Yesterday morning I woke up and had 4 outlets and 2 switches not working. I tested the outlets and have 0 ACV. The breaker shows 120 ACV. Took all the outlets apart and noticed one had over heated on the hot wires so I replaced that outlet. The rest are still good. Reset the breaker and still nothing. I am out of ideas


2 Answers 2


You've already started in the right direction by testing the outlets and the breaker. You have verified that there is power, you just need to continue to isolate the problem. There are two common things that might be wrong. First test the outlets not working if you haven't already hot to neutral and hot to ground. You may have a loose neutral also.

Next you need to find the other outlets and junction boxes on that same circuit. You can do this by turning off the breaker and finding all of the outlets not working under this scenario. Try and mentally visualize the outlet closest to the outlets not working. You are looking for a loose, burnt or broken connection in the boxes prior to the outage. See picture for clarification. enter image description here

Do you see what I am trying to get at? If you do find the problem and while you have the boxes open you might as well go ahead and pigtail the outlets. That way you only have one outlet stop working and that will make it easier to locate. See picture. enter image description here

Good Luck.

  • Same idea as my answer - but with pictures :-) Jun 22, 2018 at 21:44
  • It's usually the last working or first non working outlet on that circuit , almost always because of back stabs being used or +96% of the time I have been called for this same issue.
    – Ed Beal
    May 2, 2019 at 14:33

Check all the outlets again. If any have backstab connections instead of using the screw terminals, move the wires to the screw terminals. If a backstab (or any other connection, but notoriously backstabs) is marginal then it can result in arcing and overheating. But if it is just slightly more out then it will simply not work at all and all the downstream outlets won't work either.

After ruling out backstabs and obvious flaky connections, the next step is to figure out if there is another outlet "somewhere". That may sound crazy, but I have one circuit that runs, literally, all over 2 levels of my house.

  • They are all attached to the screw terminals
    – Tyler
    Jun 22, 2018 at 20:16
  • 1
    If you know the wire paths and see 120V on the wire leaving to the next outlet but not arriving at the next, it's a problem. But more likely it's not leaving to the next. Test with DMM and breaker on if possible making sure screws dont come near the grounded outlet box. ALso make sure dual screws have a bridge clip between them. Jun 22, 2018 at 23:51
  • 1
    Check the working outlet or if there is a junction box just prior to the non working outlet. This location if an outlet may be working but the load side or feed to the next location may have failed I find this location to be the problem quite often.
    – Ed Beal
    Sep 7, 2018 at 13:11

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.