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Old 12-15-2012, 09:09 AM   #1
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Outdoor outlet not working - need advice


Hi, at my condo our outdoor electrical outlet is no longer working. This happened a few months ago and all I did was reset the 4 gfci outlets in our kitchen and the one gfci outlet in one of our two bathrooms and the outdoor outlet started working again. Yesterday, the outlet stopped working again. I switched off and on all of our circuit breakers (except water heater, furnace, and air conditioner) as well as reset all the gfci outlets I could find and it still won't work. What do you think the most likely explanation for this is? What should I do to fix it?

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Old 12-15-2012, 09:17 AM   #2
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Outdoor outlet not working - need advice


For one thing the outlet was installed wrong. The way it is now water is sure to get in behind it. Once water gets in it's going to keep tripping.
Should have looked something like this.
http://www.stpaulroofing.com/Exterio...ical-Block.jpg

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Old 12-15-2012, 09:17 AM   #3
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Id say its rust/ corrosion in the receptacle. The problem outlet should be in a weather proof box with cover.( probably why its wired to a GFCI ).
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:39 AM   #4
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Completely makes sense about the installation error, covers of the outlets should face downwards rather than sideways so water rolls off of it better. It seems like this installation error is common after I googled images of this on the internet.

So would you think the receptacle needs to be replaced or do I just need to clean off the possible rust and corrosion inside of it?

In addition, once I replace it or clean off the rust/corrosion, can you just buy something that fits to it on the outside to protect it?

I'm guessing the only safety precautions to take when working with an electrical outlet is to turn off power to it from the circuit breaker and use a circuit tester to test it prior to working on it to check for live wires (any suggestions for which circuit testers I should buy are welcome).
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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Outdoor outlet not working - need advice


I'm not an electrician so don't qualify to address your problem; however, I do wonder at your thought process to arrive at a solution for it. Let me clarify...

You say that after the outside receptacle stopped working you went around and 'reset' all the GFCI plugs in your kitchen and your bathroom. So first off: did they trip also? are they connected to the outside plug? I would be surprised if they are. Why did you do that? Did you assume they were on the same circuit? what if they weren't? How come you don't know what circuit it is on?

So definitely a proper analog or digital voltage tester is in your future if you intend to diagnose any further electrical problems beyond the panel. However, one thing I would do before you do anything else is identify - at the panel - the various circuits in your condo and label each one the best you can with the plugs that that circuit affects - and all you need is a light or a radio to help you out a bit.

Time spent here will save you critical time in the future; and if and when it blows again, you won't be running around switching off circuits that have no bearing on your one plug.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:06 AM   #6
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Yeah, I don't know anything about electrical stuff, that's why I went and reset all the gfci's not really even looking at if they tripped or not since the buttons are hard to tell if they are popped up or not if that makes sense.

And they definitely are on the same circuit, actually just got the outlet working again after realizing I didn't reset one of the gfci's like I thought I had. I'm an idiot. The outdoor outlet now works after resetting so now I know what circuit it is on.

Thanks for everyone's help
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:48 AM   #7
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Outdoor outlet not working - need advice


Run to Home Depot, yech, and get the Klien circuit breaker identifier(ET300) tools, it's about $40.00. You plug in a transmitter to the circuit in question and then move the tool through the breakers and it will beep when it finds it. Read the instructions and it works great.

I got this tool as I had the same type of problem, identifying what breaker was for what and not I am in the process of updating the panel with the correct
rooms, etc.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:06 AM   #8
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Outdoor outlet not working - need advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkfloyd43 View Post
Run to Home Depot, yech, and get the Klien circuit breaker identifier(ET300) tools, it's about $40.00. You plug in a transmitter to the circuit in question and then move the tool through the breakers and it will beep when it finds it. Read the instructions and it works great.

I got this tool as I had the same type of problem, identifying what breaker was for what and not I am in the process of updating the panel with the correct
rooms, etc.

The tracer won't work if there is no power to the receptacle.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:16 AM   #9
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Call an electrician.Don't go buying testers you don't know how to operate.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:28 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by amodoko View Post
Yeah, I don't know anything about electrical stuff, that's why I went and reset all the gfci's not really even looking at if they tripped or not since the buttons are hard to tell if they are popped up or not if that makes sense.

And they definitely are on the same circuit, actually just got the outlet working again after realizing I didn't reset one of the gfci's like I thought I had. I'm an idiot. The outdoor outlet now works after resetting so now I know what circuit it is on.

Thanks for everyone's help
Great - now you know which GFCI feeds this receptacle! But it's still going to trip when it gets wet, because it's improperly installed. You really ought to replace the receptacle and put a proper weatherproof cover over it that is cut into the siding and caulked. Then rain won't trip your GFCI randomly.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:42 PM   #11
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Outdoor outlet not working - need advice


Consider this----add a GFI to the outside (with a proper cover)

Then move the wires on the old GFI--from LOAD to LINE--then that outside one will be constantly powered and equipped with its own protection.

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