Porch outlet stopped working

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Old 12-28-12, 10:51 AM
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Porch outlet stopped working

My Christmas lights are plugged into a power strip with an on and off switch. I have very few lights. It worked fine for 2 weeks and then all of a sudden nothing works. The breakers aren't tripped. The strip works fine on other outlets. Some of the answers in previous posts say to check the "GFI outlet." I'm a first time home owner and don't have a clue what you mean by GFI or GFCI. Please explain and tell me my options to resolve the problem. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 10:58 AM
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This is a GFCI receptacle. All outside receptacles should be GFCI protected but in older home the actual GFCI receptacle protecting it could be almost anywhere, even hid behind something that hasn't been moved in years. In some cases it may be a GFCI breaker. A GFCI breaker will have a test button.
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Old 12-28-12, 11:45 AM
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GFCI breaker

The house was built in 2005. The only thing I could find that remotely looked like this was on the back porch. It resets the outlet out there. I pushed the reset button but still nothing on the front porch. Could this GFCI be behind a light switch plate?
 
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Old 12-28-12, 12:20 PM
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Could this GFCI be behind a light switch plate?
No, but it could be in a bathroom, garage, basement, attic, or on the outside of the house. It could be behind something and you don't even realize it is there.

Tripped breakers don't usually look tripped. Did you turn every 15a and 20a single pole breaker all the way off then on?
 
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Old 12-28-12, 01:55 PM
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Since my front porch receptacle is controlled from a GFCI in the garage (30' away from the porch), keep looking. They seem to hide them in the darndest places.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 02:39 PM
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HI I finally found the GFCI outlet in the back of my closet! I pushed the button and the light when on on the GFCI but the porch outlet still doesn't work. So I tried the porch outlet with the GFCI light turned off. Nothing on the porch outlet. What next?
 
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Old 12-28-12, 02:49 PM
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You need to check the connections at the GFCI and the porch receptacles are tight. If the porch receptacle has the wires inserted into holes in the back of the receptacle the wires need to be moved to the screws. This does not apply to the GFCI which may appear to be the same but is actually back wired not back stabbed. The GFCI's back wire is a metal plate that the screws apply pressure to and is good. A back stab such as the regular receptacle sometimes has relies only on a light spring and is less reliable.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 03:16 PM
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This is going to be way too advanced for me. I'm a female senior citizen and got lost at the first wires and holds and screws. Thanks anyway.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 03:32 PM
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I'm senior to so that's no excuse. Just ask me for better explanations of what you don't understand.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 03:34 PM
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How do I check the connections at the GFCI. I'm not sure what the "connections" are. Also, should the light on the GFCI be off or on?
 
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Old 12-28-12, 03:44 PM
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To check the connection at the GFCI turn off the breaker, remove the cover plate from the GFCI. Then remove the two screws holding the GFCI and gently pull it out. With a screwdriver try tightening each of the screws on the sides of the GFCI. Give each of the wires a tug to make sure they are being held in place. Replace the receptacle and turn on the breaker.

Also, should the light on the GFCI be off or on?
That varies with the manufacturer. Plug a lamp into the GFCI and see which allows the lamp to work.
 
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