electrician holding open outdoor gfci cover next to open junction box

GFCI Outlet Won’t Reset

electrician holding open outdoor gfci cover next to open junction boxYou will find the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, also sometimes known as a GFCI outlet, wherever there’s electricity. This built-in breaker is usually found in places like the bathroom, kitchen, or any other area prone to shorting and trips when it detects a ground fault or a short. They are reliable for the use of electricity, but may sometimes fail.

In such cases, it can easily be reset or retested with a button, but what happens when the GFCI outlet just won’t reset?

What to Do?

Don’t panic if the GCFI won’t reset. Keep reading to find out how to fix the problem:

  • Figure out the cause

It may be tricky to figure why the GFCI Outlet won’t reset, but ultimately, confirm if the problem is from the circuit or the outlet. It may be best to let an electrician do this for you.

You can check if the other outlets have power flowing through them by using a voltage tester. If you realize that there’s power flowing through the other outlets, then the problem is from that singular outlet. However, if you notice that none of the lights or outlets have power flowing through, then it is a circuit problem. You could also try unplugging whatever is plugged into the GFCI outlet and see if you can finally reset.

  • Check Circuits

Once you find that some lights or outlets aren’t working too, then head for the electrical panel, usually found in the laundry room, garage, or basement. When at the electrical panel, look out for the circuit breaker and check that none is out of order. If any is, then they’re tripped and you can reset. If it keeps happening, then it is likely an overload issue, and the circuit isn’t powerful enough.

  • Assess Problem

If the breaker is reset and the GFCI trips again, and often, it might be a leak and you should call an electrician as soon as possible. Before the electrician arrives, here are a few things you can assess:

  1. Check if the reset button pops out. If it doesn’t, maybe the outlet is defective, or you did not push hard enough.
  2. Check if the reset button stays in or pops out when you plug something in and put it on. If it pops out, it could be incorrect wiring or a ground fault.
  3. If the connected devices still work when the reset button pops out, then it may be a circuit interrupter problem (rare) or reversed line and load problem.
  4. If the lights or plugged devices work; if they don’t, then maybe the GFI is defective, miswired, or not receiving up to 120 volts.
  • Check for Faulty Connections

Your GFCI Outlet may not reset because of bad wiring; there may be a loose connection in form of loose terminal screws, loose wires at the connectors, and loose stab-in connections.

If all of this is too sophisticated for you, then it is safest to call a licensed electrician to check out everything and fix the problem. Electricity is risky and should not be toyed with or handled by an amateur. Our technicians at the Electric Connection will handle it all for you. Book an appointment now!