While most homeowners are familiar with issues associated with traditional electrical outlets, GFCI outlets are still a mystery to many. GFCI outlets, or ground fault circuit interrupter outlets, are designed to monitor the current flowing to the outlet and trip a safety breaker to shut the outlet off when that current surges or fluctuates significantly. Usually, you can reset it with the button on the outlet. However, sometimes GFCI outlets malfunction. Here's what electricians want you to know about problems with GFCI outlets.
What If The Outlet Won't Reset?
In most cases, when a GFCI outlet trips, you can reset the internal breaker by pressing the reset button on the outlet. You'll typically hear a click and the power to the outlet will be restored. If your outlet doesn't return to normal operation, that's a definite cause for concern. Before you call an electrician, there are a few things to check.
Is There Power To Other Outlets In The Area?
Check a nearby outlet that's not a GFCI unit. If you are getting power to the traditional outlets that are on the same electrical circuit, that eliminates an electrical circuit problem as the source of the issue. If you aren't getting power to a nearby traditional outlet, you should reach out to an electrician to assess that circuit and address the problem.
Is The Reset Button Recessed?
Check the reset button on the GFCI. If it's recessed, press the test button and see if it pops out. If it does pop out, press the reset button again and ensure that it clicks and stays recessed. This should reset the internal breaker and restore the power. If it doesn't, there could be a failure within that internal breaker, a wiring malfunction, or an electrical short somewhere along the line. You'll need an electrician to assess this, and you should avoid using that outlet until you have that assessment done.
Does The Outlet Trip Repeatedly?
If you are able to reset your GFCI, but it trips every time you plug something in, that's a key indication that the wiring is either damaged or incorrect. If there's damage to the wiring, there could be a current leak somewhere in your home's electrical circuits. This can be dangerous, and it requires the attention of an electrician right away.
If you're having trouble with any of your home's GFCI outlets, or you just want the peace of mind that they are working properly, reach out to an electrician near you today. An electrician can provide additional information.