Why Won’t My GFCI Outlet Reset? How to Troubleshoot a GFCI Outlet

GFCI outlet not resetting? It could be due to a tripped circuit, a faulty device, or a wiring issue. Don't worry; troubleshoot and fix the problem with McCarrick Electric’s expert tips.

If you're experiencing issues with your electrical system, such as your GFCI won't reset or the GFCI outlet not working altogether, it's important to address the problem as soon as possible by hiring a professional and experienced provider of electrical services in the area. Having a GFCI outlet that won't reset can be not only frustrating but borderline dangerous as these devices are designed to protect against electrical shock by quickly shutting off power to an outlet in case of an imbalance in the electrical current.

In this article, we'll explore the common reasons why the GFCI outlet keeps tripping, followed by what causes a GFCI not to reset. So, without further ado, read on. 

wondering why GFCI outlet keeps tripping

A Guide GFCI Outlet Won't Reset – What It Is and Where It Should Be Installed

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI or GFI for short) is a safety device that helps protect against electrical shock by quickly shutting off power to an outlet when it detects an imbalance in the electrical current. GFCI outlets should be installed in areas of a home or building where electrical shock is a higher risk, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and outdoor areas. Suppose a GFCI outlet won't reset or a GFCI outlet will not reset. In that case, it's important to address the problem soon by hiring a qualified electrician to mitigate the risk.

GFCI Not Resetting or Troubleshooting – What to Do

If you're experiencing a problem with a GFCI outlet not resetting, there are a few things you can try to troubleshoot or fix the issue. Here's a list of some other possible reasons for GFCI not resetting.

Bad Connection or Loose Parts

One of the most common issues with a GFCI outlet is a problem with the connections or loose parts within the outlet. The connections can become loose over time due to wear and tear or if the outlet is not installed properly, which can cause various issues, such as power fluctuations, interruption in the electrical current, or damage from a power surge. To fix this problem, you may need to tighten any loose connections or replace damaged parts within the outlet, leading to no issues with GFCI. 

No Power Supply to Receptacle

One of the common answers to the question "Why is my GFCI not working" is that there is no power to the GFCI outlet. To check if this is the case, try plugging a lamp or other device into the outlet to see if it turns on. If there’s absolutely no power, you may need to check the circuit breaker or fuse for the outlet to see if it has tripped or blown. If you find a tripped breaker, simply switch it off and then back on. If you find a blown fuse, replace it with a new one. 

GFCI Outlet Has Gone Bad

If your GFCI outlet won’t reset, one possible reason is that the outlet itself has gone bad. This could be due to various factors, such as wear and tear from regular usage over time, damage from a power surge, or a manufacturing defect. To fix this problem, you'll need to replace the outlet. It is important to note that it's not always clear why the outlet has gone bad; thus, it's best to consult with a professional to ensure the new outlet is installed correctly and that the problem is fixed. 

Power Turned off by Circuit Breaker

Why would a GFCI not reset when it was fine just a few days ago? Another probable reason is that the power to the outlet has been turned off by a circuit breaker. This is often caused by a ground fault or an electrical current leakage, which may lead to electrical shock or fire. To reset the GFCI outlet, you'll need to locate and fix the problem first by checking the appliances and wiring near the outlet to see any signs of damage or loose connections. 

New GFCI Outlet Not Working – What to Do

Is your recently installed new GFCI outlet not working? It can be a cause for concern. GFCI outlets have a built-in sensor that can detect any imbalance in the electrical current and will automatically shut off the power to the outlet if it senses a problem. However, sometimes these outlets can malfunction and not reset properly. There are several reasons why would a GFCI outlet not reset, including a tripped circuit or fuse, a faulty connection, or a problem with the outlet's test and reset buttons. Here’s what to do if the GFCI outlet isn’t working.

Check the Power in House

The first step in troubleshooting a non-working GFCI outlet is to check if there is power in the house. Make sure that all other outlets and lights are working properly. If there is no power in the house, the problem may be with the main electrical service, and you'll need to contact an electrician.

Check GFCI Test and Reset Buttons 

The GFCI test and reset buttons are located on the front of the outlet. Press the test button; the reset button should pop out. Then press the reset button. If the GFCI reset button won't push in or the GFCI outlet reset button won't stay in when pushed, the outlet may be faulty and needs replacement.

wondering about the reasons why GFCI outlet will not reset

Check for Tripped Circuit or Fuse

GFCI outlets have a built-in sensor that can detect any imbalance in the electrical current and will automatically shut off the power to the outlet if it senses any issue. So, check the breaker or fuse box in your garage to see if the circuit or fuse has been tripped. If yes, reset the circuit or replace the fuse.

Check Connection

Make sure the system outlet is properly connected to the electrical wires. Check the wire connection and ensure it isn’t loose or even slightly damaged. If you see the wires open, loose or damaged, note that they’ll need to be re-connected or replaced, same as the case if a GFCI test button won't push in.

Reinstall Connector

Suppose if all the above steps to fixing a non-working GFCI outlet fail. In that case, the last thing you can do is reinstall the connector. Ensure you turn off the power before removing the outlet and follow the instructions carefully when reinstalling it. Another question you might have is: will a GFCI reset without power? No, it will not.

What Happens When a GFCI Won’t Reset?

If you're wondering what happens when a GFCI won’t reset or what would cause a GFCI not to reset, know that it is usually an indication of a problem with the system outlet. This can happen for various reasons, such as a tripped circuit or fuse, a faulty connection, or a problem with the outlet's test and reset buttons. And if the GFCI won't reset, the outlet will not function properly and will not provide the necessary protection against electrical hazards.

If your GFCI is not working after replacement, it could be an indication that the new outlet is defective or that the installation was not done correctly. In both cases, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible to ensure the safety of your electrical system. Considering that working with electrical outlets requires knowledge and experience, it's better to contact an electrician.

Tailored Solutions from Top Reviewed Local Electricians 

At McCarrick Electric, we have 25+ years of experience providing the best electrical services in Colorado and saving clients from dealing with potential risks. We understand that every customer is unique, and that's why we offer a 15% discount for first-time residential customers and veterans. We take pride in our integrity, attention to detail, and cost-effectiveness, which have been the core values of our family-owned business since 1960. For more service-related information, get in touch via our contact form or give us a call.




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