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Expert Electric Blog

How to Reset Your GFCI Outlet When it Stops Working

GFCI outlets are extremely valuable to have installed in areas with a higher risk of shock due to moisture or the kind of devices being plugged in. When a GFCI outlet stops working, it is usually because the circuit has been grounded unintentionally through a conductive source. Although it is usually alright to simply reset the circuit, proper precautions should be taken to find the source of the grounding. At Expert Electric, we know the precautions to take in order to reset a GFCI outlet and our certified electricians are prepared to help offer advice on any household electricity-related issues.

The Purpose of a GFCI Outlet

A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet is designed to immediately cut off power whenever there is a ground fault, which occurs when an electrical current is unexpectedly grounded. The outlet senses ground faults by monitoring the current that is running between the hot and neutral ends of the circuit. If the system detects a difference in current between the two ends, it immediately cuts the circuit and reduces the damage that can be caused by electrocution.

Causes of a Tripped GFCI Outlet

There are many causes for a GFCI outlet to trip, but these causes all have the same effect: the current returning to the circuit through the neutral node has been decreased since leaving the hot node. This unexpected grounding of the circuit could have occurred because a person came into contact with a frayed wire or it could just be that a little bit of water got into the device’s circuitry and caused the GFCI outlet to cut the power. In any case, it is important to inspect why the GFCI outlet tripped before resetting it to ensure that there is no danger of future shock.

Before resetting a GFCI outlet, inspect the device being plugged in for frayed wires or damage. Look in the surrounding area for water, wet or greasy dust, and worn insulation. Make sure that the outlet itself has not sustained any damage.

How to Reset a GFCI Outlet

Resetting a GFCI outlet is incredibly easy. Once you have inspected the device and environment and everything is safe, simply push the “Reset” button on the front of the outlet. If the outlet trips again, make sure that you ask for assistance from a licensed electrician.

To find out more about how to reset a GFCI outlet safely, or to discuss any of our residential or commercial services, contact Expert Electric at 604-681-8338. Our certified electricians help with electrical projects of every size all across BC.