Electrical Wiring in the Home/electrical outlets

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QUESTION: The electrical outlets in my garage stopped working. Nothing was changed and they have been working for 15 years. There are 4 outlets on the line. The breaker is fine and when I test for power I'm showing power at the plugs but tester is showing power present in both the positive and the ground side. I removed one outlet that is used the most thinking it may have failed and and direct wired the connections. It did not change anything. The outlets are all back clip type. Any suggestions?

ANSWER: First make sure that there are no GFCI outlets in the garage. Check behind things, because outlets can be forgotten.

The next thing is to check the wiring.  If you are getting a reading that there is power, but the outlets do not work, this usually indicates that a white wire is loose.  The back click outlets usually fail, so it might be a good idea to move the wires to the side screws.  Start with the outlet closest to the breaker panel, if all of them do not work. You can also check the white wire in the breaker box, but most likely it is a wire connecting to an outlet.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I replaced all of the outlets. Fixed polarity in one, but still getting polarity in others..

Answer
I am not sure what you mean.  Polarity is a good thing.  If you are getting "reversed polarity," then you have a disconnected white wire between the good outlet and one of the bad ones (probably the one closest to the good one).  Check and make sure that the white wires are making contact.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Bob Sponaugle

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Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

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