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Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4772
Experience:  Electrical Contractor
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Outside outlets not working

Customer Question

None of the outside outlets work around the front or side of house, They work fine outside basement. What could be the problem.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
What your going to want to look for are any gfci's that are on the outside of the home. If you have any then just push the red-reset button and this will restore power.

If you dont have one on the outside of your home, then look for it in the basement - garage or even the bathroom.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok..... I went outside and there is only ONE gfci and it is outside the basement connected to our built in gas grill and the reset button seems to be stuck, it is pushed in all the way and I can't get it to pop out. BUT as said, ALL the outside outlets work outside around our basement expept the 2 hooked up to the grill. So for the other outside outlets around the front and side of the house DO NOT have gfci. There is a gfci in the laundry room right off the garage and i reset it but nothing. There is also 3 gfci's in our built in basement but reset those and nothing. This is frustrating.
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
Yes I can imagine. Do you have a meter or a tester?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No I don't. Will it help?
Are they expensive?
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
Ok - what you are going to need to get is called a plug tester. It will cost about $8 from any home improvement center. Then open the link Im attaching here so you can download my troubleshooting guide. Grant some of the things on here you already have done - but skip those and move onto the other tests and fixes.

Click here:
Inactive, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4772
Experience: Electrical Contractor
Inactive and 5 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I bought one from Walmart. It is a GFCI tester. Is this one ok? I plugged it into regular outlets and gfci and it worked. When I plugged it into an outside outlet it didn't light up at all???
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
Ok what your going to need to do is start opening up outlets to check for bad, loose or burnt up connections.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
this may sound dumb, but how do i know if a connection is bad or loose? And i'm guessing a burnt one i will be able to tell.
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
Open up the troubleshooting guide that I sent you. Use the plug tester in the way I describe to see if you can find a bad connection point. If you cant - let me know and ill suggest another way to do this.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok, so I did need to buy the tester that has the little prongs? If you can't tell, my husband isn't here to help so I'm doing this all on my own. The only tester I have is the kind you plug up the 3 prongs.
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
Right - now use that test like I show here in the picture to see if you can narrow down where the trouble spot is.

graphic
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm a little lost. None of the outside outlets show anything on the tester. It doesn't light up at all.
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
Ok - then you need to check the wiring at the gfci... you have power there but no where else correct? So open it up and tell me where the wires are connected.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
ok, i went around the house double checking that I reset ALL gfci's. In the panel room there is one breaker labeled "basement gfi and outside outlets" Ok well the basement gfci is working fine and so are all the outlets in the basement and the outlets around the outside of basement work fine. But it didn't specify just outside basement outlets it said "outside outlets" so wouldn't that mean ALL outside outlets?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
also, there are 3 gfci's in the basement. 1 in the bathroom and 2 in the bar area.
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
You will need to find out which one of those gfci's protects the outside outlets. Once you find that - then you can check the wiring on the gfci.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
how do i figure out which one. I have reset all 3 and still nothing. OH! I wrote it before but didn't know if you saw it. There is a gfci outside connected to the grill but you can't even get a plug in it. somehow dirt or something is clogging it. But the reset button on it is oushed in too far and I can't get it out. Could that have anything to do with it?
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
Yes that could very well the the gfci causing the problem. You will need to find a way to get at it.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

haha what can i do without getting electrocuted?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
do i need to try and pop the reset button
out?
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
If you can get the re-set button to pop that would be what you want. Then press hard on the re-set.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
real quick. one of the labels says "basement CAN's" what is this?
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
I have no clue - that is a personal marker on there.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

i could not for the life of me get the reset to pop out. but i unscrewed it all. I have no idea what to look for.
graphicgraphicgraphic
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

oh and i turned off the breaker labeled basement gfi and outside outlets and wa-laa even the outlets out by the basement didn't work.......sooooo it might just be something with the ones out front.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
anything?
Expert:  Inactive replied 5 years ago.
With all do respect - those connections to the gfci are terrible. Where the black wire is terminated is a classic example of a corroded connection. I suggest you change out the gfci for a new one.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I take no offense! We bought this house as a forclosure back in July and this is just one of the MANY things that need to be done. It sat here for over a year with no one living here. Ok, so we'll go buy a new gfci and hopefully that'll fix our problem. Thanks again!

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