If your GFCI outlet switched off when you were using it, it did so to protect you from possible harm. If your outlet is not resetting after it was shut off, you should practice extreme caution and follow these steps in diagnosing your GFCI outlets issues.
What is a GFCI?
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is an electrical outlet that shuts off power when it detects any unsafe electrical flow. GFCI outlets offer electrical safety from power surges, electrical fires, electrical short circuits, and electrocution.
A GFCI outlet will monitor any output positive energy that it provides and analyzes any negative input energy that it receives. If the negative return current does not add up to the positive output, the GFC will cut off any power. This feature will protect you from deadly electrical shocks because the outlet will shut off delivered power before the circuit could pose any major harm.
What does a GFCI Look Like?
A GFCI outlet will look like an ordinary power outlet but will have two buttons that say “test” and “reset” and possibly small led light.
Test:You can press the test button to test the electrical circuit to make sure that everything is ok. the button is helpful to ensure that the electrical circuit is receiving electricity and that everything is working on the circuit. The test will shut off the outlets power and make sure that the outlet is plugged in correctly.
Reset:You will have to press the reset button after the GFCI outlet shuts off power to an electrical circuit due to a detected problem or after the test button is pressed. The reset button will not work if the problem remains on the electrical circuit. If the reset button is pushed out, the GFCI outlet detected an issue and had to shut the system off.
LED Light:The LED light on a GFCI outlet will change colors or light up if there is an issue with the circuit. The particular GFCI manufacturer will include instructions to what the LED indicates, but it will likely change color or light up when a line load has occurred.
GFCI Will Not Reset
In some occasions, a GFCi outlet will not reset after you press the reset button. You should follow these steps to troubleshoot the issue with your outlet.
Unplug Any Appliance
You should unplug any appliances or cords that were hooked into the problem GFCI plug. It is possible that something plugged into the outlet is the issue. Once you unplug the cords, you can try resetting the GFCI again, if it still does not work you should get more onto your circuit breaker box to investigate more.
Reset Your Circuit Breaker
Your home or businesses circuit breaker box will be able to tell you any simple issues with the electrical outlets. You will have to identify where your tripped GFCI outlet is on the circuit.
If your circuit breaker box is not labeled you can turn all of the lights in your home, and plug in lights into the outlets and test them with another person. You will need a spotter that identifies which part of the house has gone dark as you go down the line of circuits in the box.
If you notice that one of the circuits is turned off or tripped in your circuit box, try resetting it. If it the GFCI reset move on to testing the outlets on that specific circuit. If it does not reset, move onto the next step of identifying the issues with your circuit.
Testing Outlets on The Circuit
You should test the other outlets, switches and other appliances on the same circuit that the GFCI is on because the GFCI is connected to everything on the system.
There are two sides to an electrical outlet; a line side and a load side. A line side is where the power comes from, and the load side is where the power moves on to. All electrical outlets and switches are connected to each other by a chain, so it is possible that part of the chain has issues with it.
You should purchase a circuit tester to find where the issue is. A circuit tester is an outlet plug that will analyze the input and output of any electrical circuit and determine if the outlet is working correctly.
A circuit tester can be purchased at any home improvement store, and some grocery stores carry them. Testing your outlets will make sure that they were wired correctly, and you will be able to single out your electrical problem to one area.
If an outlet comes back with a faulty test, you should move on to turning off the circuit breaker and unplugging the outlet from the wall.
Check the Wiring of the outlet
Once the circuit powering the outlet you are working on is turned off, you can check how it is wired. It is possible that there is a simple fix like a misplaced or loose electrical wire, but it is also possible that there is a larger issue.