Troubleshooting Outdoor House Plugs: A Comprehensive Guide Featured Image

Are you experiencing the frustration of outdoor house plugs that suddenly stop working? You’ve checked all the breakers, but still, no luck. As a seasoned electrician, I’m here to share my knowledge and guide you through the process of troubleshooting outdoor house plugs. Rest assured, we’ll uncover the root cause and get your plugs up and running in no time!

Step 1: Inspect the Circuit Breakers

While you mentioned that you’ve already checked the breakers, it’s worth taking a second look. Outdoor plugs are typically connected to specific circuits, separate from the rest of the house. Locate and examine the corresponding breaker panel, ensuring that none of the breakers are tripped or in the “off” position. If you notice a breaker that appears different from the others, labeled “outdoor plugs” or similar, try resetting it by turning it fully off and then on again.

Step 2: Identify GFCI Breakers

Some outdoor outlets may also have a dedicated breaker in the electrical panel. These will come with a test button on the breaker. You should occasionally test the GFCI breaker by pushing the test button to see if the breaker trips. If it is tripped, the handle of the GFCI breaker will go to the middle position and must be turned off to reset it before it can be turned on.

Step 3: Check GFCI Outside Outlets

Troubleshooting Outdoor House Plugs: A Comprehensive Guide Image

Outdoor outlets are often protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets, which have built-in safety features. These outlets have test and reset buttons between the 2 areas where you plug into. If you have multiple outdoor receptacles on your house, one external GFCI receptacles will usually control all the others. If it is tripped and needs re-setting, the others may not work until this is done. Press the reset button firmly with your thumbnail to see if it restores power to your outdoor plugs. If not, you may need to replace the GFCI outlet or seek professional assistance.

Step 4: Inspect Weatherproof Covers

Exposure to the elements is the reason for weatherproof covers to be used on exterior receptacles. If the protective cover is allowing rain and dirt into the receptacle, it may be a cause of a tripping GFCI receptacle. Check each outdoor plug for any signs of damage or wear, such as broken covers or loose connections. Ensure that the weatherproof covers are securely in place to protect your outlets from the elements. Clean any dirt or debris from the outlet and cover it before attempting to restore power.

Step 5: Consult a Professional Electrician

If you’ve followed the previous steps with no success, it’s time to call in an expert. Electrical systems can be complex, and there may be underlying issues that require professional assistance. A licensed electrician can diagnose the problem and provide the most appropriate solution to get your outdoor plugs working again safely.


Don’t let non-functional outdoor house plugs dampen your outdoor activities or prevent you from enjoying the conveniences they offer. By following these steps, you can troubleshoot and potentially resolve the issue on your own. Remember, safety should always be a priority, so never hesitate to seek professional assistance when needed. With a little knowledge and the right guidance, you’ll have your outdoor plugs up and running smoothly, keeping your outdoor space powered for years to come!

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