My "Family Room Receptacles" have lost power. 6 total that I believe are all on the same breaker. I can not locate a GFCI anywhere. I have reset the breaker which also did not restore power. What should my next steps be in troubleshooting? Is it possible the breaker has gone bad? The house was built in 2001.

1/9/17 - Update: I've found two more receptacles on the exterior of my house that have also lost power. One of them is a GFCI and I am not able to reset it. Given the location of this socket, it appears that it may be the 1st in the chain of receptacles going through my living room that have lost power. What are the chances that 2 exterior outlets are wired in with 6 interior outlets? I can not locate a breaker in the box for the exterior outlets so I can only assume they are wired in with one of the interior lines. I only have a glow stick but can get the one suggested and begin checking for power from there.

  • Did you turn the breaker off and then back on? Sometimes the breakers may not look like they've tripped but they actually have. And are those 6 receptacles the only ones on the breaker, or are there more that still have power?
    – mmathis
    Jan 9, 2018 at 13:15
  • I've reset every breaker and the main breaker. That did not fix my problem. I did find two more outlets not working on the exterior of my house. One is a GFCI and I can not reset it.
    – RedBeard
    Jan 9, 2018 at 14:49
  • Background information: Should a GFCI interrupt the entire circuit? May 21, 2019 at 14:17

5 Answers 5


Outside gfci's do go bad replace the one that won't reset with a weather resistant model it should have WR stamped on the face the electronics are coated so they last longer. While you are getting the new WR GFCI outlet pick up a extra heavy duty cover (sometimes called an in use cover) this will protect the outlet from the elements and the WR rating protects from fog and dew that wipes out the non rated gfci's over time.


Start replacing non-working receptacles. The new receptacles are much better quality. Also you might consider a slightly more expensive receptacle. You will find the problem child. It is one of those six.

Also look for a wall switch that has gotten turned off.


Do you have a voltage tester? Not a glow stick but or a multimeter just a contact type voltage tester like this.

If so you can begin testing the circuit at the circuit breaker in the panelboard and continue through the circuit until you find the problem. This will require knowledge of the layout of the circuit so you will need to trace the cable or conduit as it goes from the panel to the receptacles. You will be testing from the hot wire to the neutral or ground just looking for the presence of power.

Circuit breakers can go bad over time just as any part of the circuit can. Before replacing things hoping that fixes the problem you should determine what the problem actually is.

WARNING! Testing live circuits is potentially dangerous and if you feel this is beyond your expertise then call a reputable electrician.

  • I only have a glow stick but can get a voltage tester. I've updated my question with some new information that may help you better diagnose my issue. I found two more circuits outside, one is a GFCI. I am unable to reset this, or so I think. I am not hearing any type of click as I do with others when I reset the button in the middle.
    – RedBeard
    Jan 9, 2018 at 14:51

Breakers may occasionally go bad after tripping, I once had one burn the contacts on the inside so that it worked intermittently when reset.

I would suggest getting a tester screwdriver like this [Caution: These could be dangerous]:

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Then remove the cover of your panel and check whether the input and output contacts on your breaker are live.

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If your breaker has input but no output then it has gone bad. Otherwise you have a problem in the wiring further down the circuit.

Electricity is dangerous business, you risk getting electrocuted or starting a fire ... if you don't know what you are doing, call a professional.


External outlets are frequently wired to a bathroom gfci outlet. Try resetting the bathroom or internal gfci outlet which may feed your external outlets.

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