One entire circuit in my house was not working. All the lights and outlets connected to that circuit were off.

Step 1: Check circuit breaker. Circuit breaker was not tripped. Voltage on breaker measured to steady 124v. I tried turning off and on the circuit breaker but the lights still didn't work.

Step 2: I started unplugging everything from the outlets in the room. When I was unplugging a power strip that was plugged in, when I had it half way out, all the lights came back on.

Oddly enough, when the plug is properly inserted, lights don't come on. When it's removed, lights don't come on. Only when it's oddly plugged in at a slant, the lights come on.

I am going to open up that outlet tomorrow. I am suspecting the neutral wire is loosened. Any other thoughts what it may be?

2 Answers 2


I suspect the receptacle is the problem. Either one of the screws are loose or it is the old stab-in back wired receptacle which were notorious for problems. The new stab-in's are much improved. Either way I say replace the receptacle. They need to be changed periodically any way.

  • Yup, you were right. I removed the receptacle and part of the wire's plastic was burned onto the receptacle. I replaced it and now no issues.
    – Sunny
    Nov 1, 2017 at 15:05
  • All is well that ends well. Now don't plug in portable space heaters any more.
    – Paul Logan
    Nov 2, 2017 at 4:53

I had an actual outlet that basically melted behind the plate so the damage wasn’t visible and I lost all power on that circuit. I was all set to swap the breaker when I decided to look at the first outlet in the line. Swapped out a part for a dollar and it all came back on.

No storm, no weird power surges.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer! Replacing the outlet was the solution!
    – Sunny
    Nov 1, 2017 at 15:06

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