outlet ghost

I Inspected a home today the panels and wiring looked good, romex cable with breakers all looked good all the outlets were grounded all switchs worked and then at the end of my inspection the seller told me that in one of the bedrooms that the outlets stopped working sometimes but the switchs would still work, but of course i went back into the attic to see what might be going on could not find what might cause this and now it was disclosed to me I hate not knowing what might be going on ,was wondering if any one else might know, I can do a reinspect if need be. ???

just a guess…but the stream of outlets in the one room could be tied to a switch in another room.

not a great way to wire things, but possible.

Turn that switch off, outlets go off, switch for the bedroom light still works because it’s independent, but you don’t put that connection together in your mind.

I’ve inspected homes where the bedroom switches controlled the outlets within that bedroom.

Did this bedroom have NO overhead lighting by chance???

Maybe a GFCI tripping somewhere else in the home?

Or what about a possibly defective receptical at the beginning of the stream causing the rest to follow suit?


Obviously, you should document the problem, and the source of information, as well as deferer to a qualified electrician for further investigation.

Now the not so obvious, check for signs of problems, such as:

  1. Unusual heading of outlet, faceplate, and surrounding walls of the effected outlet, and its neighbors. Just so if the room is painted later, you have it documented of visual problems.

Just guessing…


I helped my neighbor track down a bad connection in an outlet stream like that. We plugged a radio that was turned up pretty loud into the dead outlet and went around tapping and wiggling suspect outlets upstream until the radio squalked. Worked great. Only had to pull the bad (backstabbed) outlet to make the problem go away.
After that he rewired the rest that were done that way during that renovation (at his leisure) but at least we felt good that we fixed the problem.

Bed room had ceiling fan with lights and and closet lights they would work while outlets did not. Only one switch in room no GFCI’s in the home, all outlet plates tight. I Reported for a electrician to investigate further also told client about it,Thanks every one for your input I hate not finding problems.


Good call…if this is the case it is not just one outlet…sounds like if I were called out I would try to find the feed to that room…which receptacle it may be coming into…and if possibly the lights were on a different circuit…depending on the number of lights and number of receptacles…could possibly be (2) different circuits here.

But usually all we can do is speculate unless we get our hands on it…get calls like this all the time or simular…and usually we can track it down so a local electrician should be able to get to the bottom of it…

But you did your JOB…not that you found it but were able to disect the information in an investigative manner for your client…you did your job as an HI…defer as you did…if it ends up eating you up not knowing always feel free to call that electrician who comes out…building a relationship with an electrical contractor is a good thing…