(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29

Thread: Three Dead Outlet Mystery

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member wallygater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    long island
    Posts
    133

    Question Three Dead Outlet Mystery

    One in the basement (washing machine)
    Two on the first floor
    The three outlets are dead, no power
    All three worked fine up until now
    So Far:
    I have changed , tested all three outlets with a volt stick
    None of them show any signs of having power
    All circut breakers are on in the house
    Everything else in the house works fine

    How can I find out why these three outlets are dead??
    wally

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,405

    Default

    It's probably a loose or broken connection. Many times, one circuit will feed multiple receptacles in a daisy chain. Break that chain somewhere, and those downstream stop working. So, looking at those receptacles, if you find one that only has one cable coming into it that doesn't work, it is the end of that chain...you have to work your way backwards and find those with two (or more) cables coming into the box, and see if there is power on one set, but none going out (probably because of either a loose connection, or a broken wire). There are tools that inject a signal into the wiring that you can trace, but baring purchasing one of those, you have to think logically on how the things were probably wired - most likely from one next to it, or directly above or below.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,653

    Default dead

    The problem could be in the "first" dead outlet, whichever that one is, or the one AHEAD of it. Are you sure they are not on a tripped GFCI receceptacle?
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member wallygater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    long island
    Posts
    133

    Default

    I agree. dead feed somewhere.

    This house is 75 yrs old, so is most of the wireing

    the bad outlets are part of the original house wireing

    All BX

    I had planed to backfeed the last outlet and see where the power goes, however, that sounds dangerous to me

    I will thr to just use the tester and find the outlet with power comming in and dead going out

    that last outlet on the circut is a GFI

    It has no power so I dont think its the GFI

    Why would that last outlet have 4 wires on it ???

    There is nothig past it. It is the very last outlet in the basement. It seems to me that it only needs 2 wires.

    Is it the BX?? is that why ???
    wally

  5. #5
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3,681

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wallygater View Post
    that last outlet on the circut is a GFI

    It has no power so I dont think its the GFI

    Why would that last outlet have 4 wires on it ???

    There is nothig past it. It is the very last outlet in the basement. It seems to me that it only needs 2 wires.
    Why do you think it is the "last outlet"? If it were, it would not have 4 wires.

    Are your breakers not labelled as to which feeds what? It could be a bad breaker or a broken wire after the breaker.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,653

    Default outlets

    "backfeeding could be dangerous, because if the broken wire is the neutral, and you backfeed with the wrong polarity, you could cause a major short circuit. You have to remove outlets and visually inspect them to try to determine the power routing, in order to trace back to the point where you DO have power.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,405

    Default

    It's likely that the GFCI is the FIRST receptacle on that line, otherwise, it would not have something connected to the load side. Are you sure that it is not tripped? Have you tried the test button and pressed the reset? If the reset button won't stay in, you have a wiring problem down the line. It's also possible that the GFCI is bad, but more likely that there's a wiring problem, or the thing just tripped because of something you plugged into it was faulty.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member Hammerlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    252

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wallygater View Post
    How can I find out why these three outlets are dead??
    Prior to the 3 receptacles losing power have you touched, moved, changed, installed or re-configured any electrical device(receptacle, switch, fan, light, etc..) anywhere in the house within say 72 hours of the 3 receptacles losing power. That would be a good place to start looking for a loose connection.
    Last edited by Hammerlane; 06-17-2013 at 05:12 AM.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member wallygater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    long island
    Posts
    133

    Default

    I am now back to my electrical mystery. thank you for your replies

    the only thing that has changed within the past few weeks is the new washing machine

    LG front loader.

    about a week after pluging in the new washer the problems began

    the washer plugs into what I call the" last outlet" in the house

    located in the basement, this outlet and box is exposed, accesable, and has had the old washer pluged into it for about 10 years.

    the reason I call it the last outlet is because it has one bx cable going into the box and nothing coming out

    the big mystery about that outlet is its a GFI, with all 4 wires hooked up to it.

    Now for the dangerous part:

    after determining that I would have to diassemble and examine about 10 outlets, I decided to narrow it down abit with the back feed method

    I turned off the whole house, left one circut on that I know is independant (Bathroom), ran power into the (last outlet)

    I connected the back wire to the black, and the white to the white

    that left two other wires from that box just bare

    I tested the Increadibly dangerous connection with my trusty volt stick

    the hot from the bathroom lit up as expected

    the white had no reading

    whats inceadibley confusing is one of the bare wires was also energized. the other bare wire had no reading

    I dont understand, how what apears to be the last outlet, can it have 4 wires hooked up to it??

    why did the back feed test go so wrong?? all I achieved was energising two wires out of 4 in that last box

    I tested the outlet that is directly connected the the last one ( its still in the basement and acssesable)

    it was dead as a door nail. my backfeed attemt went nowhere.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. I am really trying to not call a real electrition to come to the house due to my lack of funds.
    wally

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,405

    Default

    First, a washer/dryer should be on it's own circuit! If there's one cable coming in, how are all four of the wires connected to a GFCI? You CANNOT connect the line and load leads together. If there's nothing going out, only the LINE leads should be connected to something, and the load leads capped, assuming it has pigtails coming out, or if not, just leave the screws empty. The LOAD leads only get connected if you wish to protect and power additional 'normal' receptacles downstream of it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member Hammerlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    252

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wallygater View Post
    the reason I call it the last outlet is because it has one bx cable going into the box and nothing coming out
    the big mystery about that outlet is its a GFI, with all 4 wires hooked up to it.

    I am scratching my head on this statement

  12. #12
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    2,523

    Default

    It is now time to call someone who knows what they are doing before you either get hurt of burn your home to the ground

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member wallygater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    long island
    Posts
    133

    Default

    thank you for the replies.

    I figurred out whats up with that "last outlet"

    It turns out that it not the last outlet. what the electrition had done, is rewire the out let next to it.

    it turns out that the GFI is the "second to last outlet". the last one is the one next to it with only 2 wires

    it makes sence because they are both close to the slop sink

    that explains the big mystery to me

    I still have no power in any of the 4 outlets and I dont want to pull out about 12 outlets throughout the hose to find out were the power is being interupted
    wally

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member wallygater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    long island
    Posts
    133

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    It is now time to call someone who knows what they are doing before you either get hurt of burn your home to the ground
    I am trying to be as safe as possible. I will be passing any crazy ideas/plans, on this forum first, before i try it

    thanks in advance, for any help you can provide.

    maybe you can explain the correct way to locate the bad outlet without me having to pull out and test all of them

    there has got to be a better way, what would a pro do??

    somewhere between the breaker box and the 4 dead outlets there is a problem.

    i wish i know wich breaker it was but i dont

    it could be any one of about 5 circuts that run through this old house, each room has about 3 or four outlets and there are about 4 rooms
    wally

  15. #15
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Land of Cheese
    Posts
    3,150

    Default

    The first thing I do is map out what breakers are feeding what circuits, and then it is easier for me to visualize how the each circuit is likely to be installed.

Similar Threads

  1. HELP: gerber 21-374 floor mount back outlet bowl waste outlet thickness
    By munkyboi in forum Toilet Forum discussions
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-29-2013, 02:22 PM
  2. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-11-2012, 12:01 PM
  3. Is the duck dead?
    By Cookie in forum Health and Wellness Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-11-2011, 04:41 PM
  4. convert NEMA 6-20R outlet to standard 110 outlet?
    By cham33 in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-16-2010, 02:27 AM
  5. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-18-2008, 07:16 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •