device like this work, Klein Tools "ET300 Digital Circuit Breaker Finder".

I have a similar tool and it worked great in finding the right breaker. Your plug has to be powered to work.
 
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Old 01-10-14, 02:54 PM
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Yes, I mean a non contact tester. I have looked for tripped GFI's and haven't found anything yet. I have checked all near by switches, even switches down the hall. I'm thinking the ohm meter will be the way to go for my next set of troubleshooting.
 
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Old 01-10-14, 03:01 PM
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-bought a outlet tester (neither outlet registers with the tester.. lights stay off)
-Bought a voltage tester sniffer (the first outlet, the sniffer lights up and makes noise. The second outlet, the sniffer does nothing.)
They're okay for educated guessing but not for serious testing. As Joe suggested you need a multimeter, preferably analog. If analog a cheap one $8-$15 is all you need. Cheap digital may have problems rejecting "ghost voltages".) When you have reliable test gear you can start testing. One test is the check the voltage at each of the receptacles as follows:
  • Hot (narrow slot) to neutral (wide slot).
  • Hot (narrow slot) to ground (half round).
  • Neutral to ground.

I don't really see a need for a circuit breaker locator at this point. Simple logic such as what breaker or breakers control other lights or receptacles in the room should be enough. If no ceiling light then a switch for the receptacle as suggested by Joe is a strong possibility.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 01-15-14 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 01-10-14, 07:11 PM
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If no ceiling light then a switch for the receptacle as suggested by Joe is a strong possibility.
If no ceiling light, a switched receptacle is a requirement, but I see a ceiling light in the drawing. Is this a bedroom? Did you check the adjacent working recptacles for a bad connection yet?
 
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Old 01-15-14, 02:32 PM
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Hi. Thanks for the replies. I bought an analog multimeter. All of the working outlets are registering at 120V. The outlets in question are steady zero. No reading. I have checked all outlets and light switch for loose wiring but I do not see anything that made me feel like it wasn't connected properly. I even loosened and tightened some just to be sure. Also, Everything is screw in and not stab in connections. The only area in the room I have not checked is the ceiling light. I just didn't want to take it down if unnecessary. This room is on the second floor also. Is it possible that the electrical would go to the ceiling light and then down to the other outlets? The ceiling light works fine off the switch as well. Not sure what to do next.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 02:39 PM
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Is it possible that the electrical would go to the ceiling light and then down to the other outlets? The ceiling light works fine off the switch as well. Not sure what to do next.
Did you also check the connections in the working boxes and switch boxes? If yes then the ceiling is next. Also you need to check connections in any room on the same breaker.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 02:46 PM
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Yes checked the working connections in the room and all are 120v and wiring looks good. Good call on checking other rooms on the same breaker. I have an adjacent bedroom on the same breaker and the outlets are showing 120v. Have not checked the wiring on them yet though. I guess those outlets and the ceiling light are next.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 09:14 AM
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Okay. Not the news I wanted. So the answer to my problem was that the romex in the wall had been cut. I pulled on the electrical wire in one of the non working outlets a bit and the wires slid out of the romex casing.

When I bought the house, prior to closing, there was a leak and the seller had the leak fixed. The plumber had opened up the wall but I didn't think based on how he opened it up that he cut through the wire. I thought it was a disconnect somewhere. It's a spare bedroom so I didn't think to check the outlets really until recently. So now I need to figure out a solution. Is it possible to snake new romex through the wall or am I looking at opening up the wall?
 
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Old 01-16-14, 10:48 AM
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First you must be sure the cable left in the wall is disconnected on the other end. If not it must be disconnected and shoved into the wall void.
Is it possible to snake new romex through the wall or am I looking at opening up the wall?
Probably neither. It is best to remove the existing box then use the hole to fish from above or below. This can usually be done with out any wall repair needed.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 11:48 AM
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Thanks for all of the helpful advice guys. Luckily, the romex was not cut all the way through on both runs that came into the box. This allowed me to try to pull to see if there was any slack. Luckily, I was able to pull out slack and found where the cut was, only like 2 inches above the box. I cut from there then stripped and rewired inside the box. All is working now! Both dead outlets are now functioning properly and putting out the correct voltage. Thanks again guys! Case Closed!
 
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Old 01-16-14, 12:58 PM
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EXCELENT! Sometimes it isn't as bad as it seems. Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
 

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