“GFCI Outlet Not Working” – Don’t Worry About It

By Kenvin F / August 27, 2016
GFCI Outlet Not Working


In every home, we strive to provide ourselves and our family a safe place to live in. We do not just think of our home’s overall appearance is and how we can make it more attractive and appealing but we also consider its level of safety.

Most of the time, it is very relevant for you to know if there are potential hazards that can harm the people living in a house. Thus, we see to it that we take every safety measure to make our homes danger-free.


Today, there are lots of things that are invented that favor the human needs, wants and safety. One of these useful inventions is the Ground- Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI). In fact, it was made many years ago and has undergone several upgrades and changes as what we can observe today.

In this article, we will try to enlighten you about what GFCI outlet is, how it works and what to do in case your GFCI outlet is not working. Please read until the end and hopefully by the time you finish reading it, you’ll have a better idea on this subject.

What is GFCI?

Before anything else, let us first talk about what GFCI is. So what is GFCI? Ground- fault circuit interrupters are devices in your home to prevent electrocution to happen. They are commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc. The typical GFCI has three holes: The center hole is connected to the ground. The right slot is the neutral wire. The left slot is the hot wire.

It works by detecting the abnormality in current. It measures the current which leaves the power source and then checks the current which returns on the other.

GFCI Outlet Not Working What is GFCI - Frontview

Via www.swartzelectric.biz

In this way, it compares the two and if they are not equal, the GFCI shuts the circuit off in about 1/30th of a second, detecting that there is a leak. After doing so, you can reset using its reset button. However, it is important to know that the GFCI will not prevent shock completely but only dead shock.

Types Of GFCI

There are three types of GFCI of which you can install permanently. The first one is the receptacle type that can be installed in a typical outlet box. The second is a circuit breaker type which can be installed in an electrical panel. And the portable type is unit for outdoor or for some plug directly into non-GFCI outlets

GFCI Outlet Not Working Types of GFCI

Via www.electricianla.com

A GFCI can be a tool for upgrading older non-grounded outlets to grounded ones without having to install a new wire. It is considered to be recommended than the two to three pong adapter. The reason is because these have the possibility of not connecting the appliance to the ground. The GFCI can be located in the electrical box without having to connect the ground screw.

Things To Remember

Learning about GFCIs can be easy but for some it may be difficult. For real, there is nothing much to worry as this is something that requires no professional knowledge. However easy it may be, there are still many misconceptions and wrong concepts about using GFCIs. Especially if it is about the GFCI outlet not working.

One of them is when you upgrade your home and you decide to add several GFCIs thinking that the outlets in your home are not protected anymore. This could be true and not. Nevertheless, doping so will not result to any unwanted and dangerous outcome. There is nothing wrong with double-protecting only that it can confuse the one who decides to do so.

Aside from hooking up the GFCI in the right place, there could be tripping that might happen when you add GFCI protection onto the existing wirings and loads. This could mean that it simply detects a shock hazard but you must be aware that there are instances where the wiring conditions in the past aren’t that good. One example would be when a ground wire contacts the neutral side of receptacle.

Another is when you cannot tell whether the GFCI outlet is not working for real or just tripping or dead. This can be a bit confusing especially if it keeps on giving you trouble at home. Today’s GFCIs, those that are made from 2003 to the present, will not be able to catch hold if it does not gain power or not hooked up in a correct manner.

There are brands of GFCIs which may be hard to reset. Pushing the button might cause it to reset the hot and neutral contacts so you can just do the retripping and try and try.

How To Fix When: GFCI Outet Not Working

Things You Will Need To Do

  • Checking the GFCI outlet test button
  • Check for trippings
  • ​Check for other possible reasons why your GFCI outlet is not working
  • Ask for professional help

Step 1: Checking The GFCI Outlet Test Button

First of all, it is well-known recommendation to test your GFCI monthly. In this way, you can check if your GFCI is still running smoothly and that there are no problems regarding it. This could be done by pressing the test button and checking if the reset button has shown itself. This can be attributed to the fact that if it does so, it can still sense what’s right and wrong and do its job at its best.

GFCI Outlet Not Working

Via http://www.ismyhomesafe.ca/

Step 2: Check For Trippings

It is also important to take note that GFCIs do have low risks of failing its job in terms of detecting ground-faults and even if they do, they can still work on other things. Never ever say that GFCI is at fault. It could be traced from adding a new outlet which caused the other to trip.

Step 3: ​Check For Other Possible Reasons

Also, do not jump to conclusion that your GFCI outlet is not working anymore or defective even if it trips multiple times. Misconnections, incompatibility, dimmers and fluorescent lights are some of the possible causes why your GFCI trips.

Step 4: Ask For Professional Help

If you still haven't found the main cause of your problem, you can always ask for professional help, although it will cost you some sort of money.


It is thanks to these GFCIs that today electrocution is prevented and potential hazards are lessened. GFCIs are good tools for those areas at your home that have contacts with water. It helps prevent you from getting electrocuted.

By having enough and proper knowledge about these helpful tools, you can make your home a lot more safe and friendly. Do not also forget to check your GFCI monthly so you know if it is doing its job properly and that there no problem to be addressed. Hopefully after reading carefully the entire article and following the tips here, you’ll now refrain from saying that your GFCI outlet is not working.

Have you enjoyed reading the whole article? We hope that we have helped you a lot with this. Thank you for reading!

About the author

Kenvin F

Greetings and welcome to our Home Improvement site! There are few things as rewarding and fun as working on your own home. The fact that you're here tells me you want to learn and get involved with your home too. I'm here to help you every step of the way. You can do this! Join me, won't you?

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