there was working power in the whole apartment. after turning off the ceiling fan and returning the next day. power to the bathroom has gone out. i am replacing all the outlets and switches and light fixtures, and since they all werent working in the bathroom i figured there was no power. wrong. there is power in the lines but nothing in bathroom is working. the gfi is not working, the lights, the swiches, and the fan all were out. also in the kitchen i replaced the overhead light/fan above stove, the brand new one wont turn on, but theres power to black and white wires and ground is secure. whats happening? the light swich in the kitchen that is giving power to the bathroom is working and the rest of the house is fine. why would there be power in all the lines but nothing you wire into it will work??? i followed the power using my beep beep tester through the wall to the plug in the kitchen that controlls the kitchen lights. i removed the face plate to the double swich on the wall and found 4 wires comming into the box. all the white wires from all 4 are caped off togeather. all the black wires are caped togeather with the exception of 2 black going into the switches and one 4" piece of 14gaudge white coated wire going from the switches to the bundle of blacks all caped togeather. these switches are providing power to the bathroom and overhead fan by flowthrough. so the power is making it from the box to the switches to the bathroom. only somwhere from the switches to the bathroom the electricity stops working, but still reads... the new GFI and the new overhead stove fan will not work even though the power is making it to them and it is wired properly.

the Old GFI i tested before i tried replacing it, i used a plug in tester and it said the ground and hot were swiched... wierd because when i removed it from the box, it appeared to be wired properly and grounded. so i hooked up a brand new GFI. now the plug in tester doesnot read at all, but the little square light is orange. so theres power in it but its not reading...

i do not understand what is going on or why all the white wires in the lightswitch boxes are caped togeather and going nowhere...

light switch box in kitchen have 4 going in, light switch box in bathroom have 5 wires going in. all white wires are capped togeather.

  • i replaced the old gfi and the new one wont work either...
    – britnee
    Nov 21, 2016 at 22:02
  • 2
    Welcome to DIY.SE! Your question is rather difficult to follow. It sounds like you have problems with your bathroom circuits and your kitchen? Or a ceiling fan? Can you edit your question to make it more clear what your specific problem is? Include pictures or diagrams of any electrical boxes, too.
    – mmathis
    Nov 21, 2016 at 22:29
  • 1
    If your "beep beep tester" is a non-contact tester then I'd guess you're probably missing a neutral somewhere. If you have a multimeter, measure hot-neutral & hot-ground and you should see roughly the same reading (110V - 120V) and neutral-ground should measure close to 0V.
    – brhans
    Nov 21, 2016 at 22:33
  • Can you post photos of the insides of the problematic boxes? Nov 22, 2016 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


The problem you are describing is known as an open-neutral. Essentially, all of the black wires are connected properly, but one of the white wires is not.

You will likely have to go back through all of the light/plug/switch boxes that are on that circuit until you find a loose white wire. You may have to double check that the connections are secure by removing the wire nut.

Be sure to turn off the circuit breaker before opening any neutral connections, opening these connections with the power on can be very dangerous!

  • If back stabs are used they are notorious for bad connections, I agree with the neutral being a possibility. A non contact meter can give a false positive when the dead wire is run parallel to a live circuit.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 22, 2016 at 0:18
  • well, i replaced the light switches keeping the same wiring set up that was there, and put the old GFI back in. the GFI still sais the ground wire and the Hot wire are switched. i gave up turned all the switches off and went off installing, painting doors and doing wall repairs throughout the apartment, about 5 hours later i went to turn on the switch just out of curiousity... low and behold all the lights now work in bathroom, the overhead fan, works in kitchen, and everything is fine. the GFI reads normal and somehow it fixed itself all by itself. what i tried didnt work earlier that day.
    – britnee
    Nov 23, 2016 at 3:33
  • i have an electrician comming wednesday to check everything for liability reasons being i am maintence at an apartment complex and i am not liscened and bonded but i understand the basics but this one stumped me.
    – britnee
    Nov 23, 2016 at 3:35

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