GFCI outlets are common in most homes. While they function as well as any standard electrical outlet, they boast incredible safety features that can protect against potentially fatal electrical shocks and similar hazards.
Of course, as with any piece of hardware, GFCI outlets can still experience issues. If you’re looking to fix a GFCI outlet, jump straight to our steps for troubleshooting . Otherwise, read on to learn more about how these special outlets work to protect you and your home.
Do you have a home warranty with SHW? Your electrical system may be covered. Just submit your claim. If you don’t have a home warranty, getting a free quote is quick and easy. Call 860-288-4791 to get started.
What’s a GFCI outlet?
GFCI stands for “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.” They’re a common safety device installed in many homes and are designed to protect people from getting shocked or electrocuted.
They’re easy to identify, as they often feature “Test” and “Reset” buttons. Some models of GFCI outlets will feature an LED light to indicate the outlet’s status.
GFCI outlets are most commonly installed in places where a water source is present, such as in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, basements, and outside the home.
What does a GFCI outlet do?
GFCI outlets constantly monitor the electrical current flowing through the circuit. When it detects a significant difference in the current, it immediately cuts the power to the outlet.
This functionality can save lives. By interrupting ground faults, GFCI outlets can prevent certain electrical fires or save someone from being electrocuted or burned.
Ideally, you should test GFCI outlets once a month and after a power failure.
What’s the difference between GFCI and GFI?
Just a letter and a word, really. GFI stands for “Ground Fault Interrupter.” A GFI outlet is essentially the same thing as a GFCI outlet. The terms are used interchangeably. However, you may see GFCI used more often.
How to troubleshoot a GFCI outlet?
You may need to troubleshoot your GFCI outlet if it’s not working (i.e., no power coming from the outlet) or the LED light on the outlet is red, indicating a problem. Fortunately, troubleshooting is easy.
How to reset a tripped GFCI outlet?
Resetting a tripped GFCI outlet is easy. Simply press in the “Reset” button on the outlet until you feel or hear a click.
You can now test the outlet to confirm it’s working as it should.
What to do when a GFCI outlet won’t reset?
When a GFCI outlet won’t reset, there are a few things you can try on your own to troubleshoot the issue.
First, check the breaker box or electrical panel. It’s possible that a breaker tripped, shutting off power to that section of your electrical system.
- If you’re not sure how to do this, see our guide to fixing a tripped circuit breaker.
- If you see a tripped breaker, flip it all the way off before turning it back on again.
Next, you can check to see if any other nearby outlets have been tripped.
- Check other outlets in the room and confirm whether they’re working.
- If you find any that need to be reset, press the “Reset” button.
- Once the other outlet is reset, try resetting the GFCI outlet that originally gave you trouble.
What if troubleshooting a GFCI outlet doesn’t work?
If you’ve tried everything else with no success, you may need to replace the outlet.
An outlet may be considered bad or faulty if:
- You press the “Test” button and the outlet doesn’t trip.
- You press the “Reset” button and it won’t work.
- You use a GFCI or voltage tester and it indicates an issue with the outlet.
GFCI outlets are typically expected to last around 15 to 25 years. If any of the outlets in your house are over 10 years old, it may be time for a replacement.
In some cases, issues may be caused by loose connections, a loose wire, worn insulation, and other deterioration brought on by age. These, too, can cause a malfunction and require electrical expertise to fix.
Of course, if you’re reading this guide, you may not feel comfortable replacing an electrical outlet on your own. In such a situation, it’s best to play it safe and turn to a licensed electrician for help.
Can a home warranty help with a faulty GFCI outlet?
Home warranty plans through SHW can cover wiring, service panels, breakers, and – you guessed it – ground fault interrupters. If you’re having issues with your GFCI outlet or another part of your electrical system, a home warranty can connect you with a professional to get things working again.
Best of all, home warranties help alleviate the financial burden of these repairs, helping you get your systems and appliances back in working order for a fraction of the cost.
It all starts with a free quote. Call us at 860-288-4791 to learn more.
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