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Old 05-04-2013, 09:09 PM   #1
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Outdoor GFI Problems

Hey all. I'm new the the forum and will try to explain this so it's not confusing. We bought a house last year and are the 3rd owners. At the time, all the outdoor electrical outlets worked. I noticed last night that the outlet (GFI) on my front porch was not working. Then, I noticed none of the outdoor outlets were working, along with the light post on our front lawn. I tried to find the breaker for the outdoor outlets in the electrical box in my garage, but they werent there. All the indoor GFIs were there and labeled, but there was no indication of the GFI on the porch. I turned all the breakers in the box off and on and they are all accounted for inside the house.

I checked all outlets inside and they all work. My neighbor said that the previous owner had a similar issue and he remembered the previous owner saying that all the outdoor outlets and the light post were wired together.

The GFI outlet on the porch has the light on and neither the reset nor the test button can be pushed in. Its like a spring. You press it and is springs back without that click sound.

I went to a local hardware store and the worker said it seemed like i may need a new GFI outlet. Told him my concern was trying to replace it with electricity running through it since I can't find the breaker for it. He said outdoor outlets not being in the main electrical box. Rather, it has it's own box, maybe in the garage, laundry, in the closet with the water heater and heater, etc... However, I looked and can't find such a box.

Hope that all makes sense. Any thoughts on the issue or where the breaker may be or what to do?


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Old 05-04-2013, 09:16 PM   #2
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Try turning off the breakers one by one until the light goes off on the outdoor GFI.


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Old 05-04-2013, 09:42 PM   #3
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Finding the breaker may work as chitownken stated, but I doubt it is a bad GFI. It sounds like there is a ground fault somewhere on the load side of the GFI.

Find all the receptacles that don't work. Start removing them and looking for suspected problems such as a bare ground wire touching a neutral. I don't believe you have a "hot" wire shorting out, but it is possible.

As you take devices out of their boxes, you can disconnect all the wires from their terminations, then try to reset the GFI. If the GFI resets and holds, you know you are either at the problem, or it is further down. If the GFI still trips, you know the problem lies before the device you are at.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I found the breaker that made the light turn off. It's also the breaker to a GFI outlet in the garage. So, two GFIs (1 in the garage and 1 on the outside porch) connected to the same breaker. The GFI outlet in the garage still works though.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:59 PM   #5
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It sounds like the GFCI is doing its job. You have a ground fault. It may be the light post, or the underground cable running to it.
I am a lawyer, but not your lawyer. And who cares anyways? We're here to talk construction. This is DIY advice, not legal advice.
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