We had a thunderstorm tonight, and during the midst of it, when trying
to lower our garage door, discovered that the garage door opener wasn't
The circuit breaker was okay (we flipped it off, then on again in fact).
A light in the garage can be flipped on and off. It's just the outlet.
Plugging a working radio into it, the radio doesn't work. Hooking the
garage door opener up to an extension cord and plugging it in elsewhere,
the door works.
Can't imagine paying an electrician to come out for one outlet. What
else can I try? There's no apparent external damage to the outlet.
It is a GFCI outlet, or are there any GFCI outlets ahead of it on the same
circuit? If so, reseting it will probably be enough.
Does anything else on the circuit work? (the light may not be the same
circuit; does the light stop working when you open the breaker?)
Any electrical storm bad enough to have damaged a non-GFCI outlet would have
done much much more damage.
Somewhere there is a GFCI outlet tripped. It's probably in the garage
but it could be anywhere, including outside. Your opener outlet is
wired downstream from it so when the GFCI trips it also kills your
Cheap bastards who built my house bought one GFCI for the master bath
and wired five other outlets including one each on the front and back
porch through it. When the GFCI trips, five outlets in different parts
of the house die. First time it happened it made me crazy.
My house is like that too! Apparantly, some genius did the math to
figure out the exact minimum GFCI''s to use that would comply with
code (two) and still serve the outside outlet, garage outlet, bathroom
outlets, and kitchen outlets. I don't understand it since GFCI's are
Sure, and when it trips you have a fine old time figuring out what
caused it and where the electrical leakage to ground is taking place.
My house was wired that way when it was built for us.
Example; they used one GFCI for the outlets in two adjacent bathrooms
and then fed the bathroom vent fan switches from the downstream side of
that GFCI. So, once in a while when things got fairly steamy in a
bathrooms, and the fan was powered, a few hundred microamps of leakage
in the fan motor would trip the GFCI. Bah!
I changed things over so there's a descrete GFCI outlet everywhere one
is needed, so the cause of tripping it is obvious because it can only be
what's plugged directly into it. Only exception are the three kitchen
counter outlets which are fed from a single GFCI breaker in the panel.
GFCIs are just another household electronic device that can
be damaged by lightning. Just another reason why properly
upgraded homes have properly earthed whole house protectors.
Older vintage GFCIs could be damaged by lightning, and
therefore perform like an non-GFCIed outlet. Damaged GFCIs
would not provide human protection. Lightning damages
(eliminates) human safety function. Newer GFCIs will not
reset when damaged. IOW lightning (permitted inside the house
due to no properly earthed 'whole house' protector) damaged
the GFCI. Therefore newer technology GFCI would not reset.
GFCI is required on garage outlets. Find and replace that
A defective GFCI that does not reset must be replaced. This
being a short term solution. The long term solution is to
learn about and install effective (properly earthed) 'whole
house' protector so that this and other damage will not occur
It would be helpful to know when the house was built. Codes on GFCI
protection have changed several times through the years as has the price of
the devices. In the 70's they were considerably more expensive than they are
today, and many (cheap) contractors used cleaver ways to use fewer of them.
If your garage door outlet is a single outlet (not duplex) and on the
ceiling of the garage, it doesn't need GFCI protection. If you find it is
the only outlet in the house that's out,your problem is likely not GFCI
related. Look for a GFCI type outlet near the breaker panel, outside, and in
each bathroom as well as in an unfinished basement and try resetting it.
Thanks for all the responses.
After posting, I went to bed, and immediately thought that maybe there
was a tripped GFCI involved. Sure enough, this morning, before reading
the responses, looked out on the deck, and there was the tripped GFCI.
Pressed reset, and everything worked. Good thing, too, as, predictably,
there were other non-working outlets involved.
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