Are the outlets on the same circuit?

I have two outlets in the house which are not working. I would like to
find out whether they are on the same circuit. Is it possible to find
out whether these outlets are connected? Please treat this as an
intellectual curiosity question. I know that answering this question
may not solve my problem. But I am curious: what tools does one need
to make this determination and how does one do it?
Thank you in advance!
Reply to
Aaron Fude
Open up the receptacles and check the connections. You might see a burn mark on one of the receptacles. Check for juice with a pigtail socket and light bulb.
If you have no juice anywhere on these two receptacles a simple continuity tester such as a flashlight with leads or a volt ohm meter should work to see if they are connected together. Remove the wires from the receptacles and at one receptacle location connect the ground wire to the hot wire (The wires MUST BE DEAD to do this) and go to the other receptacle location and check for continuity between the hot and ground wires. You may have multiple conductors at each receptacle location so you will need to check each one. Continuity between the ground wire and the neutral will probably exist because they are connected together at the main panel.
Reply to
John Grabowski
It would be a lot easier if they were on. Without a tool you likely don't have and will not want to buy $$$ let's hope it is a GFI.
The two usual causes for this is either a GFI that has tripped or a bad connection, likely at a working outlet.
GFIs are usually in the bath, kitchen or outside. They protect you from certain kinds of shock. They have buttons on them for "Test" and "Rest" Go around you home and press the test button. If it clicks, it was OK. Then click on the reset. If you find one that does not click and if you press the reset and then it clicks, you likely just fixed the two non-working plugs. Other than that, you have to decide if you want to work around live circuits. It means you likely have a loose connection at another plug, likely close to the two that are not working or one of the ones not working. Unless you are comfortable with your knowledge (and you question does tend to indicate you should not be) then call in the pro. It is likely a connection at one plug and likely due to using the backstab connection.
Reply to
Joseph Meehan
When you get them working you can turn off one breaker at a time until one of them goes off, then check the other. If it is off they are on the same circuit.
Bill Gill
Reply to
Because if the open is intermittent and revives while you're working on it your house will burn down. Unless you got the right breaker turned off, but what if you made a mistake? Sometime safety practices are redundant, but that's because humans make errors.
Reply to
Check for a GFCI tripped. Some outlets in the kitchen and bath have a reset button on them and many have an indicator light to tell you if they are working.
If two outlets are dead, it is a pretty safe bet they are both on the same circuit.
Most homes have 8-10 receptacles on the same circuit.
Reply to
You could do it with the hot and neutral wires. I just always use the grounding conductor myself to start and then check all of the conductors.
Reply to
John Grabowski
On 4/21/2008 5:15 AM HeyBub spake thus:
I'm curious about that "circuit breaker detective", which looks like a right handy tool to have. Have you used this or similar? How well does it work? Does it always identify the correct breaker?
Reply to
David Nebenzahl
Yeah, I've got one. Yes it works as advertised.
I don't know if it always identifies the correct breaker; it has so far.
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