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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3349
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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One of the rooms in my house lost power, the circuit breaker

Customer Question

Hi Jason. I am Sanjay. One of the rooms in my house lost power, the circuit breaker did not trip. I have "reset" all the circuit breakers, removed everything connected to the outlets and removed all bulbs... still no luck any suggestions?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: I really do not have more details... Sorry, what kind of info do you need?
JA: OK got it. Last thing — Electricians generally expect a deposit of about $18 to help with your type of question (you only pay if satisfied). Now I'm going to take you to a page to place a secure deposit with JustAnswer. Don't worry, this chat is saved. After that, we will finish helping you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Problems such as this are usually caused by either a loose wire or if the circuit contains a GFCI device that has tripped. Are there any GFCI receptacles on this circuit which may have tripped?

2) What room of the home has lost the power?

3) Do you have a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or better yet, an AC voltmeter available to take a few voltage measurements at the dead receptacles?

4) You can also try the following Wiggle Procedure. Sometimes this works and at other times it may not work, but worth a shot at trying.

Wiggle Procedure:

You have a circuit with dead outlets and maybe some dead lights on it or you’re experiencing flickering on a circuit. You will need a 2 wire voltage tester to check the outlet. A Multimeter or a Volt/Con are suggested. I prefer the Volt/Con because there are no settings to make, it does continuity and is audible. Success begins with knowing what you’re looking for.

1] No voltage reading between the hot and the neutral or ground indicates an open hot.

2] No reading between the hot and the neutral but 120V between the hot and ground and 120V between the neutral and ground indicates an open neutral.

3] No continuity between the neutral and ground – Check for tripped GFCI device first

4] If all the branch circuit breaker are on you have a bad connection on the hot or neutral wires. The usual cause is a bad connection, either a termination on a device or connection in a wire nut. Over the years I’ve found the easiest way to locate the opening needing examination and correction is to wiggle the devices.

5] The first step in this exercise is to get a lamp to act as an alert. Make sure the lamp works and in the on position. You may also use something like a vacuum cleaner or blow dryer, for an audible alert. Don’t use anything electronic, like a radio.

6] Plug it into a dead outlet.

7] Now with a cube tester or any plug you will need to go to all the dead outlets and any live outlets in the area, insert the plug and wiggle the device side to side slightly. Watch the test lamp or listen for the other alerts as you wiggle the devices. If the loose or bad connection is present the wiggle action may make it contact briefly and the lamp or the other things will alert you . Having found the suspected outlet all that is left is to correct the bad connection. If the device is a push back wired device, this probably is the cause of the circuit failure. All wires must be terminated under the screws. Also you should never put more than one wire under a screw. This troubleshooting procedure works in most cases and won’t have you open boxes un-necessarily.

Keep in mind that the problem is in one of two places in the circuit, either in the first dead outlet or the live outlet just ahead of it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi kevin:Thanks for your response, its not a single dead outlet.. all the outlets and all the lamps are out in the room, but there is no trip on the circuit breaker...
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I understand that.

1) Do you have an AC voltmeter or a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester to take measurements on the dead receptacles?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have a multimeter...
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

OK, very good.

1) At a few of the dead receptacles measure for the following voltages and leave the circuit breaker in the ON position.

A) Hot (short slot) to Neutral (long slot). Should measure approximately 120 volts

B) Hot (short slot) to Ground (round ground hole). Should also measure approximately 120 volts

C) Neutral (long slot) to Ground (round ground hole). Should measure 0 volts or very close to 0 volts

2) Did you try the Wiggle Procedure? Any luck?

Reply back to me and let me know the 3 different voltage measurements and we can take it from there.........Thanks...........Kevin:)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** tried the wiggle, will do that and let you know. will be atleast a couple of hours before I get home;
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

No problem Sanjay, take your time. I will be logged on here, so just reply back to me.

Refer to the diagram shown below:

Yes, definitely try the Wiggle Procedure.


Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.