A small fan was plugged into an outlet in the garage. The fan was dropped and the outlet has stopped working (the fan does work when plugged into other good outlets). A day later I noticed second Garage electrical outlet has also failed (I think it may be tied to the first failure). I then noticed that a third outlet did not work. Fortunately the outlets powering the washer and dryer are unaffected.

I was hoping it a simple breaker that needed to be reset. The breaker box does not show any blown fuses. I believe that when the breaker is tripped, it will show bright orange (not the case in this photo):

enter image description here

UPDATE: Pushing the blue 'test' buttons in the photo trips to the breaker halfway. User must rock the breaker right before reset breaker by rocking left. Breaker numbers are labeled:

enter image description here I hope that others will ask questions that would help troubleshooting and possibly pose reasons for the failure, which I could try to test. Thank you for any good questions.

  • If your circuits are (as it seems) mostly not identified, it would be a huge help to yourself in any troubleshooting effort to identify and label them all. But I agree that a tripped GFCI (feeding additional outlets on its load terminals) is the most likely cause of several dead outlets following an incident with no tripped breaker. The three above the A/C seem to have blue test buttons, typically indicative of GFCI or AFCI breakers.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 7, 2016 at 2:57

1 Answer 1


The National Electric Code, these days, says garage receptacles are supposed to be protected by GFCI [NEC 210.8 (A)(2)]. That could be a GFCI outlet that is in the garage, or it could be a GFCI breaker in the panel. Anyway, if code was followed, that is. The branch circuit supplying the outlet in the garage is not supposed to supply outlets outside of the garage [NEC 210.52(G)(1)], but who knows, your garage could be tied to a GFCI outlet in another part of the house. Not very likely, but possibly. First, I would try checking to see if there is a GFCI receptacle in the garage. If there is, then make sure that it is reset. If it is a new GFCI outlet, then it may have something called Smart Lock, which means that you have to go back to the panel and turn the branch circuit off for about a minute, then turn it back on, then go out and reset the GFCI. My best guess, is that your problem has to do with a GFCI device that has tripped. It may be an outdoor receptacle that is causing this, even though there is not supposed to be outlets on that same branch circuit that are outside the garage.

  • You nailed it. The GFCI was buried under items plugged into the outlet: GFCI buttons visible / accessible only if items were unplugged. The fan-drop event triggered the GFCI (fan not plugged into GFCI outlet). Lesson learned. Grateful: thank you
    – gatorback
    Sep 7, 2016 at 11:01

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