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Old 06-16-2019, 04:04 PM   #1
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Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


Story: purchased a home built in 1980. One of the exterior outlets was missing. As in, just exposed wiring (ground, white, black). I installed a new receptacle but it doesn't work. Theres an interior outlet nearby but not exactly opposite of the problem exterior outlet. I checked out the interior outlet and it has two sets of wiring thats daisy chained but It seems to be chained to an adjacent interior outlet. (Tested by unhooking the black wire and an adjacent interior outlet stopped working). Anybody have any idea what the problem could be? I don’t know how exterior outlets are wired(straight to circuit breaker?). If anybody has any insight, I would be grateful! Thank you for your time!
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:12 PM   #2
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


Have checked other outdoor plugs to see if they are wired together, of if it was wired to a switch like the porch light so it can be used with decorations.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:26 PM   #3
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Good idea. The porch light only has one set of wires though. And the backyard exterior let as well. The problematic outlet is on the side of the house. I’m not sure if that sheds anymore light on this issue
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:15 PM   #4
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


Do you have a multimeter. Check for power, if none, check for a trip, or turned off breaker at panel. Also check for any tripped gfci's.

If all the wiring was exposed and hanging out as you say, I would assume it's turned off at the breaker or it's an abandon line no longer hooked to anything.

another thought, if the house sat for awhile before your purchase, someone may have just taken it for some reason. I don't think any homeowner would just leave it wide open and exposed like that.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:16 PM   #5
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


It could be connected to a GFCI receptacle located elsewhere outside, in the garage or basement.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:22 PM   #6
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


In the 80s' it was common to run one GFCI protected circuit that included the outdoor outlet(s) bathroom outlets, and garage.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:09 PM   #7
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
In the 80s' it was common to run one GFCI protected circuit that included the outdoor outlet(s) bathroom outlets, and garage.

Yes, that's just what I was going to say. Nowadays that would no longer be allowed by Code; all those circuits would need to be separate from each other. They would need to be 20A as well; the 1980's GFI circuit was usually 15A.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:57 PM   #8
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
In the 80s' it was common to run one GFCI protected circuit that included the outdoor outlet(s) bathroom outlets, and garage.
You're right! I traced the other working outdoor receptacle and it's connected to the bathroom GFCIs. But the garage is on a different circuit in my case.

The problematic outlet is still not working even though all breakers are on. I ordered a wire tracer and it should be arriving in a couple days. Hopefully I can trace to where it goes.

Thank you for the guidance. The more information I get from all you guys, the more it helps me narrow down the problem!
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:04 AM   #9
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


So my tracer came in and I traced the wire to another outdoor receptacle (on the opposite side of the house) that was covered up and unused. I opened it up and there was only one 14/2 cable. I followed the tracer and it seems like the wire is running above windows not near any receptacles. I put the tracer near any receptacles to make sure and it didn’t make any noise. The wire does cross-by the breaker but I cant tell whats going on around there because of interference in the signal. I’m perplexed.
Does anybody have any idea what's going on? Thanks everyone
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:25 AM   #10
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


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Originally Posted by HomeownerSOS View Post
So my tracer came in and I traced the wire to another outdoor receptacle (on the opposite side of the house) that was covered up and unused. I opened it up and there was only one 14/2 cable. I followed the tracer and it seems like the wire is running above windows not near any receptacles. I put the tracer near any receptacles to make sure and it didnt make any noise. The wire does cross-by the breaker but I cant tell whats going on around there because of interference in the signal. Im perplexed.
Does anybody have any idea what's going on? Thanks everyone
Have you opened the breaker box to see if there is a wire there disconnected for some reason.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:59 AM   #11
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


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Have you opened the breaker box to see if there is a wire there disconnected for some reason.
I have and there are no disconnected wires
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:04 PM   #12
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


My coworker mentioned that it might be a hooked up to a light switch. That would explain only seeing one 14/2 cable in both outdoor boxes. There is a light switch in the laundry room (when entering the house through the garage, the laundry room is the first room). I'll check out that switch.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:20 PM   #13
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


UPDATE:
I checked the two outdoor box wires for continuity and there is. I twisted the black and white together at one box and went to the other box and placed the multimeter on the wires and the multimeter starting beeping.

I tried daisy chaining from an adjacent outlet with a gfci receptacle and installed a non-gfci receptacle at the original mystery outlet. Installed the black and white from the daisy chained outlet into LINE. I installed the mystery wire 14/2 into LOAD. I switch the power back on and it gfci activates. I can't reset it. If I unplug the LOAD wires, the gfci works fine. So, I guess theres a short circuit somewhere? I’m not entirely sure what else it could mean. What could I be missing?
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:35 PM   #14
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


If you're describing that the GFCI receptacle is feeding the mystery "missing" receptacle, but connecting it causes the GFCI to trip, then it sounds like the wiring between the receptacles is somehow compromised and faulting to ground.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:51 PM   #15
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Re: Purchases 1980 home. Exterior outlet not working


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
If you're describing that the GFCI receptacle is feeding the mystery "missing" receptacle, but connecting it causes the GFCI to trip, then it sounds like the wiring between the receptacles is somehow compromised and faulting to ground.
Sorry let me be more specific. I fed one of the mystery boxes(there are two that show continuity) from a regular receptacle. I installed a GFCI in mystery box 1. I installed a regular receptacle in mystery box 2. Power on, GFCI trips. Unplug box 2, it works fine. I think your answer still applies but I wanted to clarify if it sheds anymore light on the problem


That's depressing news. I followed the line in the attic(using a wire tracer) and it looks like one continuous wire. I followed it as far as I could until the vaulted ceiling and/or it went down the wall. Is it possible that one of the staples that's holding the wire against the joist punctured the wire? Would that cause a short?

It's really odd that neither boxes had a second hole punched out for a second 14/2 wire.

Last edited by HomeownerSOS; 06-19-2019 at 11:59 PM. Reason: added text
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