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Electric outlets not working, breakers fine.

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[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto

Electric outlets not working, breakers fine.

So around 10 electric outlets in 3 different rooms are not working, checked breakers with multi meter and they all are reporting voltage. All lights in these rooms are working except outlets.

1) what could be the issue?
2) anyway i can trace which outlet is getting the first feed?
3) can multi-meter report voltage even if breaker is dead oe shot? My wild guess is it might be the breaker which is dead but mutil meter reporting incorrect reading?


Any help / suggestions?
26 replies
Deal Addict
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Feb 10, 2011
1254 posts
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Look for a GFCI outlet somewhere upstream and reset it.
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
There is 1 gfci in the washroom, multi meter is reporting no voltage in it and i am unable to reset or test it either, because buttons are not pushable for some reason. I doubted this would be the cause because the rooms where outlets are not working are left and washroom is in the middle...

Anyway i can check or trace whcih outlet is first in line?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jun 12, 2007
18627 posts
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London
hammadarif wrote: So around 10 electric outlets in 3 different rooms are not working, checked breakers with multi meter and they all are reporting voltage. All lights in these rooms are working except outlets.

1) what could be the issue?
2) anyway i can trace which outlet is getting the first feed?
3) can multi-meter report voltage even if breaker is dead oe shot? My wild guess is it might be the breaker which is dead but mutil meter reporting incorrect reading?


Any help / suggestions?
Maybe a bad "backstab"

wall-outlet-no-power-circuit-breaker-no ... d-2341581/
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
So basically the window air conditioner was connected to one of the outlet, i plugged in vacuum cleaner on other socket and after few minutes all 9 electric outlets in 3 rooms and 1 washroom went dead... Lights are working in each and every room except the main living room.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
8389 posts
4080 upvotes
SW corner of the cou…
Suspect a wire or poor connection melted. Get a inductive voltage detector and check the wiring and sockets. Sounds like too many sockets operating off a circuit breaker.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
12918 posts
7676 upvotes
Brampton
hammadarif wrote: So around 10 electric outlets in 3 different rooms are not working, checked breakers with multi meter and they all are reporting voltage. All lights in these rooms are working except outlets.

1) what could be the issue?
2) anyway i can trace which outlet is getting the first feed?
3) can multi-meter report voltage even if breaker is dead oe shot? My wild guess is it might be the breaker which is dead but mutil meter reporting incorrect reading?


Any help / suggestions?
How are you testing the voltage at the breaker?

Testing voltage where the wire goes in to the breaker and ground?

You're sure you're testing the right breaker?

If breakers don't get cycled very often physically, the switch on the breaker can get stuck and while it can look fine it's actually popped. But testing for voltage would eliminate it assuming you're testing the correct breaking correctly.
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2003
4800 posts
4549 upvotes
Toronto
hammadarif wrote: So basically the window air conditioner was connected to one of the outlet, i plugged in vacuum cleaner on other socket and after few minutes all 9 electric outlets in 3 rooms and 1 washroom went dead... Lights are working in each and every room except the main living room.
OK, so they're all on one circuit. Sometimes a circuit breaker looks on, but when tripped the switch looks about 90% in the on position so you can't visually see which one was tripped. Flip every single breaker off solidly, then on again.
Deal Addict
Dec 9, 2003
4991 posts
830 upvotes
Calgary
I kindof laughed at the bit about the GFCI:
reporting no voltage in it and i am unable to reset or test it either, because buttons are not pushable for some reason.
But OP wont bother to replace or fix it anyway because he doesnt think it is the problem..... This is why people sadly DIE
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Newbie
Nov 29, 2003
52 posts
6 upvotes
Toronto
had this happen when we moved into the house initially. Sockets were all showing voltage but nothing would turn on. Turns out one of the sockets' neutral wire had come loose. might want to check each receptacle to see if the wires are all screwed in properly. If they stuck it in like a pin to the back, remove and put it on the screws. Hope this helps.

hammadarif wrote: So around 10 electric outlets in 3 different rooms are not working, checked breakers with multi meter and they all are reporting voltage. All lights in these rooms are working except outlets.

1) what could be the issue?
2) anyway i can trace which outlet is getting the first feed?
3) can multi-meter report voltage even if breaker is dead oe shot? My wild guess is it might be the breaker which is dead but mutil meter reporting incorrect reading?


Any help / suggestions?
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
thriftshopper wrote: Suspect a wire or poor connection melted. Get a inductive voltage detector and check the wiring and sockets. Sounds like too many sockets operating off a circuit breaker.
I already checked all sockets using voltage detector and to my surprise they all beep however when i test each outlet using multi meter, no voltage is reporting.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
Cough wrote: I kindof laughed at the bit about the GFCI:


But OP wont bother to replace or fix it anyway because he doesnt think it is the problem..... This is why people sadly DIE
I only came to know that buttons on gfci are stuck and won't push until these outlets stopped working otherwise i would have replaced it... Gfci is not reporting any voltage with multimeter.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
acrobrat wrote: had this happen when we moved into the house initially. Sockets were all showing voltage but nothing would turn on. Turns out one of the sockets' neutral wire had come loose. might want to check each receptacle to see if the wires are all screwed in properly. If they stuck it in like a pin to the back, remove and put it on the screws. Hope this helps.
So far i checked 4 outlets and repaced 2 of them, all wires looked ok and still outlets are not working.... This house is 60 years old, is this normal to hook up these many outlets to a single breaker?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 10, 2011
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hammadarif wrote: I already checked all sockets using voltage detector and to my surprise they all beep however when i test each outlet using multi meter, no voltage is reporting.
That’s indicative of a open neutral.
No One Goes to Palmerston Ontario
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
Cough wrote: I kindof laughed at the bit about the GFCI:


But OP wont bother to replace or fix it anyway because he doesnt think it is the problem..... This is why people sadly DIE
I didnt change the GFCi yet,buttons are stuck and i am unable to reset it. What are the chances that this gfci is first in line of 9 other outlets? This GFCI is in washroom.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
Redfisher wrote: That’s indicative of a open neutral.
Yes each and every outlet is beeping with voltage detector however no voltage showing when i use multimeter.... What is the solution if its open Neutral?
Deal Addict
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Feb 10, 2011
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Pick one of these up or turn off power and pull out everything on that circuit and check all neutral connections. Also check neutral at breaker.
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No One Goes to Palmerston Ontario
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
tebore wrote: How are you testing the voltage at the breaker?

Testing voltage where the wire goes in to the breaker and ground?
SO I TOOK OFF PANEL, AND TEATING HOT WIRE AND GROUND... RECEIVING APPROX 120V ON EACH BREAKER
DID THE SAME WITH HOT AND NEUTRAL WIRE. SAME RESULT.... THIS MEANS BREAKERS ARE OK?


You're sure you're testing the right breaker?
I TESTED EACH AND EVERY BREAKER BECAUSE FOR THIS HOUSE THE BREAKERS ARE NOT LABELED PROPERLY, SO I AM NOT SURE WHICH BREAKER IS WHICH SO TESTING ALL BREAKERS.



If breakers don't get cycled very often physically, the switch on the breaker can get stuck and while it can look fine it's actually popped. But testing for voltage would eliminate it assuming you're testing the correct breaking correctly.

I AM TESTING EACH AND EVERY BREAKER... WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THAT MULTI METER IS REPORTING INCORRECTLY?
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 22, 2015
171 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
Redfisher wrote: Pick one of these up or turn off power and pull out everything on that circuit and check all neutral connections. Also check neutral at breaker.
Tested on 2 outlets and they both reported "Hot GRD reverse"
This is an old 1960' house and i remember during inspection, inspector reported this.
Deal Addict
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Feb 10, 2011
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hammadarif wrote: Tested on 2 outlets and they both reported "Hot GRD reverse"
This is an old 1960' house and i remember during inspection, inspector reported this.
For some reason those plug-in receptacle testers show this result when there is an open neutral.

This means the neutral conductor for the circuit is open or compromised somewhere. Most often it is a poor connection at a receptacle where the wires are back-stabbed, or stuck into the "quickwire" holes in the back.

A quick test to do is to plug the tester into each receptacle on the circuit, working or not, and wiggle it. Many times the faulty connection will show as the circuit flickers or comes back on.
No One Goes to Palmerston Ontario

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