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obrien1984

Electrical Outlet doesn't work

10 posts in this topic

I have a rental property with a duplex 110 outlet that does not work. I thought it would be as simple as replacing the outlet, but now I'm not so sure.

I have confirmed that all the other outlets on the same breaker are at least getting power by plugging in a lamp (unless there's a real tricky one that I don't know about...). Tested the bad outlet with a multimeter, hot-to-neutral, hot-to-ground, neutral-to-ground... all nothing.

Inside the outlet: one hot, one neutral, one ground wire. I even used a non-contact voltage tester pen to see if any of the wires inside were live. I touched it to the casing of the hot and neutral, but it didn't beep. I don't know if this is a sufficient test, and I also don't know how to properly test a wire with a multimeter to see if it's hot.

Before calling an electrician, I want to see if there's anything else I can check.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

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Is it possible that the outlet is controlled by a nearby light switch on the wall ?

I have several such outlets in my home.

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No, I checked that. In fact, I turned on every light switch in the house. Just forgot to mention it.

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If you are not seeing voltage at that outlet, you may need to trace the branch to locate a break or disconnect in the connecting wiring - the connection in the outlet previous to that one may have a poor connection, or the wire between damaged

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OK, I'll give it a try. This is in a 120 year old house, so things are laid out kind of weird. The electrical is new as of 1999, but I'm not sure how to tell where this outlet is in the series. I guess my best bet is to just check every outlet on the circuit.

What am I looking for specifically? A wire loose from another outlet?

(And thanks!)

Edited by obrien1984

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Yes, or loose wire nuts in gang boxes

If you can visually follow the wire using the non-contact indicator - you can determine the portion of wiring where the voltage disappears

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Cool. Thanks. I'll give it a try.

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inside the non-working outlet,

see if you can tell which direction the wires are coming from,

That may tell you which direction to look for the previous outlet.

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Well, I tested and visually inspected everything. I'm thinking that this outlet has never actually been hooked up to the circuit.

(Unless I need to test the switches. Haven't touched those, but I guess they're part of the circuit)

Edited by obrien1984

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Also check for any outlets that have a GFI built into them, this non-working outlet maybe chained off a GFI outlet that has tripped.

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