I have a circuit that went dead a couple of weeks ago in a home that is 24 years old. I have identified five outlets on the circuit, all are dead. One of the outlets is outside on a front porch with the proper weather-proofing cover. Three outlets are in the garage and the fifth outlet is inside the home in a bathroom. Using a small plug in outlet tester, it showed an open "hot". What seems odd to me is that I am unable to locate any GFIC on this circuit and I thought that was required for both garage and bathroom outlets. In the garage, I have a working outlet about three feet from one of the dead outlets. I backfed the hot from that working outlet to the dead outlet and all outlets were live and showed correct wiring. I removed the backfeed and removed the breaker box panel. By the way, no breakers where tripped. However, to be sure I reset all of "outlet" breakers. The individual circuits were never identified in the main panel. Next, using a digital meter, I tested the hot terminal on each breaker. All showed 124 volts. So, it appears that the breaker is not the issue. I'm not sure where to go from here and would appreciate any advice. At this point, it looks like I have a break in the wire between the first outlet, which I believe is the bathroom outlet, and the breaker. I know this would be unusual, but I'm not sure what else it would be. Thanks in advance.

  • 2
    Have you opened up the first outlet and examined the wiring & connections? Jan 26, 2017 at 12:33

1 Answer 1


With Daisy chained outlets not working it is usually the first non working outlet or the last working outlet on that circuit that has the bad connection. This problem is usually caused by the back stab terminals failing or a broken wire. The circuit needs to be identified and turned off for safety. Remove the working outlet from the box on this one you are looking for a loose, broken wire that feeds the other outlets. With back stabs sometimes pulling the outlet will temporally re connect the bad connection if this happens the outlet needs to be replaced. If the last working outlet is not the problem go to the first non working outlet looking for the same issue but on the feed to the outlet. if a wire pulls out of the stab that outlet really needs to be replaced, If the wire is broken strip the wire and repair the connection. This method has solved almost all the failed outlets similar to yours I have been called for.

  • 2
    Well. I was able to locate the issue and it's a first for me. I was remodeling my master bath and had to remove an outlet in order to remove a large wall mirror. When I did that, the old receptacle (24 years old) looked a bit discolored, so I replaced it. I tested power in the bottom half and all was good and I moved on. What I did not notice is that on this new outlet from Lowes, which I just pulled out of one of their bins, the side jumper between the top and bottom halves had been snapped out. So there was my break. I replaced that outlet and now all outlets are hot. Thanks!
    – Greg S
    Jan 26, 2017 at 17:14
  • @GregS I recommend buying the contractor pack. That way you always have a spare on-hand when needed, and they are less likely to have been messed with. Those bins of parts at Big Blue and Big Orange tend to be a mish-mash of random stuff that people pick up and put back in the wrong place, possibly after screwing around with it (e.g. cutting that tab, or removing part of the item)
    – user4302
    Jan 26, 2017 at 20:39
  • Good advice and I did exactly that.
    – Greg S
    Jan 28, 2017 at 5:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.