I have a newer home (1997) and have had no electrical problems until now.
My wife put a couple of those plastic (so your baby doesn't stick a fork
in it) safety plugs in an outlet that never gets used. When she did
this, several lights (in the same general vicinity) went out. She
wiggled the plastic plugs a little in the outlet, and the lights came
back on. Wiggled a little more and the lights went out again. Then,
being properly paranoid she got the hell away from it.
I turned off the breaker to this loop, unscrewed the outlet fixture from
its enclosure, and pulled it out for inspection. The only strange thing
I saw was some discoloration where the ground (bare) wire was attached to
My question is, if hot were shorting to ground at this outlet, would the
rest of the loop go dead (i.e. lights out?) And is this even a possible
occurence in an unused outlet? How else could wiggling this outlet cause
lights to go out further down the line? I am going to replace the outlet
fixture tomorrow, and am hoping it will fix the problem. I was just
wondering if anyone thinks this has potential for something much more
By the way, I have a voltmeter if that could help me run some tests.