Last fall an outdoor outlet and an outlet in my garage worked just fine. However this spring neither of them work.
Any thoughts on how I can go about researching or identifying the problem? I checked the circuit breaker and nothing is tripped, neither have a reset button on them.

Just not sure where to start with this.

I read some other posts, and these all turned out to be light switches that one didn't know about or a bad connection. I have already reviewed the connections at both, I plugged a vacuum cleaner into both and walked around turn on light switches etc.

The two outlets are about 20 feet apart, one outside the other in the garage so they may or may not be on the same line, I am assuming right now they are because they both stopped working.

  • 4
    Some circuit breakers do not show obvious signs of being tripped. Instead of just inspecting the breaker, you should switch it off and back on.
    – DoxyLover
    May 5, 2014 at 17:46
  • 4
    If the receptacles don't have the GFCI buttons on them, then search for other receptacles that do and may be tripped. These may be elsewhere outside or even in a nearby bathroom.
    – BMitch
    May 5, 2014 at 18:02
  • The outdoor outlet SHOULD be a GFCI outlet (with a button), or protected by a GFCI upstream.
    – Bryce
    May 6, 2014 at 16:58

4 Answers 4


Bryce mentioned the answer. Go to your downstairs bathroom and hit the 'reset' button on the outlet. Betcha this fixes it.


Do you have a rodent problem?
They might have chewed the wires.

Do the outlets get any weather on them?
They could have corroded contacts.

More than likely they are on the same line since they both don't work.

  • I do not know of any rodent problem, meaning no signs off current or former issues. Also in inspecting the outlets, no signs of rust or broken connections. Honestly they look great!
    – treeNinja
    May 5, 2014 at 16:52

Check that the circuit breaker didn't fail and that the wires are still in it. The contacts can burn up and lose continuity without tripping the circuit. Check with a multimeter (careful!) across both sides of the circuit breaker, but be careful!


The professional tool for this is a signal generator which plugs into the dead outlet and transmits a signal onto the wire, and a tracer which can be used to follow that signal through the walls. When the signal doesn't go any further, that's the failure point. (Fancier version of the breaker-identifier tools.)

Alas, it isn't a cheap tool, though occasionally they turn up on eBay.

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