Home Wiring Problem

Thread Starter


Joined Sep 7, 2006
I have found one outlet in my entire house that isn't working properly. My husband used a multimeter and tested the voltage on the wires connected to the outlet and it reads between 55-61 volts. All other outlets in the room and surrounding rooms read 119-120 volts.

My husband went to the basement and switched the circuit breakers off one at a time while I watched the multimeter. One breaker is connected to the light in the room with the bad outlet and the hallway light and when it was switched the multimeter would read 0.0 for a spilt second and then go back up to 55-61 while the breaker was still off.

The outlet is in a room on the second floor so we haven't been able to determine where the wire that is connected to the outlet connects to the main power. We've turned on all the switches in the house to see if that might be the cause of our problem, but there was no change in the multimeter reading. Anyone have any ideas?


Joined Jul 24, 2006
Sounds like a floating ground or an improperly wired receptacle else ware.

Option 1
The "NEUTRAL" side of the line has a potential. I had a similar issue in my house, I would turn on the hallway light and the light in my office would glow dimly, it was because a "NEUTRAL" {white} was connected to "HOT" {Black} in a receptacle box in the other room.

Basically it made the neutral "HOT" so True ground and "HOT" {black} looked like ground. Hence the 50 to 60 volts. It's like holding one lead of a volt meter and plugging the other into the "HOT" side of a receptacle, you'll get the same 50 to 60 volt floating ground.

Option 2
It’s likely that either the above is true or you have a bad “NEUTRAL” on the receptacle. Measure between “HOT” and Ground and see if you get the same reading, if you do it’s the Option 1

Hope this helps, and remember it’s only my $0.02 and I only play an electrician on TV. :)