Odd electrical issue

I had a weird electrical issue yesterday. Dont really need an answer, as I just recommended an electrician anyways, but thought I would share.

Was doing an 11th month inspection, and one receptacle (not on a switch) would work normal on the bottom half, but as soon as I plugged my tester into the top portion, it turned off the other receptacles in the same room, but nothing tripped.

As soon as I unplugged my tester, everything came back on again. I have no idea what would cause that.

I normally only test one half of the receptacle, but maybe I should be checking both… This one had a christmas tree plugged into the lower half, otherwise I may never have known.


We always check both outlets.

Sounds like it could be a defective receptacle or loose termination.


Just an idea.
Outlet split between two circuits. A split outlet is a duplex electrical outlet that is split into two sections so that each section receives power from its own separate hot or powered wire? Top outlet power by switch usually on the hall wall…

If you tested the top outlet how could you know current was not feed in the top of other outlets?

I agree with Richard on the possibility of a loose wire or defective receptacle. Regardless, that is a weird one and I’d be curious to find out what the issue was.


How did you know the other outlets were dead?

Good question.
The TV went off, along with the Christmas tree and some other lights.
I thought, oh, there’s a short, and I just tripped the breaker… when unplugging, everything came back on


Was not wired to a wall switch.

You may be correct. Possibly the movement of the receptacle caused all the following outlets to lose power.
That would make the most sense.

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There’s the problem, to damn early for a Christmas tree! :grinning:


They leave it up all year long!

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Yea I think it could be a loose connection somewhere. I had a house a few months ago where if I wiggled the tester, the receptacle would loose power in certain positions of the tester. The ceiling light also lost power when the receptacle lost power.

A properly installed outlet shouldn’t move when something is plugged into it. Daniel doesn’t indicate that the outlet moved when something was plugged in. A bad connection that totally disrupts downstream current flow implies outlet movement. That alone would require attention in my book.

A good sparky will never use the push in connections on the outlet as these are notorious for bad connections. Can’t say that simply using the outlet would make them act up.

I would report, outlet miswiring.

Nope, it was tight, no movement.

Sounds to me like your tester broke the system and you should pay up! :wink: