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The 15amp outlet(was not GFCI) outside my home on the porch stopped working. When I pulled it out to replace it with a 15amp GFCI outlet I noticed both wires were inserted into the top and bottom holes where only the white wire was supposed to be.also what looked to be the broken off tips of two more wires,were inserted into the other two holes.There is only one white,one Grey and one non insulated ground wire coming from the wall.i replaced with 15amp GFCI outlet,still no luck

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    Hi Tommy. I would expect that the outlet you replaced was in fact protected by gfci. How old is your apartment building? If the outlet is outside, there should be another outlet that is providing gfci protection; or maybe a breaker in your electrical panel. Are you able to provide a picture?
    – Edwin
    Jan 12 at 6:16
  • Take a picture of your electrical panel too. Make sure you’re close enough to see all the breakers.
    – Lee Sam
    Jan 12 at 7:09
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    If you're in the US and "apartment" means that you're renting, you're not legally allowed to mess with the electrical system. It's one thing to start a fire and burn down your single-family residence. It's a whole 'nother 'nother to burn down many family's homes. Call the landlord/super/maintenance folks and have them take care of this. Absolutely look over the guy's shoulder so you can learn, and, if he's friendly enough, ask questions, but don't DIY electrical in a rental.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 12 at 12:27
  • Wow thank you I was unaware of that. I am in the US. My landlord is pretty old, owns my condo/unit and has given me a really good deal on rent for the almost nine years I've rented from her. So when things in the past have needed to be replaced I've always felt the right thing to do is take care of it myself eg.Door locks,garbage disposal,leaky toilet,kitchen faucet I've always replaced them myself.once again I didn't want to trouble her at all and did not anticipate running into any complications. But I admit I didn't think about how severe the consequences could be if I did this wrong. Jan 12 at 13:16
  • But I admit I didn't think about how severe the consequences could be if I did this wrong. Believe me I felt like I just got punched in the gut while reading your comment and realized the risk I was taking so thank you for opening my eyes to that fact Jan 12 at 13:16

1 Answer 1

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The 15amp outlet(was not GFCI)

Because most likely, it was protected by a GFCI device somewhere else. (did you know GFCI's could do that?)

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Anyway, the "I'm not going to use any of those stupid blue labels" person has struck again. The Electrical Code requires that receptacle to have been marked with a "GFCI Protected" sticker, which would have clued you into search for a GFCI breaker or receptacle somewhere else which has tripped.

Replacing the receptacle is a lost cause until you get the power working at that location. You are ignoring the core problem and fixing something else altogether, and hoping "fixing that" will "fix this". It's like changing the oil on your car and expecting the flat tire to just re-inflate itself.

what looked to be the broken off tips of two more wires,were inserted into the other two holes.

The "holes" are the notorious "backstabs", which cause many circuit failures due to their unreliability, and we discourage it. Faulty backstabs here or elsewhere might have a role in the problem. But the "GFCI elsewhere" theory is more likely.

Given the weak practice of using backstabs, it's not surprising to see the also-weak practice of cutting off wires in backstabs (instead of twisting and pulling them out). Don't do that; wire length is precious and you can't afford to waste 1" every time you swap a receptacle. Code minimum is 6" beyond the sheath and 3" beyond the wall surface, so a lot of people see 8" and think "I have 8" to spare", no, you have 2" to spare.

The evidence suggests someone was already in here trying to troubleshoot this problem, and since it worked for you, clearly the problem was elsewhere then. It's probably elsewhere now.

Again hunt down that GFCI. And this time, install the Code-mandatory markings that say "GFCI Protected"! That way next time it happens, you'll go "oh, that's right".

Once you discover the outlet is GFCI protected, put a plain receptacle there and use the side screws or the "screw-and-clamp" on better receptacles.

Take the GFCI back, or put it on a circuit that doesn't have any.

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  • It strongly appears that the OP is in a rental in the US, making DIY work illegal. While your answer is correct, you may want to consider deleting it so as to not encourage illegal DIY behavior.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 12 at 13:12
  • @Harper - Reinstate Monica, not questioning your statement, just looking for a bit of clarification. Should those GFCI stickers be on EVERY outlet, or only those that are not in close proximity to the GFCI outlet they're connected to? I'm thinking of a bathroom or kitchen countertop with multiple outlets, all fed out of a single GFCI on the same wall, and visible. Do all of the downstream outlets (even those only a couple feet away) need the stickers, where one could see/hear a tripped GFCI? Just wondering what the code itself says for situations like this.
    – Milwrdfan
    Jan 12 at 14:49
  • @FreeMan Is there really national law that prohibits non-licensed electrical work to be performed on non-owner/occupied structures, or is that just another thing left to the State/Local Jurisdiction? Maybe a question for the Law site.
    – Edwin
    Jan 20 at 6:42
  • Sounds like a good question for Law, @Edwin. I don't know if it's stated in NEC or if it's an addition most locales make when adopting NEC into law.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 20 at 12:57
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    @milwrdfan every outlet. Because you aren't going to hear it click over ambient noise like a TV or the hair dryer that tripped the GFCI :) The sticker does not have to be ugly and blue or even be a sticker; it just has to be not handwritten. I use white sockets/cover plates and white labels from a label maker, which also state the reset location. It looks professional and tasteful. Jan 20 at 19:48

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