Receptacles mysteriously without power


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Old 04-18-15, 05:03 PM
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Receptacles mysteriously without power

Yesterday, 4 outlets in my kitchen lost power. The breaker is fine- its not tripped and I even verified that it was getting voltage.

The breaker box label suggests an obvious solution- it claims there is GFI somewhere on there circuit, so I might guess there is a GFI tripped somewhere. But no- I found two GFI plugs in my house, neither one near the unpowered plugs, and they're both still powered.

Am I forgetting somewhere this circuit could be broken? How do I debug this without tearing out my drywall?
 
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Old 04-18-15, 05:23 PM
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Start checking room by room and outlet by outlet for the mystery GFI. It may be hiding in plain sight or behind some appliance or storage material.
 
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Old 04-18-15, 05:55 PM
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Check the voltage at the receptacles from hot to ground. You may have a lifted neutral. If stab back connections were used, there may be one that has worked loose, probably the first one, closest to the panel.
 
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Old 04-18-15, 06:23 PM
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I found two GFI plugs in my house, neither one near the unpowered plugs, and they're both still powered.
If not in the kitchen they may not be the correct ones. Have you checked the garage, basement, under the eaves and outside?
I even verified that it was getting voltage.
If you used a non contact tester your results are meaningless. To test for voltage you need a multimeter, preferably analog (or a test light or a solenoid tester).
How do I debug this without tearing out my drywall?
99.9% of the time these problems don't require pulling out the drywall to solve. Almost always the problem is at an assessable box. In the very rare case it is in the wall you abandon the cable in the wall and fish new without opening the wall.

Larry wrote:
If stab back connections were used, there may be one that has worked loose
Good advice but do not confuse the side or back connectors on a GFCI with back stabs on regular receptacles. Back wire and side wire use pressure plates and are as good or better than screw terminals.
 
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Old 04-19-15, 11:19 AM
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Have you checked the garage, basement, under the eaves and outside?
And behind the refrigerator, behind a gas range, behind a built-in countertop microwave, behind that huge heavy china cabinet, under the kitchen sink, in the bathrooms, in a crawl space or even in the attic?
 
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Old 04-19-15, 02:31 PM
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I would flick each individual breaker off, one at a time for 30 seconds, and then back on, being sensitive to any that may have been in a half-way position.
 
 

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