Hello everyone. Just had a quick question. Our house is only 2 years
old and up until a couple motnhs ago everything seemed to work fine as
far as electricity is concerned. Mysteriously, in our bedroom, 3
sockets stopped working. It was not a breaker, nor a GFCI, etc....Just
these three. Over at home depot I picked up a little tester with the 3
lights that tells what is wrong supposedly. In two of the 3 I got
Hot/Ground Reverse and in one I got Open Neutral. So, in my thinking I
could just open up the sockets and switch the hot ground on the 2 and
then connect the presumed detached neutral on the other. But there has
got to be a reason this happened on 3 at the same time. Is there anyone
out there who can point me in the right direction?
You can't suddenly have a hot/ground reversed! A wire must have come lose
or one of the outlets is defective. Open them up and have a look at them;
it is probably the open neutral one. Having a voltmeter to test the various
wires would be helpful if nothing is obvious.
sounds like you have backstabbed connections on your outlets. Start taking
them out (all of them) and putting the wires on the screws. When you get
every outlet in the house done, I'll bet your three dead ones won't be any
"Jeffrey" < email@example.com> wrote in message
Be careful with the testers with the 3 neon bulbs. They sometimes give
out false readings. My guess is you have just an open neutral and not
a hot-ground reversal. With the neutral open, I bet you're seeing
leakage over to the ground within the tester and hence lighting of the
ground neon bulb too, making it seem like a reversed hot-ground.
If the outlets are daisy changed, the lost neutral will be on the
first outlet in the chain.
As outlet wiring is daisy chained together, if you have an open wire, it
will affect all the outlets downstream of the open. You want to look for the
problem in the last "working" outlet in the chain or the first problem
outlet in the chain. Keep in mind, if the house is two years old and in the
US, the bedroom outlets should be AFCI protected, which may make it more
difficult to use test equipment on the circuit
Am I the only one confused by this?
You said the 3 outlets were "dead" but you tested them and they tester
said they were reversed? Are they hot or not? Something like a simple
lamp should work okay (but not be safe, but at least work) with the
wires reversed. Something with protections circuitry might not.
if your replacing the junk backstab outlets PLEASE buy quality ones NOT
the builders quality ones from the big box retailer.
Those for a buck or less are pure JUNK. Contacts wear out FAST!
check EVERY outlet in home before beginning so you get a idea of how
wide spread your problem is
And finally, I am (but maybe should not be) surprised that no one here
has yet said...
TURN OFF THAT CIRCUIT!
At minimum, you have a loose wire, possibly an open neutral, and
possibly some leakage from hot or neutral to ground, and possibly some
open grounds. At worst you have a potential ground fault somewhere,
just waiting to catch fire, or shock/injure/kill someone when they
touch anything connected to that ground. A whole lot of house fires are
related to electrical problems just like yours.
So go now to the breaker, and turn off that whole circuit. Don't turn
it back on until you (or someone you hire) finds and either (a) fixes
the problem, or (b) disconnects the broken/dangerous portion of the
circuit so you can still use the working portion of the circuit.
If it's exactly as described and you plugged in a lamp, it would not
work. A lamp is a two prong plug. One outlet has no neutral, so we
that would not light the lamp. The other two have the hot and GROUND
reversed. If that's true, the lamp would be connected between ground
and neutral, which isn't going to light it either.
I agree with the others, that it's likely something simple has come
undone and the tester, which could also be of dubious integrity, is
just giving wierd readings.
The problem likely lies with the one showing an open neutral or the
outlet just upstream of it, which would not show a problem. Turn the power
off and check the one with the open neutral for a poor connection. If you
are lucky you will find one. Fix it and go buy a lottery ticket as today is
your lucky day.
If you find back stabbed connections (wires going into holes on the back
of each outlet rather than to the screws) I suggest you consider taking a
day, shutting down all the power to the house and changing all your outlets
over to the screws. Much more reliable and safer.
If you don't find anything on that outlet, then you need to try and
guess where the power to that one is coming from because the problem is
likely at that outlet.
Good Luck and be careful. If you are unsure of any phase of the project,
consider buying a wiring book at the hardware store or stop by the library.
All good advice. Thanks so much guys. I suspect that it is a crappy
tester. It was only a few bucks, so go figure. There were not
hot/ground reverses. After a couple seconds the readings went to open
neutral on all 3 which makes sense to my non-electrician mind since
they are daisy chained. As mentioned previously, there must have been
some leakage which caused it to see hot/ground reverse. I have begun
the process of replacing those with the backstabbed connections. I
actually had an electrician come over and he had the plates off
checking each one and he found a loose neutral and then everything
seemed to work. He screwed them all back in and left. After he left
they did not work anymore so I suspect that it worked after testing
only because the wires got jossled and made a connection until they
were screwed back into the plates. Either way, I turned off the breaker
to my room and I am going to replace them all with screw versions....If
backstabs suck so much, why are they used? Just to save time I guess
and builders seem to live by the phrase, "well, that's code."
Anyways, perhaps I am going about this all wrong, but my first time
troubleshooting this type of issue...Unless the issue is
computer-related, I'm a fish out of water....Thanks everyone,
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