Troubleshooting Common Ground Fault Receptacle Problems

A ground fault receptacle is a special type of electrical outlet which has a built in circuit breaker. This circuit breaker will be tripped if there are any faults in the circuit. One of the advantages of using one of these GFCI receptacles is that they are able to react much quicker than your circuit board.

It's important to check these ground fault receptacles on a regular basis to ensure that they are free from faults. There are some common problems which can affect the users of common ground fault receptacles and we'll spend some time looking at these now.

Looking at the Ground Fault Receptacle

Take a look at the outside of the ground fault receptacle and look for the buttons marked reset and trip. You should press the reset button into place to find out whether or not it clicks and stays in place.

If the reset button clicks then use a tester to check that the voltage is being received. If the reset button won't click in place then consider replacing the outlet.

If the outlet isn't working even though the reset button is pressed in then you should check the next step.

Troubleshooting electrical outlets can be dangerous and you should never attempt it unless you feel confident to do so. If you are at all in doubt then you should hire a professional to help.

Checking Outlets

Using your plug in electrical tester you should check that the ground fault receptacle outlets are receiving outlets. if there are more than one GFCI receptacles in the same circuit then check that none of these have tripped as they will cause the others to lose power. Reset all of the GFCI receptacles up stream to this outlet.

Checking Power

Check the electrical panel to ensure that none of the breakers have tripped or been switched off accidentally. If you can't identify which circuit breaker controls your circuit then take a look to see if any of them have tripped, if any are tripped try flicking the switch. If the circuit breaker won't stay connected then this suggests there is a serious problem which needs the attention of a professional.

Detective Work

Any more detective work will involve turning off the power and dismantling the outlet. Unscrew the outlet and pull it out from the wall. Check the condition of the wires and check that everything is wired correctly. You can then switch the power back on and very carefully check the voltage of the wires using a multimeter.

If voltage is being received by the outlet, but it isn't working, then this is because the outlet is faulty.

If there's no voltage coming into the outlet then this suggests that there's something wrong with the wiring in your home. Contact an electrician to find out how to fix this.