Why Won’t My GFCI Outlet Reset?

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Why Won’t My GFCI Outlet Reset?

A GFCI or GFI outlet may not reset because there’s a ground fault occurring at a regular outlet that’s not working, or somewhere else downstream of the GFI. Also, if no power is reaching the GFI, it may not reset. The component will not function properly if power does not reach its electrical box. An open or upstream tripped GFCI will cause a reset problem as well.

You might have a bad GFCI if it retrips or does not reset. However, GFI failure is rare and there are usually other causes; replacing it with a new unit wouldn’t help. The new GFI would continue to trip as well. Chances are, there’s a ground-fault at one or more downstream wires, receptacles, or electrical devices. An incorrectly installed GFI may be problematic too.

Since 2002, GFCIs have been built to prevent resetting if they’re not receiving power, are connected wrong, or the power is turned off.

The problem can also be assessed via its symptoms:

  • Reset button does not pop out with pushing test: The button was not pushed in enough, the 120-volt current is not reaching the unit, or you have a defective GFI.
  • Reset won’t stay in when pushed: There’s a ground fault downstream of the GFI or it may be mis-wired. Perhaps you didn’t press the button in enough. With newer models, the line and load may be reversed, or sufficient current may not be reaching the GFCI.
  • Reset button is out; plugged-in devices work: You might have a reversed line and load or, in rare cases, the circuit interrupter itself may be defective.
  • Reset button is in; nothing works: The GFI may be mis-wired, not receiving 120 volts, or is defective.
  • Reset button is in; nothing works: The GFI may be mis-wired, not receiving 120 volts, or is defective.
  • Reset pops out when you turn something on: A downstream ground fault could be the cause, or the GFCI may be wired incorrectly.

It’s also possible to be overprotected. While this isn’t harmful, a GFCI added in the bathroom may trip one originally installed in the garage. Complications like this can make it hard to find the root cause of the problem. Some GFI brands and designs may have quirks, such as offset push buttons or tamper-resistant designs, that make them harder to reset. Remember a GFCI can protect several outlets downstream of it, so a trip can be coming from any of these, even if they’re in separate rooms.

Call Express Electrical Services to inspect and test your GFCI outlet if it won’t reset. With electricians in Los Angeles, Santa Ana & Riverside, we are able to arrive to your residence within 60-90mins for your call!