How to find outlet's electrical source?

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Old 11-08-16, 11:02 AM
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How to find outlet's electrical source?

I have two wall outlet that has no electricity. Besides tearing the walls apart, is there a way to find out where it was split from? I always have a switch that when I flip it nothing happens. How do I determine what this switch supposed to do or wired to do?

Thank you.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 11:07 AM
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Were the outlets working previously ?
Do you know what circuit they are on ?

Same for the switch.
Did it used to control a light or receptacle and now it doesn't.

There are ways of following wiring using what's known as a fox/hound. A tone generator and receiver. Works on everything but metal clad cable... like BX. It can still locate the ends where the wire comes out of metal clad.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 11:26 AM
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But of course it is unlikely you will ever have a problem in the wall so there's a 99% chance there no need to trace the wiring. Have you read: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ther-info.html
 
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Old 11-08-16, 11:47 AM
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No Current

I have two wall outlet that has no electricity
Have they worked any time in the past? If not, there is a possibility a receptacle box in the circuit was covered with drywall before the connections were made in the box.
 
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Old 11-09-16, 05:51 AM
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Checked to see if you have a switched outlet?
Often times with a mystery switch it ends up being because it's powering one side of an outlet so a table or pole lamp can be switched on and off.
I've also seen where one was used to turn on the attic light from down stairs.
Have you checked all your GFI's?
Removed the outlets to see if they were back stabbed instead of under the screws?
You need a real volt meter to do any worthwhile testing, never a noncontact tester.
 
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Old 11-09-16, 07:14 AM
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Many thanks for the responses. This is a new house we just purchased and moved in. So, I don't know if it works before or not. If I have to use a tool to trace, what's your suggestions on the brand/model?

Thank you.
 
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Old 11-09-16, 09:26 AM
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Get a digital multimeter with an audible continuity feature that you can use to trace things out. It will typically have a sound wave icon on the dial next to the omega (ohms) setting.

If it's a new house, you should be able to contact the builder to have them fix the problem, no? Or it's new as in new-to-you? I take it you didn't get a home inspection? Two non-working outlets should've been caught.

Just a guess, but if the switch in question is in a multi-gang box, then it could be for a ceiling box that is wired for a ceiling fan but that switch leg isn't connected to anything (because there is no fan).
 
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Old 11-09-16, 09:55 AM
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It's new to me. I'll contact our home inspector. He did go over the switches...not sure if ALL the switches.

Thanks!
 
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Old 11-09-16, 01:58 PM
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Instead of trying to trace the path of the wires start checking connections, redoing all wire nuts, and moving any back stabs to the screws. There is a good chance that will fix it.
Get a digital multimeter with an audible continuity feature that you can use to trace things out.
Disagree. Get an analog multimeter. A digital meter can give confusing readings for a beginner due to induced voltages. An $8-$15 analog meter is all you need.

True the buzzer is nice on the digital but not enough to offset its other problems. The ohms scale works fine for continuity you just have to look at the meter but not till every connection is checked is continuity a test and odds are you won't even have to check continuity.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 11-09-16 at 02:21 PM.
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