Dead outlets after using space heater
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.
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.
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!
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.