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Cut Extension Cord Causes Power Loss to Outlets

Damaged Cords that Cause Lost Power to Outlets: How to fix lost power after a cord has been cut or damaged while working outside with an electric tool such as hedge trimmer.

Lost Power to Outdoor Outlets

How to Electrical Repair for: How to fix lost power after a cord has been cut or damaged while working outside with an electric tool such as hedge trimmer.

Damaged Cords Can Cause Lost Power to Outlets

Jose from Oxnard, California says:

  • While working outside I was trimming a hedge with an electric hedge trimmer and I cut through the extension cord.
  • The outlet that I was using and three others lost power. I checked the breakers but none were tripped.
  • I then replaced the outlet that I was using and checked the breakers with a volt meter.
  • What can I do next.

Tom in Orlando, Florida says:

  • I inadvertently cut my extension cord wire with a hedge trimmer.
  • This shorted out the receptacle it was plugged into and I thought that it would have tripped the breaker.
  • When I checked the breaker associated with the receptacle, it had not been tripped. I turned the breaker off and then back on but the outlet still had no power and my other outside outlets were also dead.
  • These are GFCI receptacles. When I removed the shorted out receptacle and touched the hot and neutral wires with my tester, there was no power.
  • Does this mean that the circuit breaker needs to be replaced?

Valerie in Indianapolis, Indiana says:

  • I was trimming a hedge with an electric hedge trimmer and cut through the extension cord.
  • The outside outlet that I was using plus two indoor outlets lost power.
  • One of the indoor outlets located in the bathroom was the GFI.
  • The GFI was tripped. The GFI is connected to a second outlet in the same bathroom and the one exterior outlet I had been using.
  • I reset the GFI. The night-light that had been plugged in to the bathroom outlet would not work now – I found the bulb in the night-light was no longer working.
  • I got another night-light (this one an LED) and plugged it in to the bathroom outlet(s). The night-light does not stay on steady, but brightens and dims repeatedly — the night-light works fine in other outlets in the house.
  • What could be the problem?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring questions Jose, Tom, and Valerie.

How to Fix Lost Power After an Electric Cord Was Cut

electrical troubleshooting home wiring

Restoring Power to an Outlet Circuit

  • Make sure the damaged hedge trimmer cord is unplugged.
  • Reconnect any wiring and reinstall any receptacles and cover plates that have been opened.
  • Then go to the electrical panel and look for the circuit breaker for the outside receptacles, switch the breaker all the way into the Off position, and then back into the On position. This will reset the circuit breaker and should restore power to the outdoor receptacle circuit.
  • Double check and test the GFCI receptacle to make sure it is functioning correctly.
  • Electric Panel Locations for a Home
    • Circuit breakers are found at an electric panel for the home.
    • The main electric panel is typically located on an perimeter wall of the home, either on an exterior wall, or an interior wall.
    • Some homes have may have one or more sub panels with circuit breakers which may be located in areas such as the basement, mud room, laundry room or garage.

Restoring Power to GFCI Protected Outlets

  • Look for a GFCI Outlet which might be found in the garage or at another outside outlet location.
  • When a GFCI protected circuit senses a fault to ground, such as with the occurrence of a cut extension cord, then the GFCI outlet or circuit breaker will trip off.
  • The GFCI outlet will have a TEST and RESET button, so simply press the RESET button to restore the power to the affected outlets.
  • If the GFCI outlet will not reset then the GFCI outlet may need to be replaced.
  • GFI Outlet Locations for a Home
    • Other possible locations of GFI outlets that may feed the outside outlet may be the bathroom, kitchen or the laundry room.

More about Outlets and Circuits

  • GFCI Wiring
    GFCI Wiring
  • Wiring Receptacle Outlets

  • This list of articles describes the GFI and GFCI Receptacle Outlets and how they are wired.
  • Electrical Outlet Wiring
  • Wiring Electrical Outlets for the Home

  • Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.
  • Electrical Circuit Breakers
  • Home Electrical Circuit Breakers

  • A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.

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