Troubleshooting a GFCI outlet?

It sounds like the condition that made GFCI trip in the first place is still there. Do you know if this outlet is protecting just its own sockets or something else in the house as well (very common, especially in an older home)? See if you can identify some other outlets that might have also stopped working and verify that nothing is plugged in there. If you have an outside power outlet, and it does not look like a GFCI, chances are, it is piggy-backing on another, GFCI, outlet in the house - bathroom or kitchen.
Anyway, the idea here is to find if there's anything still plugged into one of the outlets protected by this GFCI (not necessarily its own tow sockets) and unplug everything, then try resetting it again.
If there's an outside outlet, water may have gotten inside, will need to open it up and verify.
BE EXTRA VERY CAREFUL AROUND ELECTRICITY AND MAKE SURE YOU TURNED THE CIRCUIT OFF AT THE BREAKER PANEL BEFORE OPENING AN OUTLET!
Reply to
homeowners
Thanks for the reply! When we did our home inspection, I actually paid attention. There are a few outlets (mostly in the kitchen) which piggy back on this one, along with one elsewhere (which I cannot remember offhand). I am positive nothing is plugged in, the kitchen was the first room to be unpacked and barely anything is in an outlet right now.
I spent a while troubleshooting with my father and while we got nowhere, it appears that I did everything I could have without opening the panel and fiddling with wires. I guess this'll just go on the list of things to ask when we get an electrician (along with 4 other things so far!!)
Reply to
Anonymous
Good luck with the fixes! Electricity is something that is safer left to a professional. Still, never hurts to do your homework and research the problem - usually helps in explaining the issue to the pro and therefore making his visit shorter (and less expensive!).
I just wanted to add that GFCI outlets do wear out with age. If the outlet looks old (like, 10+ years old), then it might simply be its time to go...
Reply to
homeowners
Hi everyone,
We just bought our first home and I am completely clueless. I have never had to do anything repair related before, so I'm learning as I go. I want to get good at this, so before I outsource to an electrician, I hope to do this myself. I apologize for potentially bad terminology!
I have a GFCI which is tripped. The reset switch has popped and I can't get it to go back in. I've checked the fuse box, everything looks normal. I look online and found this (
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) which I'm sure is helpful, but to me is in another language.
Could someone please help me troubleshoot what is wrong, or perhaps translate that link into layman's terms? I love to cook and until it is fixed, my kitchen is nearly powerless!
Reply to
Jessica
The part that kills me? I work with electrical engineers. A whole OFFICE of them, but they're the wrong type! Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. :)
The house is 19 years old and they are probably the original outlet. I do find it suspect that the minute we moved in they died (they definitely worked during the inspection) so while I'll keep their age in mind, I'm not sure if that is the answer. Shall I come back with a result to sate your curiosity?
Reply to
Anonymous
I'm back with an answer! It did turn out to be a bad GFCI switch. Talk about terrible timing. Just as we moved in it must have died!
The bad: That was pricey. The good: I paid attention and feel comfortable changing that switch on my own if I ever need to!
Reply to
Anonymous
Congrats on getting it fixed! Yes, professional electrician services can be expensive. There's quite a bit rolled into that price - equipment, training, insurance - like with any professional service. But, since this stuff can kill you, I think it's worth the peace of mind.
Let's hope you won't need to change that switch in the next 15 years or so!
Reply to
homeowners

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