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Old 09-01-2012, 11:24 AM   #1
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Fixing electrical outlets


Recently I had some workers adept in painting help me change all the electrical outlets in my place. Now, to my surprise only half of my electrical outlets work. I think the problem is they were not careful and either mixed the live and load wires in the outlet receptacles or even the live and neutral wires.

Now I'm confused in how to troubleshoot all the outlets and figuring out the proper configuration. I was thinking about using a volt tester at each location to see which wires were the live versus load, but at most of the locations in the middle of the circuit, the volt tester reads no live wires and I am not sure where each circuit starts.

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Old 09-01-2012, 11:27 AM   #2
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Fixing electrical outlets


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Originally Posted by pvryderz View Post
Recently I had some workers adept in painting help me change all the electrical outlets in my place. Now, to my surprise only half of my electrical outlets work. I think the problem is they were not careful and either mixed the live and load wires in the outlet receptacles or even the live and neutral wires.

Now I'm confused in how to troubleshoot all the outlets and figuring out the proper configuration. I was thinking about using a volt tester at each location to see which wires were the live versus load, but at most of the locations in the middle of the circuit, the volt tester reads no live wires and I am not sure where each circuit starts.
Thats sounds like a lot of fun.

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Old 09-01-2012, 11:44 AM   #3
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Fixing electrical outlets


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Thats sounds like a lot of fun.
I cant believe that painters couldnt handle a little electrical
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:50 AM   #4
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Fixing electrical outlets


You could get little colored stickers - say green, yellow, and red.

Then test each outlet to see if it is working. If working, place a green sticker on it. If not working, place a red sticker on it.

Then (with the main power off of course), start by pulling out each outlet with a red sticker on it.

If there is just one romex cable to an outlet, then that is easy. Just be sure the black, white, and ground are making a good connection (a wire has not slipped off). And that they are connected to the correct connections. After each of these is checked, and it *should* be working, then place a yellow sticker on it.

If there are 2 romex cables for an outlet, then probably that is a "power in" on one wire and "power out" to the next outlet on the other wire. There should be two blacks on one side and two whites on the other "neutral" side. Be sure they are making good connections with the outlet and a wire has not slipped off. Place two yellow stickers on these.

Do that, then you will be left with just a couple of "don't know what to do outlets". Maybe post pictures here or hire an electrician for those.

Note some outlets are "switched" by a wall switch. On a duplex outlet, one outlet will always be on and the other controlled by the wall switch. For these the "tab" is broken on the black wire side of the outlet. Those can have confusing wiring in the electrical box.

Also in a kitchen under a sink, there can be a "MWBC" outlet. That has 2 separate circuits with a "shared neutral".
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:16 PM   #5
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Fixing electrical outlets


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Originally Posted by pvryderz View Post
Recently I had some workers adept in painting help me change all the electrical outlets in my place. .
Reminds me of the time I had some plumbing work done by my banker. talk about money down the drain.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:29 PM   #6
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Fixing electrical outlets


An outlet tester runs about $5 and with GCFI capability will set you back under $10 and will tell you what is faulty with each outlet. Handy to have.


Last edited by user1007; 09-01-2012 at 10:30 PM. Reason: Added Photo Links
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:54 AM   #7
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Fixing electrical outlets


I know this is going to seem rude, but I don't care. pvryderz, you deserve all the trouble that you have.


You should have had this work done by a licensed electrician. If you want to DIY, that is one thing. But to give it to a painter??? LOL.


Call up your local code enforcement office and see how they feel about this...

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