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Ask John Outdoor Outlet Main Image

Why Isn’t My Outdoor Electrical Outlet Working?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Don’t Panic if You Find Your Outdoor Electrical Outlet Is Not Working

Most houses have at least one outdoor outlet you’ll find around the house. Outdoor outlets are an essential feature of modern homes, designed to make it more convenient to power devices and appliances while you’re outside. But like indoor outlets, an outdoor electrical outlet not working is a common occurrence.

Outdoor electrical outlets are incredibly useful for powering the garden lights, holiday decorations, entertainment setups, power tools, and others that you have set up in your outdoor space. It would suck to have an outdoor outlet not working, so here we will guide you through potential reasons behind this issue and what to do about it.

Outdoor Outlet Not Working
If your power tools aren’t working properly, it could be an issue with your outdoor outlet.

Potential Causes of an Outdoor Electrical Outlet Not Working

Power Source Interruptions

If you want to know the reason behind an outdoor electrical outlet not working, it’s crucial to confirm whether the outlet is receiving electricity or not before you dig into complicated electrical problems.

First, make sure that the circuit breaker for your house is not tripped. Look for the corresponding circuit breaker in the electrical panel and reset it if necessary. If the breaker trips frequently, you may need a licensed electrician to deal with a specific issue.

Faulty Wiring

Outdoor outlets can potentially stop functioning due to wiring faults. The flow of electricity might be hampered by damaged or frayed wires, faulty connections, or even rodent activity. If you have experience working with electrical systems, you can carefully examine the wiring of the outlet. To evaluate and fix any electrical issues, it’s safer to enlist the assistance of a certified electrician if you lack knowledge.

Overloaded Circuit

Outdoor outlets and interior outlets sometimes share circuits, and if too many devices are using the power at once, the circuit may get overloaded. This may result in the circuit breaker tripping or specific outlets not working. Consider dividing your gadgets among several outlets to avoid overloading and prevent the exterior outlet from not working.

Tripped GFCI

One of the possible reasons for an outside outlet not working is a tripped Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI). Many outdoor outlets have GFCI installed to prevent electric shocks. These devices keep an eye on the circuit’s electrical current and trip if they notice a ground fault, which can happen if moisture or water enters the outlet.

If your outdoor GFCI outlet is not working, you should check if the GFCI has tripped or not. If it did, restart the power by pressing the “Reset” button on the outlet. If the GFCI outlet trips again right away, there may be moisture intrusion, a defective appliance plugged into the outlet, or a GFCI issue.

Faulty Outlet Receptacle

Sometimes, a bad outlet receptacle alone can be the reason behind the outside plug not working. The receptacle itself may have deteriorated over time, resulting in inadequate contact with the plug of the appliance you’re trying to use. If so, changing the outlet to a new one should resolve the problem.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, has provided a list of common reasons your outdoor electric outlet could be faulty as well as the best way to address the issue.

Pest Disturbance

One of the possible causes of an outdoor electrical outlet not working is the presence of pests. Electrical parts and wiring are known to attract pests like rodents and insects. They might build nests or gnaw on cables, disrupting the flow of electricity and breaking down your outside outlet.

If you suspect this is a problem with your outdoor outlet, you should examine the outlet and its surroundings carefully. Look for evidence of damage or nests if you think there is insect intervention. After dealing with the insect problem, you should fix or replace any damaged parts or the whole outlet if necessary.

Incorrect Wiring Installation

Mistakes, such as improper wire installation, can occur during the construction or restoration of your home. It’s possible that your outlet might not work as intended if it was not initially wired correctly.

This could involve bad connections, a polarity that is inverted, or other wiring mistakes. If you have any reason to believe that this is the case, you should get a licensed electrician to examine and fix the wiring.

Fuse or Circuit Breaker Issues

It is important to check the fuses in your electrical panel in addition to the circuit breaker. A blown fuse can occasionally make an outlet unusable. If you find any, replace them with ones that are the right size and type. If the issue still is present, an underlying electrical problem may exist that requires expert care.

Power Outages or Grid Issues

Sometimes, the problem may not even be with your outdoor outlet, but rather with your home’s power source. Your outlets’ inability to supply energy can be caused by power outages, grid maintenance, or utility problems.

In these situations, you should get in touch with your neighborhood utility company, or look for widespread power outages in your area. They might help you figure out what’s wrong with your outlet and resolve the problem.

Age and Wear

Outdoor outlets have a lifespan just like all other electrical components. If your outdoor outlet is quite old, wear and tear could be affecting its performance. To ensure dependable power distribution, think about replacing the outlet with a modern one.

Weather Exposure

Electrical outlets outside are susceptible to weather conditions like rain, snow, and chilly temperatures. The outlet, the wire, and any attached devices may become corroded as a result of this exposure over time.

If the outdoor outlet stopped working, you should check it for evidence of rust, corrosion, or other obvious damage. If you see any, it’s advisable to either replace the outlet or hire a licensed electrician to inspect and fix the problem.

Troubleshooting an outdoor electrical outlet not working involves a range of factors. Possible causes could include faulty wiring, pest disturbance, faulty receptacles, incorrect wiring installation, power outages, and more.

Weathered Outdoor Outlet
Old and weathered exterior power sockets are more likely to fail.

Faulty Outdoor Outlet FAQs

Can I reset a tripped outdoor GFCI outlet myself?

Yes, you can reset a tripped outdoor GFCI outlet yourself. First, locate the outlet then open the cover. Press the “Reset” button next. If the outlet remains in “reset,” then it should be working again. But if it immediately trips again, there could be an underlying issue that needs to be investigated by a licensed electrician.

My indoor outlets are working, but the outdoor outlet isn’t. What’s the possible reason why this is the case?

Outdoor outlets are usually connected to indoor GFCI outlets in the same circuit. If the indoor GFCI outlet trips, the outdoor outlets might be affected as well. You should check the indoor outlets and reset any that have tripped. Also, there might be a wiring issue with the outdoor outlet. If this is the case, you should have it addressed by a professional.

Can I replace the outdoor outlet myself?

If you have experience working with electrical systems, then yes, you can try replacing a faulty outdoor outlet yourself. But if you’re not familiar with electrical work, it’s safer to let a professional electrician handle it. Electrical work can be dangerous and if the outlet is improperly installed, you could be risking your safety.

How can I protect my outdoor outlets from weather damage?

There are various ways, such as using weatherproof outlet covers. These covers can shield the outlet from rain, snow, and other elements. With them, you can reduce the risk of water damage. It also helps to seal any gaps around the outlet box using either outdoor caulk or silicone, preventing water from entering.

Is it safe to continue using other outdoor outlets if one of them is faulty?

If you think one of the outdoor outlets has a problem, it’s a good idea to turn off the power to that outlet and refrain from using it until you’ve resolved the problem. We also recommend exercising caution and not using any outdoor outlets connected to the same circuit as the faulty outlet in the meantime. This will help ensure your safety and prevent further damage.

Hire a Local Electrical Expert

When you find your outside electrical outlet not working, be sure to investigate further to prevent the issue from escalating. However, remember to prioritize your safety at all times. And if you’re unsure what to do next, don’t hesitate to contact a professional. using the phone number or form on this page.

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