5 Reasons your GFCI Outlet Fails to Reset and How to Resolve It.

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) trips when there is leakage of current.

If your GFCI won’t reset after tripping, it could be because:

But if the GFCI trips every time you reset it, there is a ground fault along the branch circuit. This will require a qualified electrician for troubleshooting and repairs.

GFCI plays a vital role, and the law (National Electrical Code) requires every homeowner to have it.

It protects us from the electric shock that may arise from power surges and ground faults. That is why we install them in places like the kitchens and bathrooms where ground faults are common.

Note: GFCI doesn’t protect circuits and appliances, standard types of circuit breakers do that.

How the GFCI outlet works

GFCI does the same work with circuit breakers and fuses. But unlike breakers that protect devices and appliances, GFCI protects human beings.

The outlet has an internal breaker that turns OFF power when the input and output current varies. Once the outlet is OFF, it will need resetting to restore power.

If the GFCI won’t reset, it may mean there is no power source to the outlet, or that the receptacle has gone bad.

Troubleshooting a ground fault circuit interrupter that fails to reset

If your outlet cannot reset when you press the reset button, follow these steps to find out the cause.

1. Unplug any appliance plugged into the receptacle

Unplug the device or cord plugged into the outlet box. This is to rule out the chances of short circuits and overload, causing the problem.

After unplugging the cord, reset the GFCI again. If the problem continues, move on to the electrical panel.

Reset your circuit breaker

You will see your circuit breaker inside the main panel usually installed near the area where electrical wires enter the house. Other places to look for your service panel include the attics, basement, garage, etc.

Once you locate the panel, look for the breaker that controls the circuit. If it is OFF, reset it. If not, move on to the outlets.

Test the GFCI outlets on the circuit

Press the test button on the outlet, and test it using a multimeter. If your outlet is good, it will read on the tester. But if otherwise, loosen out the outlet and check if there is a wrong connection. If everything is fine after checking, including the circuit breaker, wiring system and there is no ground fault, change the receptacle, it has gone bad.

Sometimes, your outlet will be good, but the reset button doesn’t pop out when you press the ‘test’ button, such may mean the button was not pushed in enough to reach the unit.

You can buy a new GFCI here on Amazon if yours has gone bad.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when a GFCI fail to reset?

If your outlet fails to reset, first check the breaker box to make sure the breaker of the circuit has not tripped off. Reset it if necessary. If it still won’t reset, it may have moisture in it. Dry it with a hairdryer. When it’s thoroughly dry, try resetting it again.

How do you fix an outlet that fails to reset?

You can fix it by checking the circuit breaker that controls the outlet. The breaker trips at times if overloaded. Once the breaker has tripped, ON it again and reset the outlet.

Also, check for the wrong connection to make sure it is ok.

Can a GFCI outlet go bad?

GFCI can go bad if

  • It no longer trips when you press the test button
  • The trip button stays outside and won’t reset
  • The button trips out, but the outlet remains ON.

GFCI won’t reset after rain why?

If your GFCI won’t reset after rain, it means you have a ground fault along the circuit. Call a licensed electrician for troubleshooting and repairs.