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Can A Power Surge Damage A GFCI? (Explained)

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm

A power surge usually causes multiple electrical current rushes from their primary source into electrical outlets.

While this may happen without causing any damage to appliances, some standard outlets become damaged. In addition, these surges often threaten GFCI outlets.

A power surge cannot damage the ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). There are, however, unforeseen circumstances when a power surge can damage the GFCI. For example, a GFCI  allows electric current to pass through it to the common ground or earth where a ground fault has occurred. Therefore, the power Surge can damage the GFCI when constant fluctuation in the incoming and outgoing current.

Do GFCI Outlets Protect Against Power Surge?

A GFCI outlet will not protect your equipment or other circuits in your home from power surges because that is not its primary function. Instead, its principal part is to protect you from electrocution when your body comes in contact with electricity and not stop excessive current flow.

Nevertheless, GFCI outlets can sometimes be connected as breakers to protect connected devices.

There can be a current supply in this capacity when the current flow in the circuit exceeds its maximum capacity.

Remember, though, that this is not the primary function of  GFCI. 

What Can Damage A GFCI Outlet?

Most machines are not a hundred percent effective and are prone to wear and tear. A GFCI is not exempted from this and can get damaged due to several factors. These factors include; damage to the GFCI transformer, exposure to moisture, and excessive temperature.

Let us now consider these factors and how they can cause damage to a GFCI.

#1. Damage to the Transformer in the GFCI

This damage occurs specifically in areas with much wind or storms. GFCI outlets tend to breakage to over 21% and gradually increase to more than 50%.

#2. Excess exposure to water/moisture

Such exposure would reduce the lifespan of the GFCI outlets, even though it is designed to help absorb shocks from areas where there’s so much moisture.

Excessive moisture damages the essential parts of the GFCI outlets. For this reason, it is essential to have a waterproof cover for your GFCI outlets.

#3. Direct UV light, storm, dew, and very high temperatures

These and other varying outdoor factors can cause the receptacles to get damaged.

Once located outside the house, receptacles should be tested and checked regularly to detect any possible or potential failure that would creep out anytime and look for appropriate ways to tackle it.

Can A Bad GFCI Cause Other Outlets Not To Work?

A bad or damaged GFCI can cause all other outlets in the home to stop working. The reason is that, when installing a GFCI outlet, it is connected with different standard and regular home outlets. As a result, GFCI outlets trip and shut down all appliances and devices at every possible occurrence of surges to protect you, other outlets, and the connected appliances.

A bad GFCI would have loose electrical connections or stab wires.

And since the electrical connections are made in series, this may affect other outlets in the circuit, depending on how bad the GFCI is damaged.

It would be good to hire a professional to understand why your GFCI has gone wrong carefully. Then, if it requires changing, do so immediately to avoid further complications.

Do not attempt to fix the GFCI outlet. Instead, avoid fire outbreaks, electrocution, and health hazards.

Does A GFCI Need To Be Reset After Power Outage?

GFCI outlets generally do not require resetting after a power outage. However, suppose there is any situation where the GFCI needs to be reset after power is restored. In that case, this is only an indication that there is a decline in the functionality of your GFCI and that you should address it immediately!

When resetting the GFCI outlets, relevant and straightforward steps to follow correctly.

You will need a flashlight, screwdriver, Nose pliers, Goggles, and a voltage regulator(which is entirely optional).

Here are the steps to follow to reset your GFCI.

#1. Step 1

After a GFCI outlet goes off, the first thing to do is check if other outlets are working through their lights.

A voltage tester would come in handy to determine if there is a significant problem or not.

If a voltage tester is not available, you can conveniently plug your lamp and switch it on.

#2. Step 2

Disconnect all appliances, devices, and gadgets from the main outlets. Check and mark any dead outlet To avoid a mix-up after resetting the GFCI outlet.

#3. Step 3

Carefully inspect the circuit breaker and locate the main breaker panel. Next, open the metal door and look for the tripped breaker.

It is easy to locate a tripped breaker because it does not lie on the same panel as every other wire.

You can conveniently switch on the circuit breaker if you find it challenging to locate.

#4. Step 4

Turn off the breaker if you can locate it. To be sure it is off, you will hear a click sound when it goes off.

To reset the breaker, push its handle towards the “on” and allow it to align with every other breaker.

If it goes back to its former position, this could indicate wiring issues, short circuits, leakage, a bad fuse, and even malfunctioning parts, amongst many other reasons.

#5. Step 5

Look for the GFCI outlet that needs to be fixed. Press the RESET and TEST buttons. You will hear a click sound that should automatically reset the entire outlet.

However, check for overloading on the circuit or a faulty device if it does not.

#6. Step 6

The last and final step is simply changing the entire GFCI outlet if you think it has become harmful or is completely damaged.

While resetting your GFCI outlet by yourself is satisfying, less expensive, and does not require any particular skill, do well to seek the help of an experienced electrician whenever you lose your way. However, with this guide, you shouldn’t!


Power surges will not damage a GFCI outlet. They also do not protect your equipment from electrical surges but will only cover you when your body comes in contact with electricity leaked from the circuit.

Also, a faulty GFCI would automatically cut off power from flowing to other outlets because it will continue to trip and interrupt the power supply.

However, they do not need to be reset after every power outage.


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