Dead outside outlet

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Old 06-24-11, 12:11 PM
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Dead outside outlet

Was running a circular saw in the front yard and I lost power to the outside plug.I checked my gfci 's ,none were tripped off.I reset them anyway.I looked on every wall and in the attic and made sure there were no more gfci's anywhere.I checked my breaker box in the garage and checked all my breakers,all were good.I bought a new plug and double checked it to make sure everything was hooked up right.I checked for loose wires none were found.All the rest of my plugs and switches work in the house and outside except for this one plug.Any help would be appreciated.
 
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Old 06-24-11, 01:01 PM
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You probably have a loose or burned off wire at the receptacle which feeds this one. That receptacle may seem to work normally because the incoming wires are tight, but there may be a loose connection on its outgoing wires.

Sounds like you got the other bases covered, but it can't hurt to double-check for another GFCI -- sometimes they're in weird spots. Also can't hurt to flip the breaker completely off then back on, sometimes it doesn't look tripped at all but might be tripped on the internal mechanism.
 
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Old 06-24-11, 01:08 PM
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You said you got a new plug. Did you put a new male plug on the end of the saw's cord or did you install a new female receptacle in the wall? Have you checked the outlet with a volt meter or plugged in something different that you know works?

A tripped breaker may only kick the lever slightly over sometimes making it difficult to tell when it's tripped but since everything else is working and you only have one dead outlet I doubt it's a breaker. Have you opened up the dead outlet and checked for voltage/current at the wires? If you have to current on the wires and everything else (you did check everywhere, right?) in the house is working I suspect a broken wire or open connection somewhere. Do you happen to know if most of your wiring goes up the walls and through the attic or down the walls and through the crawl space or basement? I'd go inside and try to find that outlet's wire and trace it wherever it goes. If you find a junction box I would open it up and check for voltage. It could be something simple like a wire nut has come loose. I have found one case in new construction where a conductor was broken inside an otherwise new & good looking piece of wire.
 
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Old 06-24-11, 01:52 PM
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Hello again. Are there any GFCI's on any of the recepticles in the garage? It is easy to overlook that area especially if a recepticle is covered up by something in front of it. There should be at least one out there. I would anyway go around and reset everyone you find again and I am still wondering if somehow you missed one. Just confirming that all of them were checked including any and all in the garage. You have been having a bad week what with the oven first and now this. Often the outside protection is provided by the garage GFCI protection though not always.
 
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Old 06-24-11, 02:38 PM
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I didn't put a new plug on the saw.When it first happened I took a power drill out to the receptacle and it did not turn on.In turn I took the power saw and plugged it in another receptacle and it worked.I ckecked the wires to the outside receptaqcle with a volt meter and it showed nothing.In N Tex and especially homes my age most wiring goes thru the walls from the attic.Because of the soil around here there are no basements.I've checked every receptacle in the house for loose connections and still can't find the cause.
 
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Old 06-24-11, 02:44 PM
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Hello Equinox.I looked at all my GFCI 's and reset them.There are only 2 in the whole house.One in the garage and one in the kitchen and thats it.There are none in the bathrooms or anywhere else.To make sure I went up in the attic and there is not one there either(it's 97 outside and I about melted up there).There is a total of 3 outside plugs for the house.Two in the back and one in the front( inside the front porch).
 
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Old 06-24-11, 03:25 PM
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Are all the outside recepticles now dead or only the one in the front porch area? Having only 2 GFCI's in the house is OK as long as the kitchen and bathrooms are protected along with all outside requirements. I don't think that there are any limits on how many recepticles can be off one by NEC code beyond the normal number of loads per circuit, (12 max) but some manufacturers may recommend no more than 7 loads. If the breakers are all good and the GFCI's are all good, the next step is opening and checking each protected recepticle, looking for additional wire connections coming from them and going to the next load. Check also to see how they are wired, and check power in and out of each of them if they were wired that way. If they are wired with a pigtail as they really should be, check the mar connectors by unscrewing them to ensure that the wires are twisted. If they were wired from the back using those push in connections for example, they sometimes fail. Your attic space must be over 120 today and it is a good place to stay away from. I actually live also in North Texas so I do know how they build them in that area. I am thinking that based on what you have confirmed with the GFCI's and the breakers, your outdoor recepticle supply is a victim of a poor connection inside one of your other protected boxes feeding it. Your attic wiring should be OK unless some wildlife entered and did some damage. Just like your oven situation, you are going to get this sorted out.
 
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Old 06-24-11, 03:45 PM
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The only outside receptacle not working is the one on the front porch.The other two are fine.There is a bedroom receptacle behind the one on the front porch that has connections wired in from the back .I think those wires may be coming from the one on the front porch.The receptacle in the bedroom is working fine but I'll check with a voltage meter .
 
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Old 06-24-11, 08:26 PM
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By wired in the back, do you mean with a pressure plate or backstab?
 
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Old 06-25-11, 02:01 AM
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It could be coming off the bedroom circuit if the house is not wired to current code. You have basically 4 circuits requiring GFCI protection by modern code. Outside including garage, bathroom and 2 in the kitchen if your recepticles there are split as they should be. Are there 3 wires for 2 circuits running into each of the kitchen boxes? That would mean that in theory the outside protection should also be protecting half of each of the kitchen split recepticles. It is fairly normal to find two GFCIs in the kitchen for this reason and easy to reset. I have never seen it any other way in newer homes, but in your case it might be. If the supply wire into the bedroom box is only 2 wire for instance I doubt then that your porch box is protected assuming that is the junction point. How old is your home? Yes check the line connections and how they are wired into the bedroom box. If there is a pigtail take off the wire nuts and check for integrity. If everything is connected through the recepticle check for supply coming out of it as well. I forgot to also ask if you have also checked all lights. Example is there a porch light that might share the same circuit?
 
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Old 06-25-11, 11:37 AM
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Equinox, nothing is allowed on the two small appliance branch circuts, including outside outlets.
 
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Old 06-25-11, 12:11 PM
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Thanks for also letting me know about that Justin. Is that a recent NEC code change as I had a past house built in the mid 90's in Michigan where one outside recepticle was tied in with the kitchen splits by the builder, and another outside recepticle was tied into the bathroom GFCI. In this case if multitim56's house only has one GFCI in the kitchen he either must have another somewhere he didn't find or he does not have split circuits, or if he does only one is protected, or his house is like mine was and somehow they have tied it into the outside service GFCI in past times.
 
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Old 06-25-11, 01:56 PM
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Equinox, the requirement that there be two "small appliance branch circuits" dedicated to ONLY the kitchen, pantry and dining areas has been in place for several decades, at least since the mid 1970s. In the US there is NO requirement that these be a "multi-wire branch circuit" (MWBC), what you are calling a split circuit.

The requirement for 20 ampere GFCI dedicated receptacle circuits in bathrooms is a more recent requirement but I can't state exactly when it was mandated. My own home, built in 1987, has only a 15 ampere circuit to the bathroom receptacles AND it also includes the garage and outside receptacles.

Lastly, as you have surmised, the house in question may have had additional wiring done by someone not following applicable code after initial construction.
 
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Old 06-25-11, 01:58 PM
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Post deleted, Furd posted.
 
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Old 06-25-11, 02:59 PM
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Thanks Furd. I lived in Canada in the past and in the Ontario code kitchen split recepticles as they are called up there have been required for years also so all kitchens at least in the past 35 years there are wired with 3 conductor romex, but I believe they were only 14/3 15 amp. Not sure if that has changed to 12/3 recently or not up there. Anyway the key obviously with the kitchen no matter which way it is done is to have enough sufficiently rated circuits available to handle the appliance loads. I guess the idea of using split recepticles was to allow for a tea kettle and toaster to be pluged into the same recepticle at the same time rather than going with heavier guage wire and breakers and hardware.
 
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Old 06-25-11, 03:08 PM
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Getting back to the O/P's problem Justin earlier asked:
By wired in the back, do you mean with a pressure plate or backstab?
That question needs to be addressed. Back stabs are a known point of failure. If they are backstabbed they need to be moved to the screws. If back wired you need to be sure the pressure plates are tight.
 
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