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Eddie
Eddie, Home Improvement Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 575
Experience:  owner of Island Pro-Craft
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I had an electric heater running off an outlet, and it died

Customer Question

I had an electric heater running off an outlet, and it died one night a couple of days ago. The outlet, I mean. And the circuit it runs through as none of the other outlets on that wall or the bathroom behind it. The breaker is not thrown, and I have power on the black wire side. I have seven wires counting the ground, and pigtailed two of each black and white wires to attach to the new outlet, and the other set attaches directly to the outlet.
JA: Sometimes electrical issues that that you think will be really complicated end up being easy to fix. The Electrician I'm going to connect you with knows all the tricks and shortcuts. Is there anything else the Electrician should be aware of?
Customer: The issue is the same, and I am at a loss of what to do next.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer where you can place your fully refundable $5 deposit (plus $13 after the Electrician responds). While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Electrician about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

HI here is what could have happened and is not that uncommon................but in working with that many wires in the box lots of times skinning back the wire and twisting them can cause the gauge wire to snap off or somehow it's not making good contact ......even inside a wire cap............so go over your connections one by one and make sure this instances didn't occur ............if it still doesn't check out please get back to me and we will explore other avenues.............and maybe you can up load a picture for me of the box ..........I don't know if you have one of these but it's an invaluable tool sometimes

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Gardner-Bender-120-VAC-GFCI-Outlet-Tester-1-Clam-5-Clams-Master-GFI-3501/202867890

Thanks

eddie

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I've checked and rechecked the connections. I have a multimeter, and get 108.9 volts testing across the white & black where they attach to the outlet. I get 120 going from the black wire side and the ground wire.
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

could a neutral have been crossed somewhere ? or maybe a defective outlet

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
the original outlet had each set of white and black, and a set plugged into holes on the back of the outlet. This was not a switched outlet. I've lost track of which ones were which, and just pigtailed two to attach to one of the outlet screws, and the other set to the other screws
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

well if you wanted to try and get it back to the original see if it solves the problem.........but if not I was just thinking it might be good now if you did pick up that tester because it will diagnose what the problem is on its chart....especially if you have to trace each receptacle on the circuit back to the box........it will tell you if there is an open neutral or such

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Okay thanks. I'll be out tomorrow, and pick up one then.
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

sounds good let me know when you are ready

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Okay, bought the widget. When I plugged it into the new outlet, it shows "open neutral"(O-N). I took the outlet off, and found the single hot wire, which the HD guy said it would be. I checked the neutrals(whites), and have two that show 118-122v, and one that shows 100.1. I checked the GFCI in the bathroom, and got the single green light in the center. I think that means the ground is ok, which I expect if the rest of wires are unconnected. The bedroom shows "open neutral." I am thinking that if I connect the two O-N to the outlet, and the single hot to the other side, I would have two working outlets. And if I jumper the three black together to make them all hot, then the bedroom or bathroom will come online. Are those two assumptions correct?
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

One thing I would do first is on the GFCI .......there is a LINE and a LOAD those have to be correct for it to work and any subsequent receptacles after that .............so I would remove that and take it apart...........turn back on the breaker to test and find out which is the hot cable or feed wire coming in and attach that to the LINE ............any outlet you test has to have the two greens to be correct so it looks like your problem might lie here.............when was that GFCI put in?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Scratch all about the GFCI outlet - it works fine. So it's on a different circuit altogether. But the light over the mirror doesn't. I assumed they were on the same circuit, and never actually plugged anything in to check.
Expert:  Eddie replied 9 months ago.

okay you got me a little confused so if you could tell me where we are at now ........I will check back tomorrow or sooner if I can

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