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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Most homes have 8-10 receptacles on the same circuit.
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?