I have 2 bedrooms with all electrical outlets connected to the same circuit. I started getting intermittent interruptions in all of the sockets in the bedroom farthest from the main breaker box. This went on a couple of months and then all the outlets stopped working. Additionally, all of the outlets in the bedroom closest to the main breaker stopped working.

Please note: The house was rebuilt from the ground up in 2004, so all wiring, circuit breakers, and main panel are new (14 years old).

I tested all of the outlets with a pen tester - all showed power. A friend who is an electrician tested the outlets and found them all to have power. He couldn't figure out the issue.

I then checked all the connections to each outlet to make sure there were no loose or scorched connections. All were fine. I then replaced the circuit breaker itself in the main panel. I then found that all the outlets in the room closest to the main panel worked, but all the outlets in the bedroom furthest from the main panel still did not work.

I then tested each outlet in both bedrooms with a Micronta 3 prong tester. All the outlets in the bedroom closest to the main panel showed correct connections and worked fine. All of the outlets in the bedroom furthest from the main panel all showed "open hot" with non of the lights lighting up.

Does anyone have any ideas?

  • 1
    Do the electrical connections to the outlets use backstabs or do they use the side screws or screw-to-clamp? Jan 3, 2019 at 22:04
  • 1
    Sure sounds like bad back stabs, especially if the worked for a while after checking for burnt wires, the stab made a connection again but failed with some additional use. Plug in a load like a light or hair dryer, if the light won't work use your 3 prong tester it probably won't light up if there is a load on the circuit, work from the service panel, it is usually the last good outlet or the first bad one where the failure is hapening, some times tough to tell when there are outlets on both sides of a wall but leave the load on, with no load there may be enough of a connection for the tester
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 3, 2019 at 22:30
  • Thanks very much for your input. I will explore the surggestion
    – Kent Moody
    Jan 6, 2019 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


It appears from your most recent fault status report that you have an open or intermittent hot lead somewhere from the last outlet in the close bedroom to the first outlet in the far bedroom. Here are some possibilities to check:

  1. If any of the the electrical outlets in question are using poke-in-and-leave-it type wire connections then rewire those connections to use the side screws with the wire under the screw head. Some types of outlets also have a screw tightened clamp on the side that the wire will feed straight into from the back.
  2. Contemplate of any remodeling in this area of the building has been done recently. A nail or a screw inserted in just the wrong place could have severed the hot lead in power feed cable in the wall or passing through a stud.
  3. Consider temporarily disconnecting the wiring between the last working outlet and first on working outlet. Then run some temporary wire between those locations as a debug to see of a new wire works.
  4. There is always a chance that part of the faulty wiring run can be traced and inspected. It may even route up into an attic or unto the crawl space where through the wall stud routing is blocked due to doorways. Wires in these areas may be more susceptible to damage due to human activity, pest access to wires or poor routing of a cable over a sharp metal edge.
  • Many thanks Michael. None of the outlets are poke-in, all are side screw mounts. All remodeling was done at one time (2003-2004) from the ground (all new construction). I will try the suggestion in #3 and then consider #4 (though I think this one is unlikely. Again, thank you for your time and suggestions.
    – Kent Moody
    Jan 6, 2019 at 22:09

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