Story: purchased a home built in 1980. One of the exterior outlets was missing. As in, just exposed wiring (ground, white, black). I installed a new receptacle but it doesn't work. Theres an interior outlet nearby but not exactly opposite of the problem exterior outlet. I checked out the interior outlet and it has two sets of wiring thats daisy chained but It seems to be chained to an adjacent interior outlet. (Tested by unhooking the black wire and an adjacent interior outlet stopped working). Anybody have any idea what the problem could be? I don’t know how exterior outlets are wired(straight to circuit breaker?). If anybody has any insight, I would be grateful! Thank you for your time!

  • 2
    Is there a tripped GFCI somewhere? Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 20:58
  • Unfortunately, not Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 21:29
  • Was the wiring literally exposed? Or was it capped with wire nuts and covered with a blank plate? If it was literally exposed then it is quite possible that for safety's sake the other end of the wires (either at another receptacle, at the main breaker panel or some other junction box) were disconnected. Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 22:00
  • The wires were exposed but tucked into the box neatly. I took a look at the breaker panel and it doesnt look like anything is disconnected. I’m starting to think the previous owner possible cut it to use for another purpose? That would just be weird though Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 22:06
  • 1
    Be sure the outlet you installed is GFCI. Look for a switch in the house that controls the outlet. Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


The fact of the wires being left in the box but not capped is practically proof that they are not hooked up to anything on the other end.

The reason is, no sane person would energize wires that are just tucked into a box without capping. In fact I believe energizing a set of wires to nothing is a code violation, even if they are capped. Which they are not.

So it'll be a bit of a bug hunt to find the other end of this cable.

  • Sounds like youre right. Just ordered a wire tracer. We’ll see where this rabbit leads me Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 22:09

In 1980, a single GFCI was commonly used for all bathroom outlets as well as exterior outlets. In other words, you probably have only one GFCI for the house. If this is the case and the bathroom outlets are live, then the wires feeding your exterior outlet are probably disconnected. Start looking in the outlet boxes in your bathrooms for disconnected wires.

  • There is a backyard outlet that is connected to the same circuit as the bathroom. It works...but the other outdoor one does not. I checked the boxes and they look all connected. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 15:09
  • my tracer came in and I traced the wire to another outdoor receptacle (on the opposite side of the house) that was covered up and unused. I opened it up and there was only one 14/2 cable. I followed the tracer and it seems like the wire is running above windows not near any receptacles. I put the tracer near any receptacles to make sure and it didn’t make any noise. The wire does cross-by the breaker but I cant tell whats going on around there because of interference in the signal. I’m perplexed. Do you have any idea? Thank you Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 15:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.