I have removed a duplex receptacle and now, my other receptacles don't work. After removal, I capped each wire separately and that was all! Why did removing one outlet cause others to stop working? Thanks

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    Seems likely that your other receptacles were wired in series with the one you removed, so they lost connectivity. A picture of the wiring in the box would be helpful to confirm that. – Robert Nubel Oct 23 '17 at 18:29
  • Thanks. I guessed so. Therefore, I believe I should twist the two hot ones together, the two neutral ones together and marette each pair .... right? – Pedram Oct 23 '17 at 18:38
  • If there were 2 neutrals and 2 hots, that would be a likely "fix". – JPhi1618 Oct 23 '17 at 18:49
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    When that's done, get yourself a basic house wiring book. If it's not obvious why that happened you might be outside your skillset and potentially endangering the occupants of your home. – isherwood Oct 23 '17 at 19:23
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    We're talking about basic electrical continuity here, not wiring techniques or hardware idiosyncrasies. If the wires ain't connected, the juice ain't flowin'. – isherwood Oct 23 '17 at 21:21

Duplex outlets are usually installed in a daisy chained string. chained outlets

If you want to remove one without affecting the others, you should observe carefully what wires are attached to where before disconnecting.

Make sure the breakaway tab has NOT been broken away as that would indicate a special situation: breakaway tab

Then use a wire nut to join the black wires that were under the brass screws or in their corresponding stab-lock holes.

Then use a wire nut to join the white wires that were under the silver screws or in their corresponding stab-lock holes.

That should restore service to the downstream outlets.

Alternately you might consider a solution OTHER than removing the outlet. You can obtain 'recessed' outlets from most home supply stores, if the outlet you removed is in the way.

Remember, it's not legal to drywall patch over and fill in an outlet box. So if you remove the outlet you will have to put a cover plate on that will stick out just as much. Flush outlets will probably have less of a bump to them.

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    We really shouldn't be using the word "series" here. It can lead to misunderstandings and dangerous low voltage scenarios. – isherwood Oct 23 '17 at 19:23
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    @BillyC. : From do-it-yourself-help.com/wiring_multiple_receptacles.html : "It's common to describe receptacles that are wired together using the device terminals as wired in series. But, in fact, household wall receptacles are always wired in parallel. For a circuit to be wired in series, current must pass through a load at each outlet. The load is needed to pass current on to the next outlet in the circuit. A series circuit will drop some voltage at each load until it dwindles to an insufficient voltage a some point down the line." – Joe Oct 24 '17 at 1:45
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    I have no idea what electricians officially call this type of wiring, but in electronics, it's considered 'parallel'. If it were a switched outlet, the switch and outlet would be in series (as the electrons would flow through both items). But to the general public, a 'series' is just a collection of ordered objects, which the group of outlets are. – Joe Oct 24 '17 at 1:50
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    @Billy C.: I always use the term "daisy chain" for devices wired from one to the next like that. You could also say "chained" and usually be understood. - "The outlets are wired in a parallel chain." – A. I. Breveleri Oct 24 '17 at 2:17
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    Updated........ – Billy C. Oct 24 '17 at 2:21

Because you were using a combo receptacle + splice block

If it had only been a receptacle, it would only need one hot wire and one neutral wire. An example of such a creature is a GFCI.

However, there was more than one of each, wasn't there? It also provided a splicing block to connect other wires which served other loads.

I get where this is not "intuitive", but this is a common shortcut used on receptacles. The two screws/stabs need to be there for other reasons sometimes, so they did a design trick of design that lets you use them as a splice block the rest of the time.

A more logical way to wire a receptacle would be to attach hot, neutral and ground pigtails to the receptacle, and then splice (wire-nut) those pigtails to the other wires. Using the wire-nut as the junction block instead of the receptacle. I do exactly that, often, when the junction box is in an awkward location. Much easier to gather 3 wires and nut them (3x) than attach 5 wires to screws.

One more thing. There are a few places where using a receptacle as a junction block is bad. That is in cases where the circuit must remain intact even if the receptacle/device is removed -- notice how the grounding wire is already a pigtail, that is one example. Another is the neutral wire in a multi-wire branch circuit, where another circuit is depending on that neutral. In those cases, neutrals (and always grounds) must be pigtailed. If you pigtailed everything, that wouldn't be wrong... the receptacle-as-junction-block is only a convenience.

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