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Category: Electrical
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OPEN HOT ON A NEW DUPLEX OUTLET Retired electrican did work

Customer Question

Retired electrican did work on finishing bsment., then passed away before finishing work

4 romex wires into a double switch box.
I disconnected all black & white wires then reconnected in order to trouble shoot

Power, black #1 - OK
Power, #2 - OK, bedroom light
Power, #3 - OK, hall light
Power, #4 - when black wire connected to power, I have an OPEN HOT in duplex #1
Duplex box #2, OK

spare romex wire in duplex box #2, no power to this, not sure where it connects to

Wondering if drywallers covered another box, so I ran a power tester around along wall & found a spot about 9" above the floor that ran parallel to the floor for 10 " that beeped. It is about 6' from the switched box & about half way along wall

only one Romex in the box
i am assuming it goes to the double switch box, as when i connect the one remaining black wire, it powers up the outlet, but as an OPEN HOT

any suggestions before i call some one in?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  High-Voltage replied 7 years ago.
Please give me a moment to read through this...Thanks!
Expert:  High-Voltage replied 7 years ago.

ok, from what I understand here...


you traced a circuit and it ended at a blank(just drywall) spot in the wall correct?


What is the distance from that spot to the recepticle with open hot? (In linear wall space footage please)

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I have an open hot on a duplex outlet that I believe is connect to a hot leg at a duplex switch box. I do not know why I have an open hot. I have a left over romex wire in anotehr duplex box on the same wall, other side in a bedroom that appears to have no power.

I am putting the house on the market the outlet to work right.

I am wondering if the retired electrican had another box that the drywaller covered up. I do NOT know that, just wondering as i can not fix the open hot and have no idea what that spare romex wire is for.

about 4 feet from the switch box to the duplex box with an open hot

about 6 linear feet from this box to the area on the wall that i am getting a power pen to beep at.


Expert:  High-Voltage replied 7 years ago.

It may be a switched recepticle... And the open hot is from the switch opening the hot.


Did you confirm this...It seems you have applied constant power to all romex in the switch box.


Also what colors are in the boxes? the one with the open hot, the one with the switches...

Edited by High-Voltage on 2/6/2010 at 6:05 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

wires are all black, white, copper. no reds. i thought it might be a switched outlet, so unnutted the wires and then started to connect each one, one by one. the one switch works for the hall light. no issue.


duplex box with the open hot has only one romex in it. i replaced the outlet to make sure nothing there.


i am not an electrican, but have wired minor stuff before. this is one i can figure out. the electrican did the basic work, but passed away before he could finish after the drywallers this fall.


Expert:  High-Voltage replied 7 years ago.

First thing, unfortunately, you will need to confirm if there is a box buried in the wall....


***turn power off at breaker***


Hopefully this will be not on wallpaper or anything, but you will have to push a screwdriver through the wall in the location you suspect there is a recepticle box...and at the same center height as the other recepticles...Take a peek.


Keep me posted...I will guide you further.

Edited by High-Voltage on 2/6/2010 at 6:27 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I have a toner that I lent to a friend. would that help me track the potentially hidden box???

Expert:  High-Voltage replied 7 years ago.

Yes! Excellent...make sure the power is off of course...


It should scream or give a strong light signal if you got something....but that depends on the toner...


Hook up your sender in multiple combinations from the switch box wiring as well as the spare romex...


Don't tie to will get readings will be thrown off...although you may have to because of the open hot...but do the ground as a last resort.


Keep me posted...this post will not close even if you accept. It may take me time to get back to you..


I will be pretty quick getting back to you if you see I am online...(just look next to my screen name on this post box and that will tell you if I am on or not..Smile

Edited by High-Voltage on 2/6/2010 at 6:52 PM EST