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My outside outlet was working, then it rained and now none of my xmas decorations come on. Does anyone have any ideas on what might have happened?
My guess is the rain tripped the breaker or the ground fault. If you have Christmas decorations out side and the wall plugs are also outside electric code requires all receptacles outside as well as well in kitchens,baths and garages be ground fault receptacles. So,on ground fault receptacles there should be a reset button and sometimes a small light. The reset button should be reset. Also check your circuit breaker in your electrical panel to see if that has been tripped. Other than that I would check the wiring and connections for areas that water could have leaked into. When working around electricity. Be careful not to get a shock!
The outdoor socket is often wired to one of your bathrooms so that it shares a GFCI circuit. Go into each of your bathrooms and check the little breaker on the outlets there. One of them may have tripped. The GFCI trips if you drop an electrical device in the sink so it is useful outside where electrical devices might get wet.
If you can't find a little breaker on the outlet, check your fuse/breaker box. Sometimes the GFCI is placed in there or its possible that the breaker for that circuit has simply tripped.
Finally, double check to make sure the outlet isn't actually on. Plug a little lamp into it to check. If the outlet is working, but the christmas lights aren't, then you need to check the fuse in the lights themselves. Try each strand individually, if you can. If one strand doesn't light then unplug it and see if you can find the fuse door on the plug. Often there is a replacement plug right in there. Otherwise it will be in the original packaging of the lights. Or, you can get one from a local hardware store.
If it happened after a rain, likely the fuses aren't the culprit. That said, it's also important to pay attention to the number of strands you're allowed to connect together, because fuses are sensitive and it's a pain in the rear to check them all. My neighbor has an outdoor yard pole light that goes out when it rains, then comes back on when it dries out. Be sure and check your breakers on the off-chance that a freezer or fridge is on that circuit. We always wrap outdoor connections with tape or plastic bags in the same color as the cords. After all your hard work, I feel your pain. I would thoroughly dry everything and reconnect.
My back porch has an outlet that always trips when I was down the porch. There is an outlet in my garage that has a little breaker on it and i just have to press the button.
I have some Christmas lights hooked up to an outdoor outlet. I live on the ground floor of a condo and have a patio off the living room. The outdoor outlet is covered, it is under my upstairs neighbor's terrace.
The Christmas lights were connected to the outdoor outlet via a indoor rated extension cord, not outdoor, without a third prong for grounding. I ran four strands of lights in a row to circle the perimeter of the patio.
I had the lights on and was hosing down some plants across the patio, behind which the lights were strung. Some water splashed on the lights and they all blew. Ever since the outdoor outlet does not work. I flipped the breaker and hit the reset button on the outlet. No luck.
I know the story I just conveyed above illustrates a total ignorance for electricity and probably careless and even reckless behavior on my part of using an indoor non grounded extension cord and having the good sense to water the plants with the lights on. Before I potentially do anything to kill myself or cause a fire is there anything else I can do before calling an electrician?
Thanks so much for your advice.
By Biz from Brooklyn, NY
You should have the outlet replaced and the Christmas lights, sadly, are probably toasted :-(.
You can start by buying a new outside outlet. It only has two wires to attach. Attach red to red and black to black. There is also a green wire that is the ground and attach it to the ground screw. You can see all this when you take the old outlet out. Just make sure the breakers are off and electricity is off. You can start here. It is easy and inexpensive to do. If this doesn't do the job, call an electrician you got bigger problems.
Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it. I will start with replacing the outlet. Thanks.