One room of my home has no electricity. There are no GFCI outlets in the "chain" of things, and the breaker for this room is not flipped.

I have tried to flip the breaker, then turn it back on and nothing. What other things would I need to check to determine why there is no power in this room?

A Ubiquiti Access point was added to the room for better wifi coverage, but that is the only 'change' in the past 8 months that has taken place in that room. All outlet wiring runs behind the wall,

I have this Klein Tester - should i pull out the outlet and check for 'hot' wires? I have checked all outlets with this Klein Outlet Tester and no lights turn on.

As suggested in one of the answers, I checked the last outlet on the chain (I checked the last two as I wasn't 100% sure which one was last) and visibly didn't see anything that looked awry. I checked the first outlet on the chain and this one is using a backstab. It has 3 wires, 2 connected to the screws on the side and one connected to the backstab for both the black and white wires.

What is still throwing me is even if I use the non contact tester and check the wires connecting to this receptacle, none of the wires are still showing up as hot. And I am 99% certain this is the first receptacle in the chain. Should I test the breaker in the box to see if that is the culprit? (if yes, will the voltometer I have work for that)

After using the pen tester to test the breaker it is lighting up red, (all the fuses were lighting up red) which would mean that the breaker has power and the issue is downstream, correct? (like stated in comments maybe a junction box that is either a in the crawlspace or somewhere in the walls...how the world do I trace that?)

Pen Tester At Breaker

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    Anything "happen" recently? Any changes? Any unusual loads (like space heaters) used recently? 2 things come immediately to mind: 1) The infamous back-stab outlets. One of them may have failed. 2) Rodent damage. A mouse chewed thru a cable someplace, you'd be surprised how often that happens! A non-contact voltage tester can safely help you determine where there is power. To do more diagnostics you'll need a digital multimeter. Mar 26, 2020 at 17:56
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    Did it stop working after the use of a hair dryer or a electric plug in heater? Any nails put in walls to hang pictures lately?
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 26, 2020 at 18:12
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    see my edits... Mar 26, 2020 at 18:17
  • One thing I'd try: after you decide that the breaker is, in fact, working, turn every other breaker off and see if you can find any hot outlets in the house. You might find one or two that would suggest how the chain of outlets might go. Mar 26, 2020 at 19:12
  • I thought we settled that in a previous post. You def. need to check to see if the breaker is even working properly. Mar 26, 2020 at 20:59

3 Answers 3


The pen looking tester should light up on the smaller hole (if the ground is down it will be on the right, the outlet tester won’t work if the hot is open someplace).

The pen is called a non contact tester (it sometimes gives false positives). What I usually find is the circuit was overloaded or heavily loaded and a back-stab connection failed (as in, 90% chance that's it), after that, it could be that a wire nut is loose, a broken wire, or a bad wire in the panel.

I start by working my way back to the breaker panel, identifying all the dead receptacles. If I find one that seems to be on that circuit that is working, I turn off the breaker; if it turns off you will be close.

A failure in a daisy chain is always at the last working or first non-working device. Remember that a receptacle could be on the other side of the wall, yet on the same circuit.

Identify the last working receptacle or switch, pull that out, and look for a loose wire or burned insulation as a bad connection may damage the insulation or burn the wire off on either the hot or the neutral. If you don’t see anything, put the last working one back in and turn the breaker back on. If everything starts working and back stabs were used, the failure will happen again; use the screw terminals or replace the receptacle.

If it is still dead, turn the breaker off and check the first non working receptacle as it will be in one of these 2 places +98% of the time. Broken wires from nails are rare but possible or a loose pigtail in those locations can also happen, but bad backstabs are so common that you will find this advice hundreds of times on this site.

  • Will the pen tester still show hot if nothing has power in the room? I don't believe any of the outlets are back stabbed. Every one that I have looked at, and/or replaced has been wired to the screw. The crazy part to me is that what is covered on this breaker is this room, which is far right end of the house, then three receptacles in a diff room that are far left end of the house. Which leaves Lots of wires through the wall/crawlspace to track down. Mar 26, 2020 at 19:07
  • This may be a clue, do you have power in one room and not the other? Your OP said only one room didn't have power. Also, recently here a post had a similar problem and an outdoor outlet that was GFCI protected had tripped, but it was "up stream" from other indoor outlets, which caused them to loose power when the outdoor GFCI tripped. (lousy wiring plan, but that's just MHO) Mar 26, 2020 at 20:09
  • I've dealt with this crazy wiring for the 6 years I've lived here. It makes no sense to me, but the one room plus 2 outlets in a diff room are all on one breaker. I do have a GFCI outlet outside, but i've pressed the reset button multiple times just to check and it does nothing. I am not 100% certain which breaker this one is tied to. See my edit to my OP Mar 26, 2020 at 20:14
  • If the neutral is open the pen tester will show hot, the plug in tester should show open neutral if your system is grounded and the hot is good. Remember that a no contact tester can have a false positive this is called phantom voltage and happens when a live conductor is run in close proximity to a dead one the live circuit inductively couples to the dead one there is voltage but no current , but the voltage is enough to fool non contact testers and high impedance volt meters.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 26, 2020 at 20:17
  • @EdBeal - well neither tester is showing any sign of life on any outlet... Mar 26, 2020 at 21:50

Well you have checked the circuit breaker's tripped status and reset it and somehow verified that there is no GFCI in the circuit.

There are multiple places left where failures may be present:

1) Check that the wires for the circuit are firmly connected to the output of the circuit breaker and that the breaker is properly inserted into the panel.

2) Check that the circuit breaker itself has not become damaged or defective and also that it is making contact with the bars in the panel.

3) Check that the wires from the breaker are supplying power to the first outlet the wire goes to and that it's firmly and correctly connected there.

4) Trace the connections from there until you find the fault.

I think you are making assumptions that as long as the breaker is in the ON position that all is well with your system and that is simply not the case.

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    I am making that assumption. Good catch there. How do I find out what the first outlet in the chain is? How do I trace the connection? I assume the wiring goes from the main box to the crawl space then up to the room to provide power, right? Mar 26, 2020 at 18:19
  • That may be or perhaps they go up through the attic. You still don't know if there is even power coming out of the panel. Why don't you start there?
    – jwh20
    Mar 26, 2020 at 18:23
  • Def starting with the panel, just trying to get a few things to check on. I think it goes through the crawl space, and reason being, I have a 2 story home, and when I was running Cat6 through the crawlspace 3 years ago there was electrical wiring in the crawlspace. And I also have electrical wiring in the attic in my mind crawlspace = floor 1 attick = floor 2 Mar 26, 2020 at 18:27

Shut the main breaker off... Remove the panel cover on the breaker box and look at the breaker make sure the wires are secured to the breaker follor the wire to you find it ground and neutral make sure they are secure to the appropriate bar. Replace cover then power the main back on. If there still is no power then you may have completly severed the hot wire in the wall. If this is the problem you will have to re feed new wire or locate where the break is and repair it

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