A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a system designed to protect a building and its occupants from electric shocks.
GFCI reduces the risk of direct electric current harming the occupants of the building. In addition, the outlet is known for reducing the load of the house’s electrical system.
Getting your GFCI to work properly after being in contact with water is quite tasking. So, why does this happen?
If you restart your GFCI after a heavy downpour and it does not reset, it is most likely a result of water damage to the outlet. This is true especially if the GFCI outlet was in good working condition before the rain. A heavy downpour can bypass any outlet protection, causing the GFCI to trip.
What Happens When a GFCI Won’t Reset?
If the GFCI does not reset, it shows a problem with the GFCI. The problem can be due to the low or no power entering the GFCI or a bad GFCI.
However, if the reset button does not work any time you press it, there is a current leak in one of the components of the circuit.
The presence of water and faulty components can make the GFCI not reset. In addition, there are other reasons why the GFCI won’t reset.
The reasons include incorrect wiring system, internal corrosion, and wear and tear of the components.
Will a GFCI Work After Getting Wet?
Ground fault circuit interrupter will most likely not work after getting wet. You can protect most GFCI outlets located outside the house with waterproof materials.
However, rainwater can bypass this material and affect the GFCI outlet, causing the GFCI outlet to trip. In addition, moisture on or around the outlet can make the GFCI not work.
The ultimate solution to a GFCI working after getting wet is to replace the outlet. Replacement must be especially if a large quantity of water is in the outlet.
It is advisable to involve professionals if there is constant water spillage on your electrical components.
The professionals will ensure proper fixing and monitoring of the electrical components to avoid further damage.
How Do You Fix a GFCI That Won’t Reset?
If your GFCI does not reset after it is wet, leave it for some time and allow it to dry well. You can then attempt to reset.
It would be best if you weren’t around a wet GFCI outlet to avoid electrocution, which can lead to death.
If it is compulsory, you get close to an outlet and ensure you have safety gear such as safety gloves and goggles.
Once you are sure that the outlet is wet, you can follow the tips to ensure the GFCI dries out effectively:
- Ensure all other circuits connected to the GFCI outlet are not on. You can turn them off if they are on to prevent electrocution. To be sure that the other outlets are off, you can use a voltmeter.
- It is important to ensure the main circuit breaker is off for additional safety. The circuit breaker is an electrical safety device used to prevent damage to the electrical circuit. Turning off the GFCI prevents accidents and electric shocks. However, if there is more than one circuit breaker in the building, turn off the main circuit breaker directly supplying the GFCI outlet.
- The next step is to dry the GFCI outlet by using a hairdryer. Since the battery-operated hairdryer is common, most people use it. The hair dryer should be used properly and should target wet areas. It is important to ensure the hair dryer is not too close to other components of the GFCI outlet, especially plastics, to avoid melting the components.
- Leave the outlet to dry out over the night. It will ensure that the outlet dries out completely and is safe to operate again.
- Lastly, you could turn on the GFCI outlet and reset it. If the GFCI turns on and rests, then there is no problem. However, if the GFCI does not reset, there is a problem resulting from some moisture remaining in the outlet. You might need an electrician to check the outlet and correct the abnormalities. Most times, a replacement of the entire outlet is the solution.
Common Causes Why GFCI Won’t Reset After Rain?
Since we cannot do without electrical outlets, it is important to pay attention to them to prevent damage.
There are several causes of why the GFCI won’t reset after rain. Below are some of the causes:
#1. Wet GFCI Outlet
During heavy downpours, moisture can get into the outlet and prevent it from resetting.
Moisture around the outlet can cause the GFCI not to come on or reset. Leaving the outlet to dry for some time can make the GFCI work properly again.
#2. Corrosion of the Outlet Components
Frequent rain can increase the risk of the elements of the outlet having corrosion. This majorly happens during the rainy season.
Outdoor electrical circuits risk corrosion because of constant exposure to rain. Replacement of the entire GFCI circuit is the only solution to this problem.
#3. Power Outage
Having a power supply immediately after a rainy session is not easy. However, the fault might not be with the GFCI.
Ensure you check if there is a power supply before concluding that your outlet is having issues.
You can check with your power provider that the power outage is not limited to only your house but in general. When there is a power supply, then check if your GFCI comes on.
#4. Defects in the Components of the GFCI
Heavy rainfall can be disastrous. It can cause defects in the internal system of the GFCI.
It is only an electrician that can confirm if this is true. The electrician will check for any defects or blockage in the internal system of the GFCI.
#5. Wrong or Defective Wiring System
Heaving rainstorms can cause some parts of the wiring system to be disconnected. Although this does not happen often, it can cause your GFCI not to reset.
Wrong wiring can cause a spark which can result in a fire incidence. You will need an electrician to diagnose the problem properly and proffer a solution.
#6. Ground Fault
A ground fault can result in something disastrous. Any issue resulting from this results from a disconnection in the path of the electricity.
When there is a disconnection, electricity finds an alternate route: a person or an animal close to the outlet or a cord.
This type of electricity can result in electrical shock and eventually death. If the issue persists every time it rains, an electrician or a professional should check it out.
Is the GFCI Outlet Waterproof?
GFCI does not have any waterproof quality. Because of this, you should protect it with waterproof materials since it is outside.
With the recent advancement in technology, there are now types of GFCI with weather-resistant property.
Below are the types of GFCI outlets:
#1. Standard GFCI
It is also known as the 15 Amp duplex receptacle. This type of receptacle does give ground fault protection.
However, this increases the risk of electrocution and electrical shocks, which can lead to death.
Because of the danger it poses, recent technological advancements have found a way around this type of receptacle, leading to the innovation of new ones.
#2. Weather-resistant GFCI
The weather-resistant GFCI protects the outlet’s components against weather and corrosion.
It has nickel and mounting straps with a touch of stainless steel. The material protects the outlet and its components from moisture, snow, and ice.
In addition, some of them have enhanced nylon and metal resistance to corrosion. Water-resistant GFCI is for garages, swimming pool areas, porches, and other outdoor locations.
Therefore, it is important to cover a weather-resistant GFCI outlet with a weather-resistant cover.
#3. Basic GFCI
One of the functions of the GFCI is to monitor the flow of current through the circuits and conductors. It majorly prevents the leaking of electric current.
Basic GFCI does the work of a normal GFCI with no specialty. GFCI outlet trips when it notices a diversion in the flow of current.
It does this to prevent electric shocks and electrocution. This type of GFCI is for kitchens, basements, and outdoor spaces.
#4. Tamper-resistant GFCI
According to the 2017 National Electrical Code for new buildings and renovations, this new model. It is majorly for preventing children from getting electrocution.
The tamper-resistant GFCI has a built-in shutter and insert the plug. It is for in-wall spaces, hallways, hotels, and small appliance circuits.
#5. Self-testing GFCI
This is the most recent model of GFCI made in 2015. The GFCI has a self-test function that monitors the status of the GFCI at intervals.
After completing the self-test, the self-test unit indicates the status of the GFCI. The self-test will notify the user if the GFCI outlet is not working well. It is for basements, garages, and other outdoor locations.
Will a GFCI Reset After It Dries?
A GFCI should reset after it dries. However, if it does not reset, it means there is still moisture in the components of the GFCI.
The GFCI outlet may trip or shut off due to moisture in the outlet. It is important to call a professional to check out what is happening because a wet GFCI outlet poses a great risk to your house.
If it does not come on, first switch off the breaker box to avoid electrocution. Then, to avoid mistakes, you can use a voltage meter to test if it is off.
Press the test and reset buttons at the same time. You will need an electrician to check it out if it does not reset.
GFCI Reset Problems and Fixes
The ground fault circuit interrupter protects the building from electrical shocks that can be dangerous. However, they might stop working due to an issue with the reset button.
Below are common reset problems and fixes.
|Loose parts||With rubber gloves, check the outlet for loose screws and screw them back with a rubber screwdriver. If it is beyond repair, you will need a technician.|
|No power supply to the main circuit breaker||Turn it on and reset|
|Ground fault issues||You will need a qualified technician for this.|
|Bad connection||Check for a bad connection with safety gears or call a qualified technician.|
|Bad GFCI outlet||The GFCI may have exceeded its useful period. The only solution is a total replacement because no adjustment will do any good.|
Knowing your limit when repairing any electrical outlet is important, especially if you are unprofessional to avoid electrical shocks.
If you have exceeded your little knowledge, it is time to call a technician. It is to prevent avoidable deaths and property damage and losses.
The ground fault circuit interrupters are part of the safety system to prevent a building and its occupants from electrical accidents.
The GFCI is prone to having faults if there is moisture on it. GFCI is for outdoor outlets, and some abnormalities can make it not respond to reset or trip when reset. However, some steps can help to correct the abnormality.