Doing a remodel and moved an outlet a couple studs over. Well once i hooked it back up....nothing. Plugged in a circuit tester and it's not reading anything, multimeter's got nothing either. Checked everywhere for a GFCI on that circuit. Also double triple triple double checked the breakers. I have a total of 14 outlets in my Living room and master that are dead. I think there are 2 separate breakers that control them. Where to go from here....

I may be imagining this, but it seems like the breaker switches to the said outlets are a little weaker then the others, as in, they turn "off" easier....

It was a pretty violent rewiring to say the least. I went through 1 of those blue receptacle boxes from the force used trying to manipulate the 14 gauge wires around and about 3 different holes. think i may have knocked something loose. What would an electrician do to start troubleshooting this?

Thanks Friends.

  • 1
    (I'm not an electrician) Question: The outlet that you moved, how many cables run into it? What do you mean "3 different holes"? (i.e. are there three different cables running in, or are there three empty holes in the outlet box?)
    – Jamin Grey
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 2:48
  • Suggestion A: Turn off the suspected circuit breaker(s). Confirm with a voltmeter that power is dead to your "problem outlet" and each other outlet that you think are dead. After unwiring and removing your problem outlet, wire the box into one end of a long extension cord. Bringing the other end to each "dead" outlet, check for continuity (using your voltmeter) between the dead outlet and your problem box. This will at least confirm what outlets are on the same circuit. (triple-check the dead outlets are dead, before checking for continuity, or you'll break your voltmeter)
    – Jamin Grey
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 2:55
  • Suggestion B: Kill relevant circuit breakers, unwire the problem outlet from your problem box, cap off the ends of the wires (so nothing is connected), turn on circuit breakers and see if the dead boxes are still dead. Question B: How old is the house in general?
    – Jamin Grey
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 2:58
  • There's usually very little slack in house wiring. How did you move the outlet over -- did you run new wires? How is the outlet wired up? Are there two separate cables coming into the outlet box? Do you know which outlet the power from the panel goes to first? Why do you "think" there are two breakers -- surely you know which one you had to turn off before you did any work?
    – gregmac
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 4:43
  • 1
    @JaminGrey This is probably too much text for comments, and really should be submitted as an answer. Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 11:10

3 Answers 3


I may be imagining this, but it seems like the breaker switches to the said outlets are a little weaker then the others, as in, they turn "off" easier....

An easy to move handle is the classic sign of a tripped breaker.

I think you have one of three problems:

  1. You wired two circuits together. When you turn on the breaker for both circuits, you trip the breaker for both circuits.

  2. You have a dead short in the circuits somewhere. This could be a bad outlet (not likely) or a mis-wired outlet (likely) or a damaged wire somewhere (likely). To troubleshoot this, find the first device (outlet, switch, light, etc.) in the chain and disconnect everything downstream. Turn the breaker on. If it stays on, you know the problem is downstream somewhere. Now keep connecting/disconnecting devices until you find the wire or device causing the problem.

  3. You might also have a bad breaker. Take the cover off the breaker panel, and turn off that breaker. Measure the voltage with your multimeter between the screw on the breaker and the bus bar that all of the white neutral wires are connected to. With the breaker off, it should be 0. If so, loosen the screw on the breaker that clamps the wire. Pull the wire out and put a wirenut on the wire. Now turn the breaker on and measure the voltage again. If you get 0, then the breaker is bad. If you get 120, then the problem is elsewhere.

  • in regard to finding first device in chain. Is this just closest proximity to breaker box? Or is there another way to find it? Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 18:07
  • There is no easy way to know which is the first device, but it doesn't really matter. It just makes the process faster.
    – longneck
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 18:18

You may have a hot feed (one wire) that splits and goes to a light to feed it (the other wire) You may need to or overlooked adding another wire to resupply the other boxes that you moved the other boxes away from. Is the ceiling light still working?

This will take some confirmation that only you, who rewired it or a pro who knows how to track the problem down.

Do not just add a jumper from the working box to the first dead one, unless you know that is the problem for sure. You will not like it if the circuit gets back fed.

  • I did do some light rewiring, but all the lights work, and they were on different breakers to begin with. That was my initial fear, because the ceiling sheetrock has all been patched up. Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 18:05

Two circuits failed at once? Could be a multi-wire branch circuit with an open neutral. Have any double (2-pole) breakers tripped or acting wonky?

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