04:24AM | 11/04/02
Member Since: 11/03/02
3 lifetime posts
I have four outlets in my dining room. While using a 100W space heater on one of the outlets, the heater just stopped working. I assumed it was an overheat and simply unplugged the heater. I now realize that it may be another problem because none of the four outlets work anymore. I have opened the faceplates and checked for voltage. None have any coming from the "hot" wires. All the other outlets on the same circuit breaker work fine. I have even checked the closest outlets on the same circuit for voltage on the incoming and outgoing wires. They all have the correct voltage. I don't know what to try next. Oh yeah, the outlets that do work are not "pigtailed" - that is, the incoming and outgoing lines are not directly connected together but a routed through the outlet. Should I try pigtailing to definiively eliminate a bad outlet? Thanks in advance, any help is greatly appreciated.

Tom O

12:05PM | 11/04/02
Member Since: 09/17/02
476 lifetime posts
Even though you have voltage at all the outlets on that circuit, except the 4 dead ones, there is a loose connection at one of the receptacles or in a junction box.

Carefully examine the connections at nearby receptacles (power off of course), check for arcing, black marks, discolored screws. Tighten all connections. If this doesn't bring the outlets back to life, you might try looking for a junction box in the attic or basement, but the most likely spot for trouble is at a receptacle or switch.



12:26AM | 11/06/02
Member Since: 11/05/02
6 lifetime posts
What is this "pigtailing" that you are talking about? I have been an electrician for 12 years and never "pig-tailed" an outlet. Please give more information. Also what are you using to check the voltage with?

Joe Tedesco

02:07AM | 11/06/02
Member Since: 07/27/02
140 lifetime posts

[This message has been edited by Joe Tedesco (edited April 09, 2003).]


08:59AM | 11/06/02
Member Since: 11/05/02
6 lifetime posts
Ok Joe, I see what you are getting at now. Never heard it called that before.


10:47AM | 11/06/02
Member Since: 11/05/01
98 lifetime posts
Are you sure the outlets that work and the outlets that do not are on the same circuit. Being in the same room does not mean that they are. If so your looking for a loose connection. I love detective work.


10:54AM | 11/06/02
Member Since: 11/03/02
3 lifetime posts
Thanks to all for your replies. I am sure the other outlets I was referring to are on the same circuit. Opening the circuit breaker confirms this. I will verify all connections and try pigtailing as Joe suggested and let you know how it worked out. Might not be able to try for a couple of days though. Thanks again!


10:10AM | 11/11/02
Member Since: 11/03/02
3 lifetime posts
Hi all,
I removed the outlets one by one and shorted the two hot lines together and the two neutral lines together. Still no luck. I agree there should be a loose connection somewhere, but because my basement is finished, I don't know how to get at the rest of the house wiring. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!


07:37AM | 11/12/02
Member Since: 08/19/02
29 lifetime posts
Are any of the dead outlets on a switch?

There's a little three-pronged circuit checker made by Sperry that plugs directly into an outlet and tells you certain things about the circuit's condition via light codes, which are listed on the device.

Costs about five bucks at most home improvement centers.

That might tell you something -- and it might not.

Handy gadget to have anyway.

Tom O

08:47AM | 11/12/02
Member Since: 09/17/02
476 lifetime posts
Might be time to call in an electrician that has a tracer that will follow wires inside a wall. After all, we do have to work once in a while, it isn't all coffee & donuts
Click to reply button Inspiration banner


Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply choose button


Post new button or Login button

Follow banner a
Newsletter icon Flipboard glossy Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss icon