To preface my question: I’m not too familiar with electrical and am planning to most likely have an electrician come take a look at my house.

My upstairs bedroom and guest bedroom are both running on the same circuit on my breaker. All outlets and lights work fine in my guest room. Lights in my bedroom work fine. There are 5 outlets in my bedroom and the one I would say is “first” or closest to the door is the only one that works.

They other four stopped working and I have no idea why. I attempted my best efforts to kill the main breaker and I took each outlet apart and examined the wiring(after making sure they weren’t hot of course) and I couldn’t find anything in particular to be wrong. I have no outlets that are turned on via a switch either so I couldn’t find any issues there. I haven’t checked the guest bedroom yet.

Anyone have any suggestions of where I could possibly take a look?

  • 2
    Check for tripped GFCI’s anywhere in your house particularly nearby bathrooms. It’s possible someone wired the GFCI up to protect everything beyond on the circuit. It’s hard to guess circuit order usually. “First” and so on is not about room layout, it’s about shortest wire length when the place was built and the walls were open—it’s very often does not seem logical after the fact.
    – Tyson
    Jun 10, 2018 at 12:55
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    Do they use "backstab" connections, where the wire is jabbed into a hole in the back and the screws are disregarded? Those are legendary for failing "silent but deadly". You could have been staring right at the bad one. Also, pulling the wire out and putting it back in will exhaust the spring and it won't make good contact after that. Not that it ever made good contact. Jun 10, 2018 at 13:46
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    When you took each outlet apart and examined the wiring, did you include the one you would say is “first” or closest to the door? Outlets are often connected in a chain, and when some work and some don't, the failure will be found in either the first outlet on the chain that doesn't work, or the last outlet that does work. Jun 10, 2018 at 14:51

2 Answers 2


Typical method of connecting outlets on the same circuit in a chain:

Daisy-chain SWBC

This is the main reason outlets are made with four terminals instead of two. (I bet you thought it was so the outlet could be split between two circuits by removing the tabs.)

Suppose you find that outlets 3 and 4 have stopped working, while 1 and 2 still have power. The failure is almost certainly at one of the terminals A, B, C, or D -- in other words, at the last live outlet in the chain or at the first dead one.

This is a very common failure in home wiring when the builder has used the backstab terminals on the outlets instead of the screw terminals. The only excuse for ever using the backstab terminals is that your cheapass boss will fire you if you take the time to wire it right.

Many professional electricians recommend wiring outlets like this:

Pigtailed SWBC

Those hookup wires from the terminal screws to the wire nuts are called "pigtails". They should be about 6" long.

Wire nuts are certainly more reliable than backstabs. There is some disagreement over whether wire nuts are more reliable than screw terminals. The pigtails may be a bit of overkill but they allow removal of a problematic outlet without affecting the rest of the circuit.


Sorry for the super late update and thanks all for the solutions and information I super appreciate it. The house I purchased was built by the owner completely, and a lot of his electrical isn't "up to code" as you might say.

The dude wired two separate light switches in the master bedroom to control the bedroom light so you could flip it on/off from two different walls. He used a 3 way switch for this instead of a two way switch, and he didn't pass the neutral from the first light to the next. So all of the following outlets + light switch literally didn't have a neutral being passed to it.

He ended up cutting a neutral and killing the secondary light switch and passed the neutral via a wire nut and everything was working again. So nothing logical, the dude who wired the house was just a turd.

  • 1
    Glad you got it resolved. Please mark your answer to accept it. This resolves the question so it doesn't keep bubbling to the top. Take the tour if this is unfamiliar.
    – isherwood
    Jul 20, 2018 at 19:48

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