Electrical outlet no longer working

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Last month I had an electrical outlet inside our front entry area go bad while I was vacuuming, I think I accidentally pulled the plug while the thing was running or something along that line, but don't remember exactly what caused it. Nevertheless, it's no longer working :(.
After turning off and on the power from the box outside for the switch in that area and the main switch that controls everything as well, neither of those solved the problems. Thinking something maybe happened with the outlet I tried swapping a working outlet from another room with that one, still no go. After that I was reading on the internet that a GFCI outlet from another room could be the cause, so I tried resetting all the GFCI outlets in the house even though this didn't have the little GFCI sticker on the face plate like some do, so I'm not sure if it's even related to any of those that do state GFCI on them. There were 4 outlets in the house that had the reset/test buttons on them by the way, and others that have the little GFCI stickers on them, this problem outlet not being one of them.
So today I picked up one of those little receptacle testers, plugged it into that outlet and it shows one yellow light on the right which allegedly means "Neutral contact not connected". Everything's connected as I far as I can see, and I reconnected it just as I took it out to test the other outlet from another room. It has those wires that you push in and they lock into place if that matters at all.
This is a relatively new home (less than 3 years old) and all other outlets and electrical functions work just fine. Does anyone have any ideas as to what may be causing this? If so, I'd greatly appreciate any help you can lend in this matter.
Thanks for your time!
David
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Vacuums pull quite a lot of power. Since your tester tells you that you have an open neutral, it means that the neutral connection has come loose in one of the outlets, switches or lights that are daisy chained on that circuit. The most likely location would be a back stabbed outlet or switch near the one that's not working. Check all the outlets in the vicinity of the dead outlet. It's possible, but not likely that it has anything to do with a GFCI, as that location doesn't require GFCI protection

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I just tested all the other outlets in that area and pretty much all in the rest of the house as well, they all test OK with the two yellow lights lighting up on the tester, All the light/fan switches in that immediate area appear to be working fine as well.
Thanks,
David
RBM (remove this) wrote:

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That would probably mean the problem is a loose connection in an adjacent, working outlet. Were there only two wires in the dead outlet? If so, it would mean it is the last outlet on the chain

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Yes, the outlet that isn't working only has two wires (Plus the ground) in it. The one I tried in its place from another room of the house had four main wires going to it. How would I find if a wire is loose in an adjacent outlet if those outlets are all working normally?
Thanks,
David
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Turn the power off, confirm that it's off. remove the outlet and see if any wires are loose or disconnected. You want to check any outlets located near the dead one, and not necessarily in the same room

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Already checked all that, all wires were connected securely when I took it out, tried the new outlet and when I put the old outlet back in. When you say check other outlets around there, do you mean I need to open each one up to check for something? If they're all working fine, what exactly would I be looking for if I open them up? Sorry if that's a stupid question, but I'm a little confused about that one, lol.
Thanks,
David
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Except for the outlet at the end (which you say this one is, i.e. only two wires), other outlets on your circuit should have two wires coming in and two going out to the next outlet. If f the outlet before this one has two going in that are fine, it will work, but if one of the wires going out to the next outlet is not making contact then the next outlet will not work.
--
Peace,
BobJ

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Ahh, OK, I got it now. So look for the two outgoing wires leading to this non working out, understand now.
Thanks,
David
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Now you're catching on. In your case, it's the neutral wire, the white one, which is not making contact

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Ahh, OK. So look for the two outgoing wires leading to this non working outlet, understand now!
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Ahh, OK, I got it now. So look for the two outgoing wires leading to this non working out, understand now!
Thanks,
David
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Ahh, OK. So look for the two outgoing wires leading to this non working outlet, understand now!
Thanks,
David
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On 7 Mar 2006 19:47:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

BTW, iirc there is alittle hole next to the hole the wire is stabbed into. You put a little screwdriver or a little nail into that hole and push the screwdriver over and that somehow frees the electric wire. Or if you can't get it out, you can cut it off. :)
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Tackled this outlet problem again a little while ago and here's the run down.
First, as suggested I tried switching the wires from the push in type to the screws, that didn't do anything.
Secondly, I took off the next nearest outlet which is across the way on the other side just inside our front entry way. I pop the plate off and take out the outlet and I only see two wires attached to it. I had thought there would of been four on this since the other outlet across the way, the problem one, also had only two wires going to it. Is it possible that another outlet on the same chain also had two wires? This was on the same circuit, since I only turned off one switch at the box outside and tested the power on the specific areas I was going to be working on. That area was off and the rest of the house remained on. Anyway, couldn't do anything there, so I just put that back together.
The next closest electrical switches/outlets on this chain were two sets of (3) switch panels inside our front entry, I took off both of them and basically just re-tightened the wire caps that had big groups of wires stuffed in there and made sure that the wires going to each switch were snug. Everything appeared OK in there before I did anything, the wire caps appeared to already be tight etc... But I guess everything wasn't fully tightened, since after putting everything back together on those 6 switches and flipping the power back on for that area, I tested the problem outlet and wah lah it's now working once again!!!
I put in a little digital programmable timer about 6 months ago in one of those switch panels to control the outside lights and I "guess" somehow, someway one of those wires that were in the wire caps that I re-tightened today quit making contact all the way. I don't know how it quit making contact since everything worked fine for many months after I put in the digital timer, and the last I knew, our house and walls haven't moved any, lol. Nevertheless, it's fixed and I can rest easy again :).
Thanks again for the help and suggestions from everyone!
David
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On 8 Mar 2006 14:39:45 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

voila
It's French

Glad you got it working. Life's a mystery.
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On Tue, 7 Mar 2006 22:04:20 -0500, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

The outlet in my entry is wired to the one in a bedroom, on the other side of the wall.

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I would take the time to make a map of the outlets of the house showing what circuit breaker they use. Turn off one breaker at a time and determine which outlets/switches lose power.
From that you will most likely be able to determine what other outlets are on the same on as the faulty one.
Next I would move the stabbed wires to the screw connections.
I keep such a map pasted inside my breaker box. It has been very useful when I wanted to quickly disable power to an area.
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I have labeled inside my box outside which area each breaker controls, I did that after we first moved in when I was installing ceiling fans in a bunch of the rooms and so I'd know which areas each switch controlled as you mentioned.
I'll try switching over to the screw connections tomorrow on that outlet to see if that helps make it come back to life somehow :).
Thanks,
David
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On 7 Mar 2006 15:24:00 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Pulling the plug won't cause any problems for an outlet. It's just like turning off the switch. It might eventually cause damage to the plug-cord connection. Have you tried plugging something you know works into this outlet, or plugging the vacuum into another outlet to verify it still works.
But you're probably right that the outlet isn't working because your tester says Open Neutral. This is a tester with three little lights?? AFAIK, they work well.
You can verify that the neutral is open when you have the outlet pulled away from its box. Get a meter, about 20 dollars at Radio Shack for a digital multimeter, and first measure the voltage btween the neutral wire and the ground (the metal box or the green screw or the green wire). It's supposed to be zero, but you want to verify that it is before you try the second test. The second test is to measure the resistance from the neutral wire to the ground. If the resistance is zero or very low, you don't have an open ground, but if it very high, you do have that.
If you find at the wire that you don't have an open neutral, don'tt assume that that is true everwhere. The plug-in tester measures at the outlet itself and if there is poor contact between the neutral wire and the neutral part of the receptacle, that's a problem in itself. Those backstab connections are not as good as the ones with the screw, so that could indeed be your problem. r

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