We had a storm last night (lightning/wind/rain) and this morning the dead front GFCI switch (located in garage) for all the exterior outlets was tripped. The LED is on so the switch is getting power. At first the light was solid red, indicating a fault. I tried resetting it and it immediately trips again. The trip sound seems a bit more like a "pop" than I remember, but this could just be me. After this the light was blinking red. Not sure if that means something different or if its just blinks on a timer then goes solid. So I unplugged everything from the exterior outlets, tried again and it still immediately trips. House is 2 years old, and have not had any electrical problems so far, so I'm hoping this isn't internal wiring.
Hardware store is 30m away so I want to diagnose as much as possible before leaving and buying stuff I don't need.
From my limited experience it seems like this could be...
- Bad GFCI switch
- Bad exterior outlet causing a short
- Something worse
How can I go about testing the exterior outlets with the power off? Would a receptacle tester be able to detect a short with no power? (The prongs of my multimeter unfortuntely wont fit into an outlet, so I may have to get a new device)
I've added and replaced outlets before so I'm comfortable doing the work, I'm just trying to plan out the most efficient way to find the root cause.
Update: Wanted to mention that the circuit has an in-ground electric dog fence and a OTA antenna amplifier on it, which are obvious ways for lightning related surges to enter the system.
Update: The problem was a failed/fried GFCI dead-font switch. My guess is that a surge related to the lightning fried that switch. Following the accepted answers test procedure identified that as the culprit prior to having to open any of the outlets on the circuit. Replaced that switch and all is good.