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Thread: Open Ground ?'s

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Open Ground ?'s

    I have an outlet that up and quit working, no power to the outlet. I go and purchase a new outlet. Wire it like I take it apart. I plug in the trusty circuit tester and now I have an open ground and no power. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Open Ground ?'s

    Do you know if the original outlet had an open ground before it quit? If so, then the problem could be pretty involved and complicated to find the source of the break in the ground wire somewhere down line, or the box (and house) might not even be grounded at all...depends on how old the house is, and the type of wiring therein. If the original outlet used to work fine, with a ground, then you likely have a loose wire in the bow. Many times, the ground wires will just be twisted together and stuffed in the back of the box without a wire nut or crimp ring. This is not legal, but it happens. Check all of the connections and good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Open Ground ?'s

    I moved into an older house a few years ago and someone had "updated" all of the electrical outlets. Well they did a shoddy job and circuits kept dying.

    I finally went through and checked every one in the house and had to rewire most of them.

    The most common problem was they put the wires into the little holes in the back of the receptacles instead of securing them with the screws. About half were reversed polarity. Now I know the holes are supposed to work but my experience is that they are nothing but problems. So I stripped the wire ends, secured them tightly around the screws, and have had no more problems.

    Re: the grounds, mine is an older house and I know for a fact that the original outlets were not the 3 prong grounded type (they missed a few in the crawl space). Fortunately the metal outlet boxes WERE grounded so it was easy to ground the new outlets to the boxes with grounding screws.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Open Ground ?'s

    Our house was built in 1980. I did use the holes in the back of the new receptacle and will connect directly to the screw. Any advice on working in the breaker box. I pulled the cover and what a mess. Any advice on working in there? My first thoughts are not to venture in there. This plug had no problem until it quit. I did have a previous problem in the kitchen with an outlet. Last time I called an electrical contractor all he did was take my money. I'll keep you posted...Thanks for the help and advice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Open Ground ?'s

    That's a good thing to attach the wires to the screws.

    If your problem is that one plug is not working then there wouldn't be an issue inside the panel .

    It may be the wires further upstream that feed this plug may also be wired using the holes of another plug. One or more may have become disconnected or broken off .... interupting current flow to the plug that quit. Or it may be possible there is a GFCI plug that has tripped and feeds this receptacle.

    I pulled the cover and what a mess. Any advice on working in there? My first thoughts are not to venture in there
    If you are an inexperienced novice don't mess around inside the panel .... remember ... it's always live and one slip you won't be.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Open Ground ?'s

    I went around and checked all the GFCI receptacles then tried the circuit tester again. The amber is lit up and the red and clear/white are blinking intermittently. Go figure. I think it's time to call another electrical contractor that can troubleshoot. Thank you for the advice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Open Ground ?'s

    Apparently your circuit tester and mine are a bit different but it should tell you what that specific configuration of lights means.

    Honestly it sounds as if you have reached your comfort level, and when dealing with electricity it's a very good thing to know when you are there. So it may well be time to call a professional. Ask for a free estimate before any work is done.

    It may be a simple fix or something may have come loose elsewhere. It could be that your problem has been a totally different outlet or light fixture from the start. A pro should be able to diagnose and fix this without too much trouble.

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