External Outlets Not Working
LESLIE: Now we’re going to have an electrical question from Lee in Tennessee.
Lee, how can we help?
LEE: Well, I appreciate you taking my call. The outlets on the outside of my house – and it’s only a five-year-old house – the outlets on the outside of the house universally do not work. I’ve checked the fuse box. I’ve checked every GFI ground switch I can find and nothing seems to help. Now when I first moved into the house, they did work but since, each and every one has gone dead.
LEE: Can you give me any suggestions on what I need to check?
TOM: Yeah. If it’s a newer house, all the outside outlets will be on a ground fault circuit and typically the most common place to find that ground fault is in an outlet in the garage. Do you have an outlet in the garage that has a test and reset button?
LEE: OK, well I’ll check it for that but I’ve got several outlets in the garage.
TOM: Only one of them is going to have a test and reset button on it and it will control all the garage outlets and all of the outside outlets. That will be a very common installation. Other places to check for ground fault of course would be all of the bathroom outlets, but in most newer homes you have a ground fault outlet in the garage that controls the outside outlets as well as the garage outlets because they’re all in the exterior, then you have another ground fault outlet that’s probably in one of the bathrooms. And it looks like a regular plug except that it has a test and a reset button in it. Reset that, then check those outlets. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
LEE: OK, I appreciate that information. That’s where I’ll go next.
TOM: Alright, Lee, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.