I have a panel circuit with a 20A breaker. This circuit has 4 regular outlets and 1 20A GFCI outlet wired at the end of the circuit. The GFCI outlet is 15 years old and is an outside receptacle with the rest of the circuit is located inside my garageenter image description here. The GFCI outlet has 1 wire with a Black and White conductor (+Grd). While running an extension cord to this GFCI outlet to temporarily run my Pool Pump, the GFCI tripped (Faulty Extension cord confirmed). The entire series of outlets also lost power although the Panel breaker (20A) did not trip. The GFCI will not reset either. (Diagram included) Will replacing the GFCI correct my no power issue for the entire circuit?

  • If the outlets were wired in series like old Christmas light bulbs that would happen. As a thought for you when you replace this outlet, either A) replace the breaker with a GFCI breaker and put in a regular (but Weather Resistant) outlet outside, or B) replace the next to last outlet with a new GFCI outlet and put in a regular WR breaker outside. The GFCIs will last much longer indoors than out. I think many here will be quite surprised to discover that your outdoor GFCI has lasted this long!
    – FreeMan
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:04
  • BTW- well done for your first question. Including the diagram is helpful and something most folks don't think of doing without prompting! While you're waiting for an answer (not just a comment), take the tour and read through the help center so you can learn to get the most from the site & its format.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:05
  • The GFCI is most certainly miswired. So even with the extension cord removed it won't reset? That suggests quite possibly a loose or failed ground wire connection. Jun 30, 2020 at 14:27
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    @CarlWitthoft GFCIs do not use ground (GFCI receptacles have a connection so they can pass it on - notice how GFCI breakers do not connect to ground). It's legal to install GFCI receptacles (in certain cases) without any ground connection and label them "no equipment ground" and they will still work just fine.
    – nobody
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:35
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    Backstabs on a 20 amp circuit never have been legal. If all the receptacles are out I would double check the first one then go back to the panel With failures like this it is the last working receptacle or the first dead one, since the string is bad the breaker or neutral connection is bad if the first receptacle is ok. Code doesn’t require updating for redundant GFCI’s and this can cause problems code covers new installs.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 30, 2020 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


No, it will not.

In fact, there’s probably nothing wrong with the GFCI.

What happened is you temporarily overloaded the circuit due to said munged extension cord, and this overload blew a fuse in one of the other receptacles.

OK, “fuse” is the wrong word, obviously receptacles do not have fuses... but it fails exactly the same way. One of the receptacles has a poor connection. The overload of the extension cord burned the connection out.

Find the bad connection

The most likely cause is “back-stab” connections - where the wire is jabbed into a hole in the back of the recep. (Mind you those should never be used on a 20A circuit). It can also happen from a loose screw connection.

Go to each recep, identify any backstabs, forcibly pull and twist them out, and search them for burn or spalling marks. If you find one, gotcha! Move that wire to the side screw by stripping a little more insulation off and shaping it into a J-hook to go around the screw. Set it clockwise so the screw tightens not spreads the wire.

Then move the GFCI so it does protect the downline

The sockets on a GFCI are on the LOAD side of the GFCI - they are in the protected zone. You can put other connections in the protected zone; just attach them to the LOAD terminals of the GFCI. That is the only thing LOAD should ever be used for; all other connections should be to LINE.

So, relocate this GFCI recep to one of the indoor outlets. That will get it out of the weather and make it last a lot longer. The closer to the panel it is, the more it will protect - but don’t allow a refrigerator or freezer, fire alarm, sump pump or radon pump to be on GFCI protection, as they are safety devices. Other than that, garage outlets should be on GFCI if possible.

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