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Testers To Use For Tracing Electrical Wires

How to Test Outlet Wiring Problems: Non-Contact Voltage Testers, Testing for Broken Wires, Troubleshooting an Outlet Circuit, Inspecting Outlet Wiring, How to Trace Electrical Wires with Electrical Testers, Replacing Damaged Parts, Repairing burnt Electrical Wiring.

Guide for Testing Outlet Circuit Wiring

Electrical Question: I have a home that was built in 1965, a room was added in early 80′s.

  • I currently have three outlets in the add on room that are dead.
  • All of the circuit breakers are hot.  There are no tripped breakers, 126volt output at each breaker.
  • I have good continuity between the three dead outlets.
  • I have checked in the attic and the only wire that is not hot is the one that connects two of the dead outlets together.
  • The common and ground side of all three has good continuity back to the breaker box.
  • Is there a way of tracing wires inside a wall to figure out where the power should be coming from, or where the break in the hot side of the circuit might be?

This electrical wiring question came from: Bill, a Handyman from Copperas Cove, Texas.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Bill.

How to Test Outlet Wiring Problems

Application: Troubleshooting and Repairing Outlet Problems.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester or Volt Ohm Meter or plug-in circuit analyzer.
Estimated Time: Depends on the age of the home and the condition of the electrical wiring and access to the circuit wiring to be inspected, evaluated and repaired.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit at the electric panel, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring inspections or electrical repairs.

  • Troubleshooting an Outlet Circuit
    The tester described below may be helpful, however I would continue to troubleshoot the outlet circuit.
  • Inspecting Outlet Wiring
    Remove each outlet and inspect the electrical connections and splices, starting with the outlet closest to the circuit breaker panel.

How to Trace Electrical Wires with Electrical Testers

electrical testing





  • Electrical Wire Testers
    There are a many great testers that can be used to identify wiring problems.
  • Non-Contact Voltage Testers
    One type of tester I would recommend is the Non-Contact Voltage Detector which can be used to detect voltage in outlets, lighting fixtures, wires and cables.
  • Testing for Broken Wires
    This non contact tester can also find breaks in electric wires, and helps to identify the hot and neutral conductors.
  • Replacing Damaged Parts
    If an outlet or the electrical wiring is found to be damaged then repairs and replacement parts should be obtained with the same voltage and amperage rating.
  • Repairing burnt Electrical Wiring
    Burnt or damaged electrical wiring and circuit components should be replaced with new electrical materials of the same voltage and amperage rating, electrical wire type and size.

More about Electrical Testers

How to use electrical testers
Electrical Safety and Voltage Testers
When working on home electrical wiring, quality voltage testers can play an important part in electrical safety. Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.

You identified your project to be about Troubleshooting, so you might find this information useful:
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Wiring Electrical Outlet for the Home
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

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This link is helpful as a Handyman
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