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The Home Depot

Why is My Outdoor Outlet Not Working?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Electrical > Why is My Outdoor Outlet Not Working?
Why is My Outdoor Outlet Not Working?

If you have been trying to put up lights to decorate your garden for a party or to enhance the security and found that the outdoor outlet does not work, you need to take steps to rectify this. Outdoor outlets that are exposed to the weather are more likely to fail than indoor outlets. However, with a little bit of patience and skill you can fix it on your own.

  1. 1.Rain and Water

    Often outdoor outlets are damaged because of their exposure to rain and water. Even when the outdoor outlets have some amount of protection from the weather, they can be affected by the damp and humidity in or emanating from the garden.


    When encountering an outdoor outlet that does not work, do not assume the worst and immediately call an electrical contractor or pull out all the wires. You can try to fix it yourself and certainly determine how to prevent this from happening again. Instead and furthermore,you should look for the simple solutions first and call the electrical contractor only if you are unable to locate the fault or rectify it on your own.


    The first thing you need to do is check all the outlets in your home and identify those that do not work. You can use either a voltage tester or simply plug in a lamp to see if the various outlets work. If some outlets are not working, unplug lamps and appliances from them to eliminate the possibility that it is the appliance that is shorted and not the outlet. You should make a note of all the outlets that do not work.


    Check for tripped circuit breakers: The next step is to check for tripped circuit breakers and switch them on again. The circuit breakers will be in the main electrical panel that can be near the entrance, laundry room, basement, or garage. Since the tripped circuit breakers might not always be apparent, you should firmly switch all the breakers to the off position before switching them on.


    If a circuit breaker trips back to the off position, it could be because of a potentially hazardous ground fault or short circuit. Let this circuit switch remain in the off position until you have located and fixed the problem.

  2. 2.Intro to GFCI

    Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters or GFCIs are outlets with test and reset buttons. The GFCIs are installed in areas of the home where the potential hazards for electrical shock are exceedingly great. They detect any leaks in the current and immediately shut off power.


    The GFCI detects any flow of current of even as little as 4 or 5 milliamps from the hot slot to the neutral slot and shuts down the power supply in one thirtieth of a second.


    Since electricians want to save money, they often connect standard outlets to a GFCI outlet. This means that even standard outlets will no longer work after a GFCI shuts down power. All GFCI protected outlets are expected to be labeled but the labels often fall off, especially outdoors.

  3. Get Your Outlet Repaired

    Request a Service

  4. 3.Where do I Reset It?

    GFCIs are typically placed in bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, garages, basements, and outdoors. When you find that some of the outlets do not work you should locate and reset all the GFCIs in your home and then test the outlets for power.


    For this you need to press the GFCI test button. This should make the reset button pop out. If it does not, it can mean that there is no power to the GFCI outlet itself or that the GFCI is malfunctioning. If the reset button trips after popping out then it means that there is a dangerous power leak that needs to be fixed before you can switch it on.


    To fix the power leak you will need to check all the wiring in your home. Unless you are very comfortable with working with electrical circuits you should consider taking the help of an electrical contractor to locate and rectify the current leak.

  5. 4.Preventing It in the Future

    A tripped GFCI is an inconvenience and not a danger. In fact the GFCI shuts down to prevent alarming or significant damage to your home or you such as electrical shocks and even the chance of a fire erupting or starting. In order to prevent frequent shutting down of the GFCI you need to ensure that all the electrical appliances you use are working properly. The GFCI will shut down when you connect faulty electrical appliances to an outlet.


    Another reason for the GFCI to shut down is that when using the GFCI outlets people might end up inadvertently pressing the test button. Children too might press the test button. To prevent such errors, you should ensure that children are not allowed to play with the GFCI outlet and take care when you plug in appliances to a GFCI outlet.


    In the long run, to ensure that you do not suffer from frequent GFCI shut downs, you need to get all your electrical appliances tested for faults and repaired as soon as possible. You can also consider taking the help of an electrician to check all the wiring in your home.


    The GFCI is a safety device that helps prevent hazardous electrical shocks and fires. This device works by shutting off electrical power to all the outlets connected to it. You can locate the fault, fix it, and reset the GFCI by pressing the test button.

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