I just had my house pressure washed and my power to my bathroom does not work. The breaker for my bathroom/outside receptacle did not trip. I replaced the outside outlet and the electric still didn't work.

I believe the gfci in the main bathroom tripped, but I couldn't reset it because whoever painted my house painted over the electrical covers. So, I replaced 2 switches and 2 outlets in the main bathroom. Turned the power back on and by golly it reset. There was a dim light from the led light bulb and the lights were lit on the switches I bought. However, when I went to flip the switch to turn on the light it didn't turn on.

I tried to look online and I remembered something about the tab on the outlets and when I replaced the outlets in other rooms I broke the bridge on the hot side. So, I did that in my bathroom outlets and when I turned the power back on I had no dim light or the lights on my switches.

I'm so close, what did I do wrong?

  • 3
    You're the second person today to try snapping off the tabs to "see if it would solve" an electrical problem. You should only break the tabs if the tabs were broken on the old outlet. In fact, for this reason I don't recommend replacing outlets "just in case". Further, if you wire the outlets with backstabs, you can make matters worse. When you fix the outlets, turn on some loads, and see if the outside outlet is getting warm. Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 4:09
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Is there anything else you can tells us (e.g. a diagram of all this wiring)? And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


The problem may still be at the outdoor outlet

It's not unusual for the breaker to fail to trip. It detects excessive current only (or GFCI or AFCI if equipped), it is not a detector-all.

You will probably need to turn off the breaker and take a closer look at the outside receptacle. It needs to be inspected due to its role in the circuit. If it is a GFCI receptacle, it is very easy to hook up LINE and LOAD incorrectly, causing it and everything downline to go dead. (hook up LINE only; make sure the GFCI works fully; then hook up LOAD if you want that particular feature).

Is the outdoor outlet a GFCI?

From your description, this outside receptacle feeds the bathroom. It's quite possible it is a GFCI receptacle, since GFCI protection is now required for outside receptacles, and a GFCI receptacle is one way to do that. That would be important because GFCI receptacles can protect downline loads (which you say your bathroom is). Bathroom receptacles need GFCI more than any other location, so it's quite possible this outdoor GFCI is set up to protect your bathroom sockets. It could be as simple as resetting this outdoor GFCI, which may have been tripped by the power wash.

However, having your bathroom GFCI device outdoors is inconvenient at best. If this is a GFCI, you might want to attach the onward wires to the LINE terminals, not use LOAD at all, and get another GFCI receptacle to protect the bathroom.

  • Actually, in this particular case it may be that the outside receptacles where deliberately placed on the LOAD side of the bathroom GFCI in order to provide GFCI protection as required. That goes against "bathrooms get their own dedicated circuits" but that is, IMHO, a usability issue where the GFCI (bathroom & outside) is a life safety issue. Switching to the LINE side would eliminate the outside GFCI protection - thus requiring an outside GFCI which is more likely to have problems with weather (let alone power washing). Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 2:21
  • @manassehkatz OP says power comes to the outdoor outlet first, then the bathroom. The bathroom receptacle plainly does not have a "GFCI protected" sticker since those stickers have never been used by anyone, ever. I would bet at some point the homeowner got written up for no GFCI in the bathroom, and one was installed. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 3:01
  • 2
    Not so clear to me that it is "outdoor outlet first, then the bathroom". It is clear that they are on the same circuit, but that's the only part of the question that is clear. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 3:27

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