Outdoor Electrical Outlet Has Stopped Working – What To Check?

Outdoor electrical outlets might stop working for a variety of reasons. The most common issue is the GFCI outlet located outside has tripped and needs to be reset or possibly a main breaker has tripped. If your outdoor outlet has stopped working, follow the information below to troubleshoot the problem to identify and resolve it.

Outdoor Electrical GFCI Outlet Has Stopped WorkingOutdoor GFCI Outlet Has Stopped Working

All Outdoor Outlets Have Stopped Working

Outdoor Outlet Problem: I have 3 outdoor outlets that are located on the outside of my home. 1 outlet is in the front of the house, that I was using, and the other 2 are located in my backyard. The outlets were working until I was mowing the grass with an electric lawnmower. My lawnmower lost power so I unplugged the mower and plugged it into another outside outlet and no have power in the back of my house either. Now all 3 outdoor outlets have stopped working. In the main breaker box all of the breakers are ON and none of the breakers have tripped. I noticed the 3 outdoor outlets have no GFCI as the RESET button is not there, they are just normal outlets. What else can I check to get the electrical outlets on the outside of my house to receive power?

Finding The Tripped GFCI Outlet

First, this may all depend on the age of your home. If a newer home, all outside outlets should be GFCI and you can just reset the tripped outlet from there by pressing the small RESET button on the outlet itself.

If an older home, then most likely the outside outlets are not GFCI and the GFCI outlet that has tripped is located elsewhere in your home. You have to search for it as it could be in the garage, the basement, behind your workbench, near the water heater, in the kitchen, or even in the bathroom.

Once you find the GFCI outlet that has tripped, press the RESET button to turn the power back on to all other outlets that have lost power. Now go test the outside outlets and they should all be working.

Reset The Tripped GFCI Outlet Outside

If all of the outside electrical outlets have stopped working, first check to see if any of the outside outlets are GFCI and have been tripped. Newer homes have GFCI outlets on all outdoor electrical outlets. Check all of your outdoor GFCI outlets to see if one has tripped. If you find one that has tripped press the RESET button to regain power to the outlet.

You may have more outside GFCI outlets than you realize, one near the AC condenser, one near the side of your house near the main breaker box, one near the back patio, one outlet at the very front of your home, and other areas you may not use very often. If any of these are tripped press the RESET button and you should be getting power.


Why are my outdoor outlets not working?

Check The Main Breaker Box

If all of the outside outlets are not tripped, and any inside GFCI outlets that are in line with the outside outlets are not tripped, then check the main breaker box to see if one of the breakers has tripped. Look closely in the breaker box as sometimes it is difficult to see if a breaker has tripped. If you see one breaker that does not look fully in the ON position, slide the breaker from OFF to ON. If the electricians labeled the breakers properly, there may be labeling in the breaker box that tells you “outdoor outlets”. Once you have found the correct tripped breaker and reset it, you should have power to all outdoor outlets.

If you have reset all GFCI outlets and checked the breaker box for a tripped main breaker and still no power to the outlets, there may be an issue with one of the outlets. Have a professional have a look at the issue to troubleshoot it from here. If you know what you are doing, go ahead and test the outlet with a meter to see if a particular outlet has failed.

What Is A GFCI Outlet

A GFCI outlet is a safety feature. A ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI detects an abnormal current and opens the circuit to prevent any type of hazard. When this happens you will need to press the RESET button. You may have had too many things plugged in at once. Use only one high amp item such as an electric lawnmower at a time with outside GFCI outlets or with outlets without GFCI.

More Help With GFCI Outdoor Outlets

Need deeper help with why your outside outlets are not working? Use the comment section below and please let us know how many outlets you have on the outside of your house and what you have done to troubleshoot the issue and someone can assist you. The more info you can provide the better… such as what did you have plugged into the outlet when it lost power and or are your outdoor outlets GFCI protected?

NOTE: If GFCI outlets are outside outlets and you just had heavy rain, the water may have tripped one of the GFCI outlets.


8 thoughts on “Outdoor Electrical Outlet Has Stopped Working – What To Check?”

  1. Helene Masiko

    Two outdoor electrical outlet boxes. One has four outlets the other has two. The two is at the base of my lamppost. The four is on my porch. All worked fine until I recently plugged in extension cord to run my Black & Decker hedge trimmer. When one went out, I switched to the other – then it died. I have reset all breakers. Reset GFCI on lamp post outlets. That one now works (finally!) No GFCI button on the porch. Anything else a 73-year old woman with no electrical experience can try? Than you!

  2. Two outlets one in the front one in the back. One is a GFCI plug in front. Checked the breaker reset the circuit breaker turning off then back on. Both outside plugs don’t work. Hit the reset button on the GFCI plug but it seems to be popped out and does not seem to go back in and lock back in? The electrician miss label the breaker box. Went to remove the plug in front outside the house. Went to remove it and a sparks came from the outlet went and then flicked the miss labeled circuit switch. I got the right one off and removed the GFCI outlet plug. Tried replacing it with another one turned the power back on but neither of the outlets worked. Could it be the circuit breaker fuse to be replaced? Do I need this plug to be a GFCI plug?

  3. ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant

    Amanda,
    The Christmas lights not turning ON outside problem is very common.
    If the outside outlets do not work, and you checked the main breakers, then most common and likely is ONE of your outlets either in the garage, possibly in a bathroom near the garage, or one of the outlets outside has a GFCI that has TRIPPED.
    Inspect all electrical outlets and if any are GFCI, press the reset button and you will get power back on ALL outlets outside and possibly in your garage.
    Here is a picture of a GFCI outlet.

    If the issue is not the GFCI outlets, check the extension cord or the light controller you are using.
    If you have a device that turns on power when it sees it is getting dark, then that may be your issue.
    If you are using a timer to turn on the Christmas lights, check to be sure it is set properly.

    If all else fails, get a different extension cord and test the lights or, test the Christmas lights inside with a power outlet you know works.
    You may have faulty Xmas lights.
    Check the bulbs, you may have Xmas lights that completely turn off if you have one bulb out.
    Please let us know if this helps!
    -RR

  4. We just moved into a home (it was built in 2002) and we were hoping to put our first-ever Christmas lights up outside, however neither of the outlets in the front of the house are working. We aren’t sure why, as we have never used them before. I reset outlets, and that didn’t seem to help. We also checked the breaker box, and nothing was out of order.

  5. I have a 2 week old GFCI outlet and was working fine we plugged in some Christmas lights and they where working fine. The outlet all of a sudden doesn’t work anymore I have checked the breaker and it’s fine. It’s also on my front porch so there is no water whatsoever. I’ve tried resetting the switch but it doesn’t work, could it just be a faulty outlet.

  6. Our home was built in 2016 – I have 3 outdoor power outlets (front porch, backyard and near the outdoor AC units) all 3 of them are not working. There is no breaker than has tripped. There are 2 GFCI’s that I know of – one in master bathroom and the other in the garage next to the breaker box. I turned both of those off and set them back again. But still there is no power. Both the bathroom and garage outlets are working.
    Please help guide me.

  7. Plumbers were using power tools in front of the house and popped a breaker. This killed all 3 outlets outside. But we can’t find anymore GFCI outlets in the house. The kitchen and bathrooms have GFCI control. No breakers tripped in breakerbox. Stumped.

  8. Just ran into this GFCI issue. I’ve got two outlets outside connected to one gcfi breaker which is located in the basement. One of the outlet is working fine but other one sometimes starts working and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve plugged a wyze camera so its always plugged in. I’ve replaced the outlet but theres no power coming in both of the wires. I don’t understand how come it starts working sometimes and most of the times it just doesn’t work. Both outlets are connected via two different wires connected to the same gfci breaker in the basement

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