Front of the house pressure washed. Water got in the 2 outlets outside that caused the living room breaker to trip. We waited 24hrs for it to dry out. Nothing. Replaced with a new breaker and still no power in the living room or porches. Its been over 48hrs and its still not working.

  • You should replace the outside outlets (with some with RCD if you're in the US). Also check the light fixtures outside, those may well be flooded.
    – DDS
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 12:58
  • 6
    Did you open the outside outlets so they could actually dry, or just wait?
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 13:03
  • What you mean by nothing? The breaker won't turn on or no power at the outlets? Is there any GFCI outlets on the circuit? Outside outlets are suppose to be protected by GFCI, Outdoor GFCI outlets are known to fail sooner than indoor GFCIs.
    – crip659
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 13:15
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    We opened the outlets and took the bulbs out of the porch lights.
    – user157003
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 13:15
  • 23
    Did the breaker have a "test" button on it? If so, it's GFCI. You have a simple cause/effect issue here. The house got pressure washed and now some electrical doesn't work. The obvious place to start is with all outdoor fixtures and outlets. Are the outdoor outlets GFCI? Somebody who didn't know what they were doing might have wired some inside outlets/fixtures from the load side of the GFCI. Based on the symptoms, you have water in your outdoor fixtures and/or outlets. Lastly breakers seldom fail, you are throwing parts at this without a proper diagnosis. Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 13:31

3 Answers 3


Hire an Electrician

It's time to get a licensed pro to fix this.

Yes, this is a DIY forum, but for someone who only knows to wait 24 hours and then replace a circuit breaker, it's time to get real help. At the very least, the exterior portions of the circuit need to be disassembled and inspected. If the cables were submerged or otherwise water damaged, they might need to be replaced.

  • 5
    Yep, throwing parts at problems without a proper diagnosis is problematic. It happens A LOT repairing cars, even socalled professional mechanics will do that. I've helped others fix cars after the "pros" worked on them and charged hundreds of $$$ and have too many horror stories to get into here. Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 13:34
  • 2
    You might have simply disconnected the wire from the old breaker, to see if it stays on by itself. If it does, and pops when you connect the wire, it is almost certainly working perfectly. There are some logical steps you can follow to divide and conquer this problem. I'm afraid I agree with this answer because you don't seem to have the knack for basic fault finding in a fairly simple system. You'll waste a lot of money and time and you could get hurt or hurt someone else if you don't learn the basics before trying random things.
    – jay613
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 13:35
  • 3
    "Hire" is probably the easiest answer, however, if the OP gives us more detail, we can certainly help trouble shoot, and that will most likely be cheaper and the OP will learn some new skillz!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 16:26
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    +1 if your thought is ever "replace a circuit breaker" (basically always wrong and probably dangerously wrong if that's your thought) it's time to stop thinking about doing anything yourself and call a professional. Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 2:17

There is still one thing that isn't clear to me.

You said you replaced the breaker but still no power on that circuit. Does that mean the new breaker immediately re-trips when turned on, or does it remain on?

  • If the breaker immediately re-trips, you have a short somewhere in that branch circuit. This is unlikely to be caused by pressure-washing, especially since you already looked inside the exterior outlet boxes. Could be a result of something that was put back incorrectly, however.

  • If the breaker remains on, then something on that branch circuit is getting power, just not all of it. If that is the case, I would check in other rooms, basements, garages, etc. for another GFCI outlet that is tripped. Sometimes branch circuits travel an odd route and serve a lot of devices on the way. In one of the houses I used to own, all the exterior lights, exterior outlets, and the entire unfinished basement shared one 15A circuit. The GFCI for that circuit was..... drumroll........ in the crawl space. Took us forever to find that.

  • Just wanna thank you a year later for this simple explanation/ debugging guide. We lost power to our fridge and dishwasher with all the breakers working fine. Lo and behold, they share a circuit with some outdoor outlets by the deck , which I was washing with the hose earlier today.
    – Tom A
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 1:30

If you can replace a circuit breaker, you can open up a receptacle box and inspect it / clean it out.

That's what you have to do on all the receptacles, because obviously pressure washing either placed or activated materials that are not curing by being given 24 hours to dry. You may have a mud-wasp condominium now soaked with power-wash solvent. So-called "weatherproof" boxes aren't quite, and they're certainly not powerwash-proof.

Replacing breakers is tricky. You need to make sure you are getting a breaker type correct for your panel - they are not interchangeable across brands, though they seem to be since they "seem to fit". (they don't clamp on right, which the critical problem; this can create an arcing fire at the bus stab).

Further, if a breaker was GFCI or AFCI, it is so for a reason and must not be downgraded.

  • Per comment response above, sounds like the receptacle boxes were opened, but the light fixtures were not We opened the outlets and took the bulbs out of the porch lights so opening the porch light fixtures seems reasonable as a next step - or finding where the outside connects to inside and disconnecting it in "isolate the trouble" fashion.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 22:27

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