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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3666
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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None of my outlets have a set/reset button so I assume they

Customer Question

None of my outlets have a set/reset button so I assume they are not GFCI? If not, would a single outlet shut off the electricity downstream? If so, how do I determine which outlet is the problem?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

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

1) Yes, that is correct. GFCI receptacles contain a test and a reset button. Although it is possible that you may have a GFCI or an AFCI circuit breaker which may have tripped. A GFCI or AFCI breaker will contain a test button.

2) Yes, if there is a loose wire termination or a faulty splice at an upstream junction box or receptacle box or wall switch box, this can impact the downstream boxes which would not have voltage.

3) In order to troubleshoot the problem, a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or a multi-meter is required to take some voltage measurements.

4) You can also try the attached Wiggle Procedure as sometimes this can identify the problem.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks. Under the "wiggle procedure" step no. 7, what is the "cube tester"?
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

1) See the attached link shown from Home Depot. Here is a cube tester or a receptacle thing

2) If you don't have a tester, you can also use a table lamp and plug the cord and wiggle it to determine if a loose wire termination at one of the receptacles.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'm not at home. I will get the tester and try it tonight. Do I pay the balance after I try it or now?
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

1) If the Wiggle Procedure does not identify the problem, you will need a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or a multi-meter to troubleshoot and take some voltage measurements. The problem will either be an open hot or an open neutral wire.

See attached diagram for taking voltage measurements at a dead receptacle:

2) I would suggest purchasing a multi-meter instead as this can quickly identify which wire is causing the open hot or open neutral wire.

Here is a multi-meter sold at Home Depot:

3) You can rate me once we get the problem resolved. Your question will remain open, so just come back and reply to me as you have been doing.


Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I got an outlet tester/cube and tried it on all the outlets in the bedroom and none had any voltage/power. I tried the cube in nearby rooms and it lit up fine. If I can a "multi-meter" tester, will it register on the dead outlets? How will I know which outlet is the problem? I've looked at the instructions to test the dead outlet. All of the outlets in the room are dead. Will one register different than the others?
Expert:  Kevin replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) Are any of the circuit breakers the AFCI or GFCI type which will have a test button? The dead circuit may reside on a breaker that has tripped.

2) If the breaker did not trip or no AFCI or no GFCI, then the problem is either an open or an open neutral wire. You will need a multi-meter to confirm which wire is an open. Once the open wire is confirmed, whether open hot or open neutral. Now you know what to look for by performing a visual inspection at the dead receptacles.

3) If the hot wire is good, it will show 120 volts from hot to ground which indicates that the problem is not a hot wire issue. If 0 volts from hot to neutral, then you know the problem is a neutral issue. Thus the reason to have a multi-meter to take voltage measurements.

4) Once the voltage measurements are confirmed, now you know what to visually look for. A visual inspection will be required in the 1st box that is closest to the electrical panel for that circuit. The circuit can be split in half and measurements can be taken in order to narrow down the problem and isolate it.

5) Keep in mind that the circuit can easily tandem thru other known working boxes (receptacles, light fixtures, switches) from other circuits. All depends upon how the original electrician wired up the circuit.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I think it's time for me to have an electrician come to my house. I don't have any outlets with test buttons. I'm afraid I'm in over my head on this one. Thanks.
Expert:  Kevin replied 10 months ago.

Yes, I understand. Troubleshooting these types of problems is often best to have a professional.

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.