I have a room with 5 duplex outlets (including 1 GFCI) and 2 single pole switches on a 20 amp circuit.

One outlet isn't working and measures 0V from hot-neutral, 1V from hot to ground and 1V from neutral to ground (and measures the same voltages when directly touching the wires, rather than just inserting into the receptacle).

The other 4 (including the GFCI) measure the expected ~120V from hot-neutral and ~0V from neutral-ground, but only ~11V from hot-ground (which I take to mean these are not grounded properly?).

Both single pole switches are working just fine, but I did not bother taking voltage readings (though I certainly can if this would help diagnoses).

I have no idea what steps to take in order to address the 0V from hot-neutral outlet -- does anyone have a suggestion?

  • Where in the circuit is the non-working outlet? Jul 31, 2018 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


First, the non-working outlet is likely connected to a wall switch or a junction box, which may have been disconnected or even removed and covered over. Trace the wiring, either with an AC circuit tracer or metal/stud finder to find the junction box.

Second, how are you measuring the voltage hot-ground? A high-impedance multimeter may be picking up AC capacitively coupled from a parallel line, and the ground could be floating. An outlet tester might be better. That said, if the ground is floating, perhaps due to poor connection (or no connection) in a junction box, that is a serious safety issue; trace it as above and fix it.

  • 1
    I usually find that back stabs were used and the stab portion has failed, in your case with no voltage double check hot to ground still no voltage it is the hot wire connection at this outlet or the one prior that is working if this is a common wall there may be outlets on the other side in a chain outlets regularly swap sides in this case to save wire and the failure point may be in the next room.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 31, 2018 at 17:22

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