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New GFCI Outlet Not Working? (Let’s Find Out)

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According to the National Safety Council and the U.S. Consumer Product  Safety Commission, about 400 people are electrocuted yearly at their homes, giving rise to about 200 deaths.

More so, on average, four people die from home-related electrocution weekly.

These are deaths that are preventable simply by having electrical outlets working. But, why will a new GFCI outlet not work?

There are several reasons why a newly installed GFCI receptacle will not work.

The new GFCI outlet may not work properly due to, the installation process wasn’t done correctly, high voltage, overload, short circuit. The circuit breaker may have tripped off from a short circuit so that power is not supplied to the GFCI outlet.

Why Your New GFCI Outlet Is Not Working?

The GFCI outlet is an excellent electrical device to have for safety reasons.

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. The GFCI outlet detects faults in the ground and interrupts the Circuit so that you don’t have an electrical shock. 

When your newly installed GFCI receptacle is not working, there are several reasons why and some of them include:

#1. The GFCI Tripped the Circuit

A tripped circuit breaker is one of the most typical reasons your new GFCI outlet isn’t working. Suppose there is an issue with the flow of electricity.

In that case, the GFCI outlet will trip the circuit breaker to forestall an electric shock. 

When this happened, the ground fault circuit activated the reset button.

The GFCI Tripped the Circuit

If this is the cause, you don’t need to worry, as all you need to do is push the reset button to reset the GFCI outlet.

When resetting it, you should hear a “click” sound, signifying that the GFCI outlet has been reset.

#2. You Wrongly Installed The Ground Fault Circuit

It is also possible that you didn’t install the new GFCI receptacle properly.

If this is the reason, it will not work from the outset.

Therefore, you need to check the connections to ensure that all the wires are correctly connected. As a result, electrical work is usually dicy.

Therefore I recommend contacting a professional electrician to install a new GFCI receptacle

#3. The GFCI Outlet Is Bad

It’s also possible that an electrical problem burnt the Circuit, so it stopped working.

That is most likely to be the cause when the newly installed GFCI receptacle was functional for some time or even a few seconds before it stopped working.

Therefore, the light will still not come on after pressing the reset button.

The solution is to install a new GFCI receptacle as soon as possible.

This way, you are safeguarding yourself and your household from a deadly electrical shock. 

Can A GFCI Outlet Be Faulty?

The GFCI outlet is one of the essential breakthroughs made in the building and construction industry in recent years.

Even though they function as safety measures against electric shock, they can still go faulty and fail.

Generally speaking, GFCI outlets should span for an average of 10 to 15 years before becoming faulty.

Nevertheless, they can still become faulty in just five years. 

When they become faulty, it’s essential to detect this fault early and to have a new GFCI outlet installed to prevent shock episodes.

Failure of a GFCI outlet can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Failure to trip when you hit the “Test” button
  • Failure to restore electricity supply after pushing the “Reset” button
  • Failure to cut off the outlet power despite being tripped.

The GFCI monitors the current passing in and out of the outlet when working without fault.

Suppose it notices an abnormal current flow by chance. In that case, it will shut off the electric supply to the outlet from the main electrical panel.

It can be potentially life-threatening when there’s a ground fault as the electrical current passes through your body as if you were a conductor.

For this reason, you should replace the GFCI outlet as soon as there’s a fault. 

How Do You Test A New GFCI Outlet?

GFCI outlets are safety devices designed to function as an anti-shock mechanism for homes.

They are fundamentally designed to be installed in areas that are likely to encounter water.

Such areas include the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, and wet bars.

However, GFCI outlets can function almost anywhere because they serve as standard electrical outlets. 

How Do You Test A New GFCI Outlet?

These electric outlets usually function effectively for several years.

Nonetheless, there are instances where they can disappoint and fail to carry out their fundamental safety function.

Furthermore, they can also be connected incorrectly during the installation process, canceling its protective function. 

For these reasons, you ought to routinely examine your GFCI outlets after installation and from time to time.

All Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter receptacles come installed with certain buttons for assessing their function. With these buttons, you can carry out the manual test within seconds.

You don’t even need to shut off the power entirely from the main electrical panel.

If this test fails, you should install a new GFCI outlet as fast as you can.

Several methods exist that you can use to test your GFCI outlets. Two of them include;

#1. Testing By Hand

  • Locate and Push the Reset Button

Located on the surface of a good GFCI outlet are two rectangular buttons.

They are found between the two slot sets where the cords are plugged in.

The buttons are labeled “Reset” and “Test.” To test your GFCI outlet, you use your finger to push the test button.

Once this is done, you’ll hear a snapping sound that trips the outlet, cutting off the power supply to the two plugs.

  • Establish That Power Supply Is Absent

To establish the absence of a power supply, connect any electrical device like a radio or lamp into each half of the outlet.

They should not come on. Another confirmatory test uses a multimeter or a voltage tester to check if the voltage is present on the outlet. Again, there should be no voltage.

  • Reset The GFCI Outlet

Once the above steps are completed, it means your GFCI outlet is functional. It would be best to push the Reset button to restore the power supply.

#2. Employing a GFCI Outlet Tester

The second method for assessing your GFCI outlet is utilizing a GFCI Outlet Tester. It’s an easy electrical instrument to use with LED light features.

A good number even possesses a screen display to show the different results of the test.

The tester can indicate if the GFCI outlet was correctly wired and even point out different issues it identifies.

It also comes with a test button that will trip the outlet to ascertain if the safety function is optimal.

The tester is cheap and can also test non-GFCI outlets in addition to GFCI outlets. That makes it a helpful tool to possess in your toolbox.

I recommend repeating any of the tests monthly. That is because the GFCI outlets can malfunction anytime without prior notice, giving you no clue of the problem.

That means you may continue to have power at that outlet, but the anti-shock protection will no longer be present.

What Causes A GFCI To Trip? 

A tripping GFCI is a commonly encountered problem. For example, if your insulation in the wall is damaged, old, or worn out, it may make your GFCI trip.

That is because the wall insulation is designed to curb leaks from happening.

Therefore, more leaks will occur if the insulation is bad, leading to tripping episodes.

Additionally, when you have too much equipment connected, your GFCI outlet can also trip.

If this keeps happening, I recommend testing the GFCI to see if it’s still efficient.

You perform this test by plugging in the night light and pressing the test button.

Normally, the light should immediately go off. After that, hitting the reset button should turn the light back on.

Furthermore, if your GFCI outlet is not grounded, it will not trip.

That is because the plug-in tester requires a real ground for the test button to work.

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter that is not grounded will not have a ground, so it will not trip.

How To Fix A Stuck GFCI Outlet? 

Fixing a stuck GFCI outlet is not as straightforward as it sounds. First, you need to know the underlying reason why the reset button is stuck. 

It may be that materials like dust particles are stuck inside the button or the outlet is worn out.

If this applies to you, you need to install a new Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter receptacle

There could also be a faulty appliance somewhere in one of the sockets served by that particular GFCI outlet.

To solve this, remove all the appliances fed by the GFCI outlet and push the retest button again. If this is the cause, it should work again. 

After that, start plugging in the appliances one after the other until one appliance trips the reset button.

That appliance is faulty, which is why the GFCI outlet is stuck. You should unplug it and take it for repairs. 

If this is not the cause, I recommend calling a professional to look at it. Another option is to install a new GFCI outlet. 

Conclusion 

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets are designed as electrical safety devices to keep you and your family safe.

However, they are not fail-proof and can get damaged with time.

That is why it’s essential to regularly check your GFCI outlets every month to ascertain their functionality so that you don’t put yourself and your household in harm’s way.

You can easily carry out the test manually by pressing the Test and Retest buttons.

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