Total of 6 outlets not working, breaker not tripped

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Old 12-29-17, 03:40 PM
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Total of 6 outlets not working, breaker not tripped

I read through the dead outlet pinned post, with no luck. Backstory: Last year around this time, we had Christmas lights plugged into the outlet on our front porch (home built in 1977, this outlet is very old,) and one day the lights stopped working. This also killed one 1/3 outlets in our garage, as well as the outlets in our half bath, on our back porch, the bathroom upstairs and 1/5 in the master bath, We had a home warranty at the time and someone came out and replaced the outlet in the bathroom upstairs and all was well in the world. Now this year, we had a few rainy days (not sure if that's relevant, water could have made its way into the lights somehow.) One night my husband plugged the lights in, as well as an extra strand of C9s that had not previously been used, and they all were on for a few hours, and then they kicked off (along with all other outlets previously mentioned.) I called in a licensed electrician who spent 2 hours today trying to figure this issue out. He took the panel apart, all breakers are hot. All of the non-working outlets are dead, but when he "jumped" the circuit, everything worked except 2 of the bathrooms. His suggestion is to run a new circuit (one dedicated to the fridge in the garage, and one to the back porch which will power everything but the 2 bathrooms, leaving those still not working.) He left me with the task of checking every outlet (both plugs on each outlet) and I have done that, and everything is working. Any ideas? Thanks for reading!
 
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Old 12-29-17, 03:53 PM
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Possible that a GFCI tripped on one of the outlets as bathrooms are usually protected this way. But I suppose that an electrician would have thought of that.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 06:23 PM
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replaced the outlet in the bathroom upstairs
Did they replace it or just push the reset button.

With the receptacles that are dead there..... you have a tripped GFI receptacle. Probably at the same location where they "changed it" previously.

I service a condo development that was wired identically. Usually the GFI receptacle can be found in the master bathroom but that is not written in stone.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:40 PM
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When I get this call, it's usually a tripped GFCI receptacle in the garage, sometimes I spend more time looking for the receptacle than I did to drive over. These receptacles often get covered with boxes, shelves, cabinets, and even pegboard!

But you say it was in an upstairs bathroom one time? If so, the second electrician should have been able to find it.

I'm concerned about the new wiring being proposed. Is he wanting to power the existing circuit from another direction, without finding the reason there is a dead spot?
 
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Old 12-30-17, 06:23 AM
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Hi, remove all the outside lighting, as already mentioned search the house for every outlet paying close attention GFCI receptacles, not sure what you meant by “Jumping the circuit”, but if everything worked except the 2 bathrooms I would check those GFCI receptacles first, make sure everything is unplugged.
Geo
 
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Old 12-30-17, 09:47 AM
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The last time, they replaced the outlet in the bathroom upstairs (GFCI) and it brought everything back up. Yesterday, he checked all the GFCI outlets on the circuit and there is no power coming to any of them. His recommendation was to essentially bypass the issue and just run a new circuit while never solving the issue, which I'm not really comfortable with. He used some sort of extension cord to add power to the circuit on the back porch, and that was how he was able to get power to everything except the 2 outlets. Is my logic sound in thinking that if only 1/5 outlets in the master bath are on the circuit, that possibly it was added after the fact (bath has been remodeled since house was built) and maybe we should be looking for a junction box somewhere?
 
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Old 12-30-17, 10:05 AM
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He used some sort of extension cord to add power to the circuit on the back porch
That would be a "suicide cord". It had never occurred to me to use one for troubleshooting. Interesting approach. I'm still thinking through all the bad things that could happen there.

Rather than the kludgy solution he proposed, I would just start from the panel and start tracing the circuit outwards, examining each box along the way, you know, finding the problem. A toner/tracer set costs what, $50-60 these days? If there's an unknown junction box you'll find it. It's several hours of work but I'd much prefer that than letting someone hack up my walls and having to pay for unneeded materials just because Mr. Suicide Cord didn't want to look for the problem.

But I do think it's a GFCI somewhere rather than some broken wiring.
 
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Old 12-30-17, 01:44 PM
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I have reset all of the GFIs that I'm aware of in the house, that doesn't mean there aren't more that I'm missing but I've been pretty dang thorough. Would a tracer be my next step to find one I'm not catching? House has been remodeled a few times so it could be anywhere and I am at a loss.
 
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Old 12-30-17, 07:42 PM
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Are you able to see all the walls in the garage or is there the possibility of a receptacle hidden behind cabinets or something?
 
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Old 12-31-17, 05:59 AM
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...Yesterday, he checked all the GFCI outlets on the circuit and there is no power coming to any of them...
Ah, if any of the GFCI in line to one another are wired to the load side of a previous GFCI receptacle you could be experiencing "phantom" tripping. GFCIs don't play well with other GFCIs a lot of times.

This may not be causing this exact issue but I would be sure that if there are multiple GFCIs on this circuit that they are only wired to "line".

As far as any other GFCIs on the circuit, again check everywhere. Several times I was on a call and I found a GFCI receptacle in a person's house they never knew were there.

And check at the circuit breaker panel also. I had a customer who had a GFCI receptacle at the panel and that one GFCI controlled the circuit for two baths and all the outdoor lights and receptacles.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 06:53 AM
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I keep hearing that bit about two GFCIs on the same circuit, but I keep waiting to see it cause a problem in practice. I guess I need to schedule a visit from Mr. Suicide Cord or Mr. Phantom GFCI? This thread is now pretty much the Who's Who of 'l33t' electricians I think.
 
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Old 01-01-18, 07:21 PM
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I keep hearing that bit about two GFCIs on the same circuit, but I keep waiting to see it cause a problem in practice...
Sometimes there are no issues. Sometimes, the resetting of one will trip the other, which then needs to be reset also.
 
 

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