Porch outlets are dead.....how to troubleshoot?


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Old 12-19-23, 08:46 AM
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Porch outlets are dead.....how to troubleshoot?

I'm stumped. I have two porches, a front and rear. Both share the same breaker and both are dead.
The breaker is a GFI and also supplies power to one of the upstairs bathroom outlet that is the only GFI. This outlet IS working and will power the wife's hairdryer with no issues. Tripping / resetting does not help.
The two outlets outside are dead.
I pulled the main house breaker box cover and the wiring to the load side of the breaker are tight ( high desert here, no corrosion )
The wiring runs inside of the walls of the house and no junction boxes are visible.
The outlets were working a few months ago. Nothing has been plugged into them that would trip a safety device. Last used as LED party lights 15 Watts.
Ten years ago I clearly marked the breaker as controlling the porch outlets
How can I troubleshoot where the power was lost when thee wiring is inside of the walls of the house?
 
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Old 12-19-23, 09:29 AM
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It sounds like the porches are connected downstream of the bathroom since power is getting that far. I would start by removing the outlet covers on the porch and check the wires to see if power is getting there, indicating two bad outlets or loose connections. You can also remove the cover of the bathroom outlet and check it's connections. A loose wire there would stop power from going downstream to the porch outlets.
 
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Old 12-20-23, 12:47 PM
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Thank you. I will check those.
 
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Old 12-20-23, 04:35 PM
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There should not be GFI receptacles on a GFI breaker.

You will need to pull out the GFI receptacle to see if there are only two wires on it or four.
If there are two wires on LINE and two wires on LOAD.... your outdoor recps may come from there.

Since you can trip and reset the GFI recp. the power is good to that recp.
 
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Old 12-21-23, 12:42 AM
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Time to "Monthly Test" ALL GFCIs in the house. You may find one of this circuit you did not know you had. Doesn't matter where it may be I would test them all in the house to start with.

I just recently had a past customer of mine (before I retired) call me and tell me their porch receptacles were out. I told them to test all of the gfcis in the house. They said they did. Got there, after I tested all of the GFCIs in the house the GFCI in the main floor bathroom on the other end of the house was in fact tripped and magically the porch receptacles had power. They are in their 80's so I was very polite and she offered me lunch as usual. He put a $100 bill on the table for me and I pushed it back to him said "Thanks". They gave me a lot of work before I retired so this was more of a favor. The only live 5 minutes from me.
 
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Old 12-22-23, 08:37 PM
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I checked all the wiring at the receptacles and found no issues.
I then checked every GFI outlet in the house and I did find a GFI tripped in the downstairs 1/2 bath room. The outlet is never used.
For some reason when the house was built, both porches are on that one GFI outlet?
The breaker the two weather proof porch outlets go to is a normal 20 amp type. It does have a GFI sticker placed on the top of the breaker near the lever.
The breaker box door was mislabeled ( imagine that ) and I printed up a new one that is now correct.
Thank you for all the help.
Merry Christmas
 
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Old 12-23-23, 08:02 PM
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Great you got it all worked out.


I work in a condo association where the units were wired with one GFI receptacle in typically the upstairs bathroom. That GFI ran two bathrooms, two outside receptacles, one or two garage receptacles and a basement receptacle. The alarm system would plug into the basement receptacle. The doorbell transformer was connected to the basement receptacle. If the alarm stopped working I'd ask the homeowner if the doorbell was working.
 
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