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There is one double three-prong outlet in one of our bathrooms. All of a sudden it stopped working. The bathroom also has four light switches. They all work. I switched the breaker to off, removed the dead outlet's receptacle, placed multimeter probes red to white wire and black probe to black wire. The reading fluctuates between .110 and .112. I know the multimeter works because I tested other outlets and get readings of 120.1 or 121. What could the problem with that outlet be?

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    If you turned off the breaker, the wires should be dead. Did you turn the breaker back on? – Yehuda_NYC May 31 '18 at 19:29
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    Voltmeter probes will often read low voltage like yours (0.10V or so) when connected to dead wires. As Yehuda_NYC suggested, turn the breaker on and be sure to be reading AC volts. – mike65535 May 31 '18 at 20:36
  • I did turn the circuit breaker back on. – Liv Bare Jun 1 '18 at 15:51
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Search for outlets that aren't working elsewhere in the house. Start with the bathrooms. You probably have a bunch of daisy-chained outlets on one circuit. The simplest "fix" will be if one of those outlets include GFCI protection that has tripped - reset and then all the other outlets will start working again. If that is not the case then you have to check each outlet in the chain for a loose or broken connection.

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    Bear in mind that if there is a break in the chain it will often be on the last outlet that works as intended. – Stanwood May 31 '18 at 19:48
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Solved! Thank you, manassehkatz, and all. The outlet in the other guest bath is gfi and was tripped (or whatever it's called). Pushed in the tab (or whatever that's called) and went back to the problem outlet with the meter and it's showing 120.xx volts ac. Yay! Thank you.
Btw, the house wiring diagram is marked GFI for the problem outlet; it isn't. Will replace it with a GFI outlet. Thanks again. And btw, the two bathrooms are not on the same circuit breaker.

  • You're welcome. Generally if the answer provided by someone else solves your problem you mark their answer as Accepted and Upvote it. You enter your own answer if you figure out a different solution. Take the Tour for more site details. – manassehkatz-Reinstate Monica Jun 1 '18 at 16:42
  • You only need one GFCI protection device per circuit. That can be a circuit breaker in the main panel or (as in your case and in my house and most older houses) as part of a receptacle. If resetting one GFCI causes another outlet to work again then they are, by definition, on the same circuit. It could be they were wired differently but the diagram was never updated, or it could be the notation GFI was to let you know that it was GFI protected because it would not be obvious looking at the outlet itself. Do NOT double-up GFCI - as you found out, one takes care of 2 outlets just fine. – manassehkatz-Reinstate Monica Jun 1 '18 at 16:46
  • Thanks, so how would I thank you. Should I move my post from Answer to Comment? – Liv Bare Jun 1 '18 at 16:56
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    Thanks for that advice too. So I'll just reinstall the original outlet. This is an amazing learning experience. Also. this house was built in 2003. Is it considered old? – Liv Bare Jun 1 '18 at 16:59
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    This should've been a comment but we're past that now. Leave it as is. Feedback is rare, and always useful. IMO, I'd rather read the answer which worked first, especially if yours starts off by mentioning it, and the green check mark will keep theirs at the top. – Mazura Jun 1 '18 at 17:38

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