I have one outdoor outlet where there is no power coming in and I am unable to determine which circuit breaker it is on so I can restore the power.

5 Answers 5


The first thing to check since this is an outdoor outlet is to see if there is a GFCI device built-in ("test" and "reset" buttons on the outlet). The GFCI may have cut power to the outlet. Sometimes several outlets are connected to a single GFCI so if there isn't one at that outlet look for others nearby. All outdoor outlets are required to have GFCI protection since the 1970s, although sometimes older homes haven't been updated.

If the GFCI is fine or you can't find one, next check the breaker panel. A breaker that is tripped should is identifiable because the switch is in the middle (neither ON nor OFF). However sometimes it can be difficult to tell, especially with older breakers that have a little bit of wiggle.

The easiest thing to do is to turn them all fully OFF and then ON, one by one. Alternately, some circuit breakers have the GFCI built into them, so try the "Reset" button if you see one.

Once you have identified the breaker, update the label next to it so that you don't have to guess next time.

If you can't find a breaker that restores power, check for a sub-panel somewhere and/or double-check for a GFCI (could be somewhere unusual).

(Bonus tip: if you are trying to identify the breaker for an outlet that works, plug something loud into it: a radio or a vacuum cleaner turned on. Then when you are at the panel you can hear the sound stop when you have flipped off the correct breaker.)


if your house had a basement or garage or crawlspace look there for the gfci they are not usually in the crawlspace but i have found them there at times. the bathroom or utility room is also a good place to look for one. if you cant find it in those locations check your main panel for a large breaker something that is around 75 to 100 amps that has interlocked handles on it. if you have electric heat there will be one or more 50 or 60 amp breakers with the same handles on them but if you don't have electric heat and you find something larger than 40 amps you likely have a sub panel someplace. it may have the offending breaker inside it also look for the switch on the wall that do sent seem to do anything in the house.

  • alot of outdoor outlets work off of a gfi outlet in one of the bathrooms or the kitchen. Any wet place with power requires a gfi protected outlet and to save money (I think) they tail off one of them to energize the outdoor outlet and to cover the protection requirement while not having to buy another gfi outlet.
    – Bear
    Dec 4, 2017 at 2:00

First thing check breakers..at this point You would know if one of the breakers is tripped..meaning it will be in the off position or middle position..most times it will be towards outward position or loose in the middle..it may not be connected to other outlets ..you'll know by checking other outlets near..it may be dedicated. .meaning it's on its own breaker..it mat be tripping itself. .check the wires to it with proper wire tester..check with local hardware store if you Don't have one or not sure what it is..it's for checking if wire is live..if wire is live change GFCI...If not you may need an electrician to trace and troubleshoot between it and breaker panel..if you trouble shoot use proper tools and testers and nearest outlets and breaker itself if identified


You could use a Wire Tracker to trace the wires back to the breaker. However, these devices only work on dead circuits.

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If the circuit is live, you could use a Circuit Breaker Finder.

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You plug the one part into the receptacle, then run the other part over the breakers. When you run over the correct breaker, the device blinks/lights up.

Your milage may vary


My house, built in 1991 in Davis, CA had the GFCI outlet/breaker in the 2nd floor bathroom. All the outdoor outlets, plus two bathrooms and an outlet in the garage were connected to it. Pressed the red button of the GFCI outlet to restore electricity in all those outlets.

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