Button wont pop put on GFI outlet

When I press the test button on a GFI it wont trip. Does this mean the GFI has failed, or just the button has stopped working? I plan to replace it either way, but I'm curious why it quit working. Its outdoors, but is in a sealed box with snap-shut cover plate.
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On Sun, 08 Jan 2012 04:18:07 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

They do fail over time, especially the ones outdoors. You have the proper solution.
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This brings up a little discussion I like to have every now and then.
What is the point of testing a GFCI once a month...or even at all?
When you test a GFCI by pressing the test button and the GFCI trips, all you have really proven is that worked when you tested it and that it probably would have tripped if there had been a problem before that point in time.
You really don't have any assurances that the GFCI will work when it needs to. We all know that GFCI's fail, as noted in this very thread. How do you know that the pressing of the test button wasn't the last time the GFCI was going to work? The only way to know if it still works is to test it again. But of course, *that* test could be the final trip that the GFCI could handle.
While a failed test may let you know that the GFCI *wouldn't* have worked when it should have, a passed test doesn't necessarily mean that it will.
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On Sun, 8 Jan 2012 18:48:45 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

Really? You can't see the logic in testing them? Using your example where the GFCI fails right after a monthly test, you will be without a working GFCI for one month. Without testing, you could have a non working GFCI for years or decades.
Nothing is perfect but testing occassionally is better than not testing from a safety point of view.
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*It happens. Replace it with a weather resistant (WR) GFI receptacle.
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On 01/08/2012 07:41 AM, John Grabowski wrote:

Also, if it is controlled by a switch, keep in mind that it won't trip unless it's energized. But still, if it is suspect, replacing is cheap insurance.
nate
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If you want to know for curiousity if it's the test button, you could put a small load from hot to ground on it. They trip with just a few milliamps, so anything above 20ma or so would do. Or you could pick up one of the outlet testers with lights that shows if the outlet is properly wired, reversed hot and neutral for example. They have a test button that applies that small load and are handy to have. But either way, it should be replaced.
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On 1/8/2012 7:31 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

A GFI will actually trip if you short the neutral to ground, try it with one you have at home. A GFI also has to have a ground connection to work properly. ^_^
TDD
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On 1/8/2012 11:50 AM, The Daring Dufas wrote: A GFI also has to have a ground connection to work

ABSOLUTELY false statement.
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wrote:

A GFCI outlet can, per code, be used to permit the installation of 3 prong outlets on an ungrounded circuit. The GFCI and all downstream 3 prong outlets should be labeled as "GFCI Protected, No Equipment Ground"
There is is absolutely no need for a ground wire for the GFCI to work properly.
They work by detecting the difference between the hot and neutral so it doesn't matter if there is a ground or not.
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On 1/8/2012 8:21 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

That strikes me as odd because if I remember correctly, all the instructions I ever saw included with the GFI indicated a ground was required. It's been a while since I read it but I've always made sure there was a proper ground at every outlet. What I said about shorting the neutral and ground tripping a GFI still goes, I've done it many times. ^_^
TDD
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wrote:

I agree about the GFI detecting a neutral to ground fault and tripping. It does that by injecting a very small test current and monitoring that without requiring any load to be present.
But GFI do not require a ground to function. They are looking for an imbalance in current flow. That current imbalance is detected as a difference in the current flowing in the hot and neutral. In fact they are often used to improve safety in older homes where there are circuits with no ground.
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On 1/9/2012 7:57 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I have no problem with standing corrected and I have seen ground fault breakers on small appliances (hair dryers) that have a polarized two wire plug that consists of a ground fault wall wart. The last time I read the instructions included in a GFI receptacle box was probably 25 years ago, I've always installed a ground and bonding ground to the metal device box as per "electrical inspector". Of course it's been a long time since I was involved in a total house wiring project with plastic boxes and Romex. Most electrical work I do is commercial and industrial and the last wiring I did was in a big retail store where I ran a lot of MC cable and used bolt in breakers. Heck, the last electrical service call I ran was at a large drug store chain to repair the Internet connected Siemens industrial control system used to handle the energy management for the store. If you've ever seen Redbox DVD rental kiosks outside retail locations, I've installed the wiring for a number of those and they actually have their own GFI breakers on the wall next to them. Most the electrical work I've done as of late is in metal conduit anyway so it's going to be grounded.
TDD
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On Jan 8, 4:18am, snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

Just replace it. They seem to be very sensitive to lots of things, and they do just wear out.
We had a close lightning strike a couple of years ago on our new house. The bolt didn't hit us but we suspect it hit trees within 250 feet. We ended up replacing seven of the outlets. Some GFI just failed; and others had ash and molten plastic hanging out of the slots.
RonB
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Sounds like it's time for a whole house surge protector.
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Sounds like it's time for a whole house surge protector.
*The grounding electrode system for the house should also be inspected. Make sure the grounding electrode conductor connection to the ground rod and water pipe are tight and not corroded.
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wrote:

Had a similar situation from a nearby hit. Some people think it is a tragedy, but aside from some minor fixture changes, it was a blessing. How else could I justify replacing a good working TV with a 47" flat screen? This one though, is on a good surge protector.
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