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We have a house built in 1995; I'm told it was built by a house builder as his own house.

All the bathroom outlets in the house aren't working.

Some are GFCI outlets and some are not. The presence of non-GFCI outlets suggests to me that there must be another GFCI somewhere although the breaker box doesn't have any other GFCI breakers.

I checked the output side of every circuit breaker in the house and all are working.

All the outside outlets are working too.

At each outlet, I confirmed no voltage from line-to-ground and neutral-to-ground.

I have found that they're all connected together since I used an extension cord and confirmed a connection Line-to-Line and Neutral-to-Neutral between bathrooms at opposite ends of the house.

All this suggests to me that they are all controlled by a single GFCI; perhaps a GFCI breaker.

All the outlets having the GFCI feature are not tripped and also not receiving power.

Unfortunately:

  • the house isn't empty
  • the plans stored at the city don't include any wiring information
  • there is no known property inspection document which may have described a possibly now-hidden breaker box.
  • Garage has shelving throughout.
  • Basement has a renter.

Any guesses where to look or what special thing I should look for? I have a background in electronics but so far, I haven't found what I need!

Thank you for any clues you can provide!

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    Was the rentable-basement subdivision done by the builder? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 3 '19 at 19:54
  • Can you figure out which outlets are attached to the bathroom GFCI's LOAD terminals? – ThreePhaseEel Nov 3 '19 at 20:19
  • I predict that you'll find the tripped gfci in the garage, in the least convenient spot. – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 3 '19 at 23:25
  • Built in 95 the bath should be on 1 circuit it could feed a 2ns bath, a single GFCI outlet may have tripled or failed finding that outlet is probably the source of the outage. – Ed Beal Nov 4 '19 at 3:39
  • Thank you all for your comments! I think the basement rental may have been planned by the builder. I had found that no bathroom outlet boxes contained any power coming to the outlet. I checked all the bathrooms in the house. @Bryce was onto something; I'm going to use one of those wire tracers. Will let you know what I found! – X-Ray Nov 4 '19 at 20:42
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Perhaps you can rent, or borrow at a tool library, a proper de-energized circuit tracer. Unfortunately the inexpensive "circuit breaker finders" only work on energized circuits, though you could use one of those in a process of elimination, and to build up a circuit map.

The Ideal Suretrace is the market leader in this category, a basic kit seems to run about $1000. With that kit you can follow all the wires through walls and even under slabs.


You do know you only need one GFCI per room, right? Only the most upstream outlet should have the GFCI, the rest get stickers indicating they are also protected.

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    With the breaker turned off a toner and pickup could be used under 100$ Normally used on data circuits but handy on non energized circuits. Commercial through wall tracers are ~700 for pro models and can be found for less. – Ed Beal Nov 4 '19 at 3:43
  • Thanks guys, I had assumed something like that would exist but expected it would have been more expensive. This is quite doable. I'll let you know what I found! – X-Ray Nov 4 '19 at 20:43

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