Reasons a GFCI Outlet Won’t Reset After Rain


Reasons a GFCI Outlet Won’t Reset After Rain

If you have outdoor outlets, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are a must. A GFCI outlet cuts power when there’s a sudden change in current, such as a power surge or when electricity and water mix. Our Orange County electricians know how flash floods and heavy rains can impact your GFCI outlets. Read on to learn the reasons why your GFCI outlet won’t reset after rain and potential solutions for your outdoor outlet.

Why GFCI Outlets Trip After Rain

Whether you call it a GFCI or a GFI, these interchangeable terms refer to the same function — interrupting power to an outlet. GFCI outlets are mandatory anywhere water can come in contact with them, such as outdoors and in kitchens or bathrooms. They help protect you and your home from the damage of a power surge.

If a GFCI outlet tripped after rain, the most likely cause is moisture invading the receptacle and outlet. It’s unsafe to reset and use the outlet until it dries out. 

Resetting GFCI outlet after rain

Reset the outlet after it’s dry. Before resetting a GFCI outlet after rain, unplug any device, extension cord, or device from the outlet and along the circuit.

Next, press the reset button on the outlet. You should hear a clicking noise. Plug in a small-draw device that lights up — like a nightlight — and turn it on. If the light comes on, you should test the GFCI outlet. With the light plugged in and on, press the test button. The light should go off, indicating the outlet is still interrupting the electrical flow.

If your GFCI outlet still doesn’t work after rain, it may still be wet, or you may have a bigger issue. 

How to Safely Troubleshoot a GFCI Outlet That Won’t Reset 

When your GFCI outlet is not working after rain and won’t reset, it’s time to move on to troubleshooting.

There’s a ground fault

Ground faults can cause serious injuries. If the GFCI won’t reset when you press the button, it may have detected a ground fault and is, therefore, working as it should. Unplug anything connected to it. The outlet will usually reset if nothing is plugged in. You can also try plugging in a different device to see if the previous one caused the error.

The outlet hasn’t dried yet

If moisture is still present around the outlet, you’ll be unable to reset the GFCI. These outlets are pretty sensitive, and for a good reason. Just by touching a powered wet outlet, you can receive a shock or be electrocuted. Once the rain stops, wait a while for the outlet to dry (or dry it with a hair dryer plugged in elsewhere), and then try it again; if it hasn’t dried, look for additional sources of moisture nearby.

There’s a power outage

Power outages are always a possibility in stormy weather. If the power hasn’t been restored, you can’t reset a GFCI. To see if there’s a power failure, check whether lights, appliances, and devices around your home are working. If not, your only option is to wait for the power to come back to reset the GFCI outlet.

If your neighbors have power, check the circuit breakers. A tripped circuit breaker will disable any GFCI on the affected circuit. Try turning the breaker back on and then check the outlet to see if it will reset.

The outlet has corroded

Exposure to the elements leaves outdoor outlets vulnerable to corrosion. If the inside of a GFCI outlet has rusted, it may stop working and can’t be reset. You’ll then need an electrician to come and replace the unit. It may be possible to reduce the corrosion risk by installing a new outlet in a less exposed area, such as under a porch or screen.

Wiring was done incorrectly

A wiring issue is possible if an existing outlet was updated to a GFCI. Incorrect wiring can be extremely dangerous, as it can lead to a fire or damage to tools, appliances, and your home. Do not use the outlet until the wiring problem is corrected; your best bet is to have an electrician check it out and rewire the receptacle first.

Decoding GFCI Woes

DIY vs. Professional Help

DIY troubleshooting can help you identify potential reasons why a GFCI outlet won’t reset. However, the only way to know for sure is to have it inspected by a licensed electrician. They’ll also check for other signs, like scorching and buzzing

Installing and repairing GFCI outlets is different than with standard outlets in your home. Water damage, poor wiring, and faulty outlets can cause damage in hard-to-see areas. A professional electrician has the advanced tools and methods to get to the root of the problem. 

Often, the entire outlet needs replacing, but the good news is that it’s usually a quick, inexpensive fix.

Preventing Future GFCI Outlet Problems

To prevent future GFCI outlet problems, consider upgrading to a waterproof outlet and receptacle. There are a variety of options on the market. Our electricians can help with weatherproof outlet recommendations that take the LA climate into consideration. 

The best way to ensure your GFCI outlets are working properly is to tackle repairs quickly and have regular electrical system inspections

Contact Express Electrical Services for GFCI Repair

Our expert team of electricians knows about the unique challenges Orange County electrical systems experience. Our team members have undergone intense training and are fully licensed and insured.

Contact us today to get started by calling (855) 590-8785 or using our online scheduling system. We offer fast and reliable repair and financing options, so you don’t have to sacrifice home safety.