Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are different from the normal power outlets. GFCI outlets have a small circuit breaker that is designed to “trip” and automatically shut off the power that is at the outlet when it detects a fault. This ability is a safety precaution that stops faulty wiring or appliances with internal shorts from causing shocks or other damage.
Normally, when the circuit breaker on the GFCI trips, pushing the RESET button is all you need to do to bring the outlet back online. The RESET button is easy to spot as it is red in color, or it is labeled RESET. When you press the button, you will hear a click sound indicating that the outlet is ready and live. Typically, that means that the outlet is ready to supply electricity again.
This all happens when things go as planned. However, sometimes your GFCI outlet doesn’t come back to life and there is no power even though you pressed the RESET button a few times. There are a few things you can try doing to fix this problem and some things you should NOT try when your GFCI outlet does not reset:
See If Other Outlets Are Faulty
The first thing you should do is to inspect the other outlets in your home. Turn your lights on and off or test the power flow with a voltage tester to determine the flow of power in other outlets on the same circuit. If you have dead outlets, do not ever leave appliances connected to them. Once you identify outlets that are not working, you can reduce the likelihood that a voltage shortage or overload was the cause of the GFCI tripping off.
Check The Circuit Breaker Panel
Circuit breakers are organized inside the circuit breaker panel. Check to see if there are any that are tripped. If a circuit breaker is tripped, it won't provide electricity to the area that it covers. It's a simple matter to reset circuit breakers by moving the switch to the on position. Occasionally, a circuit breaker will be tripped but will appear to be in the normal position. The way to check this is to turn each circuit breaker off and then back to the on position. Remember that doing this will cut the electricity to all appliances in the house. So you might want to warn other people in the house that they may temporarily lose power.
If your house still uses fuses instead of circuit breakers, check to see that none of them are blown fuses. You can easily tell if a fuse has blown by looking for a broken filament or charred glass. If you discover a blown fuse, replace it with a new one that is the same amperage and the same type. These are important details that you should not ignore as using a fuse rated for a larger current is very dangerous.
Find And Repair Loose Connections
After you've done the step of determining that there is electricity flowing to the GFCI outlet, the next thing you need to do is remove the circuit breaker from the box and check for any connections that are loose.
Before you do this, you need to turn off the main circuit breaker so there is no power going to these other breakers. If you don't feel comfortable working inside of the breaker box, call PowerMaster in Fuquay-Varina and we will come right out to take care of the problem.
We Will Assess These Common Problems For You In Your Home
Loose Stab-in Connections
Oftentimes, electricians will push a wire into the holes on the breakers rather than fastening them with screws. You should be able to tug on each wire that is attached to the back of the outlet to see if there are any connections that are loose. The right way to connect a wire is to cut it and strip all the wires, and then reattach them using a screw to the terminal on the side.
Loose Terminal Screws
Inspect the wire that is attached to the screw terminal by carefully bending or tugging on it. When you do this, if the wire can move or if the screw that is holding can be easily turned by hand, you simply need to tighten the screw with a screwdriver, so the wires are all secure.
Overheated or Burned Wires
Any wires that are overheated or burned are no longer useful. They need to be replaced with a new set of wires and they need to be plugged firmly into the outlet.
Many people are not comfortable working with electrical equipment. If you have any electrical problems and need professional assistance with your electrical system, call PowerMaster in Fuquay-Varina and we will come right out to take care of the problem