Bathroom GFCI Outlet Issue

Old 06-21-17, 12:57 PM
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Question Bathroom GFCI Outlet Issue


I was hoping someone might be able to offer some electrical assistance to me. I recently purchased a townhouse, and I recall the home inspector telling me that the outlets for all 3 bathrooms were on the same line/circuit (or whatever it's called). He also mentioned that only the outlet in the master bathroom had a GFCI outlet on it, but this was OK because since they were all connected the GFCI in the master bathroom would trip as necessary.

A few days ago I noticed that the emergency light I had plugged into the outlet in my master bathroom was on (it is only supposed to go on when there is a power outage). I checked and each outlet in all three bathrooms wasn't working. I tried hitting the reset button on the GFCI outlet in the master bathroom but this didn't do anything and the outlets remained non-functional.

So now I don't know how to necessarily fix this issue. I'm assuming (perhaps) that one of the three outlets has broken and this is causing the issue, but am not 100% this is the issue, and even if it is I'm not certain how to figure out which outlet it is that I'd need to replace. I also don't know which circuit breaker controls them (in the circuit breaker box to my house) so I don't know how I'd even turn them off (since I can't really test since they aren't working) in order to replace one or more outlets and try and fix this problem.

Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Old 06-21-17, 01:13 PM
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You need to turn all 120v/20 amp breakers all the way off then on just incase it is a tripped breaker. If no luck you need to check the connections at the GFCI. If it isn't that next you need to replace the GFCI receptacles.
I'm assuming (perhaps) that one of the three outlets has broken
There are no magical parts in non GFCI receptacles to go bad but connections on the non GFCI receptacles can especially if they are backstabbed. Backstabs should be moved to the screws but since the GFCI is dead that is not likely to be your problem. (Note while it looks similar the connections on the GFCI are not backstabs.)
I also don't know which circuit breaker controls them
Use a multimeter to measure voltage on the line wires of the GFCI. I should be a 20 amp breaker.

Last edited by ray2047; 06-21-17 at 01:31 PM.
Old 06-22-17, 05:04 AM
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the emergency light I had plugged into the outlet
Also try unplugging this device and then press the reset button firmly on the GFCI.

GFCIs are very touchy (non technical term) and the slightest current leakage could/will cause them to trip not allowing you to reset them.

I had a call once where a home owner could not get a bathroom GFCI to reset. Found out that a bathroom downstairs was tied into the same circuit and in that bathroom was a plug in air freshener. Once we unplugged that the GFCI would reset.

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