Another non working receptacle question

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Old 05-06-18, 01:12 PM
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Another non working receptacle question

I am new here and I am looking for some help. The wall receptacles in my Dining Room quit working while my wife was vacuuming. I have checked and reset all 5 GFI's in my house (none were tripped), no breakers have been tripped, receptacles have been changed and connected properly around screws (not back stabbed), every other outlet in the house was tested with a receptacle tester and all showed correct wiring. There is no breaker labeled "Dining room" in my breaker box. I do have one unmarked breaker but I can't tell if it is for these outlets until I get them working. The unmarked breaker wiggled more than any of the others. Is it possible that this breaker is the cause without being tripped? The only other observation that I noticed is my non contact voltage tester beeps and flashes intermittently and slowly near the 1st outlet in the chain like it is getting some power. I checked for loose connections in all switches and outlets that could possibly feed the #1 outlet but found nothing (within 15 feet or so). Every other outlet and all lights in the house work.
It seems to me that I have a loose wire from somewhere that feeds the #1 outlet but I can't find it. Is there a way to determine where the feed is coming from? If the feeder wire was loose at the back of the feeder receptacle, would my outlet tester still read "wired correctly "?
Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks

Ralph

PS My wife has been known to yank the plug out of the wall by the cord of the vacuum thus giving me another reason to suspect a loose connection somewhere.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 01:47 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

A non contact tester is only good for letting you know there is dangerous voltage in the area. A circuit is two halves..... power/hot and neutral. You could very well have power and no neutral. Your tester tells you that you have hot power but since there is no neutral... the receptacles are dead.

You can use that tester to your to your advantage. Keep it near the receptacle so that it shows power and have someone turn off breakers one at a time until it's dead. Now find every other dead device. Knowing what is live and what is dead can help you find the problem.

An analog test meter is also an extremely handy item to have for more comprehensive testing.
You can pick up a basic analog meter at the home improvement stores starting around $15.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 01:52 PM
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Firs thing we tell people with problems like yours is look around behind furniture, outside , in garage, all bathrooms. Look behind furniture that hasn't been moved in years for a GFCI. Next don't use a non contact tester they give false readings, get a cheap analog tester usually around 10$. Try to find the last working outlet on circuit. Take out and check wires and all wire nuts. Redo all connections there. I know you have tried GFCI but may have missed one.
Pete types faster than me.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 02:16 PM
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The dining receptacles should be powered from the kitchen receptacle circuits. The problem can be at the last working or first non-working receptacle.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 02:56 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I have looked everywhere in the past to locate GFI's but I will check again. There may be one that I missed.

Two more things that I just remembered...they are probably important facts to know...sorry about that

When I changed the outlets two weeks ago, a GFI in my kitchen tripped and would not reset. My first thought was that the GFI was bad so i changed it.....still wouldn't reset. I started checking my wiring and found a loose ground that popped off when I was pushing the outlet into the wall. I reattached the ground and the GFI reset. Does that mean that the dead outlets are on that specific GFI (all other GFI's were still engaged)? The outlets worked again too until my wife vacuumed. Not sure exactly why they started working again but I assumed it was a bad GFI. What a dummy I am for forgetting this....

The other thing that just came to mind....I was working in an adjacent room the other night, patching nail holes in preparation to repaint. I used my shop vac to clean up the dust. I am not certain but I thought that my Dining Room ceiling light dimmed when I started the shop vac....I should verify.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 03:05 PM
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I inspected the last working outlet in the kitchen this morning. All connections were tight. I don't know much about wiring. I did notice that this outlet had 2 white wires attached to 1 screw and 2 black attached to another screw. Does this matter? Most outlets that I have checked usually have 1 wire per screw.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 04:54 PM
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I did notice that this outlet had 2 white wires attached to 1 screw and 2 black attached to another screw.
If not GFCI one wire to the screw. You now need to check the receptacle it feeds.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 05:04 PM
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I started checking my wiring and found a loose ground that popped off when I was pushing the outlet into the wall. I reattached the ground and the GFI reset. Does that mean that the dead outlets are on that specific GFI.
The GFI tripped and wouldn't reset because the loose ground wire was touching the neutral/white wire.

You're asking us a question we can't answer.
When that GFI wouldn't reset..... where the receptacles that are dead now dead back then ?
 
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Old 05-06-18, 06:12 PM
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The last outlet in the kitchen is tied into the gfi that wouldn't reset. It's the last one that was dead in the kitchen when the gfi wouldn't reset.

Yes, the outlets that are dead now were also dead when the gfi wouldn't reset.
 
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Old 05-07-18, 06:26 AM
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Update...Problem solved

Thanks for all of your input. You guys contributed enough to get me on the right track (search for GFI's, Dining room fed from kitchen, etc. ).

While searching for a hidden gfi, I found another outlet hidden away in the pantry. This outlet is on the kitchen circuit. Pantry is between the kitchen and Dining Room. Could this outlet be the source....popped the cover and immediately saw a loose white wire. After reattching, I now have power to the Dining Room outlets.

Thanks to all that commented. You put me on the right track.
 
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Old 05-07-18, 06:36 AM
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Good job! Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
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