CHECKING & RESETTING GFCI OUTLETS
When the power goes out in a room or in a series of outlets, the culprit is usually a “tripped” circuit breaker or a fuse has blown. “Circuit Breaker Box” However, if you check and the circuit breaker has not “tripped”, you may need to check your GFCI outlets. Similarly if it has tripped and you reset the breaker switch but the circuit is still dead, you may need to check your GFCI outlets.
A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet or “GFI” is like a circuit breaker. It can shut off the flow of electricity to the outlet and all devices downstream of the outlet. Note that the affected outlets may not be located near the GFCI outlet. They may be several rooms away or even on a different floor! It is quite common for a GFCI to be tripped in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, closet or even outdoors and another room somewhere else in the home will also be affected. Don’t assume the GFCI is even on the same floor as the affected area!
HOW TO RESET A GFCI OUTLET
Before electricity can be restored, the GFCI must be reset. FIRST ensure that it is safe to do so. Turn off or unplug all of the devices that are plugged into the circuit. If you are not sure, unplug all appliances and devices especially computers. Make certain no dangerous condition exists before restoring power.
- Press the “TEST” button. If it does not click when you press in, then it was tripped.
- Next press the “RESET” button until you feel it click.
- Power to the circuit should be restored at this point.
- If the GFCI outlet “trips” again after plugging a device in, follow the instructions below for: “HOW TO CHECK A GFCI OUTLET” also check the device by plugging it into another outlet. If the GFCI checks out okay, you may have a defective device – do NOT use the device, either replace it or have it repaired and deemed electrically safe to use.
HOW TO CHECK A GFCI OUTLET
GFCI outlets should be tested monthly to make sure they are working properly and are protecting you. FIRST ensure that it is safe to do so. Turn off or unplug all of the devices that are plugged into the circuit. If you are not sure, unplug all appliances and devices especially computers. Make certain no dangerous condition exists before restoring power.
- To test the GFCI outlet first plug a lamp into the outlet. The lamp light should be ON, then, press the "TEST" button on the GFCI which will trip the outlet and break the circuit. The GFCI’s “RESET” button should pop out AND the light should go out. This indicates the GFCI outlet is functioning properly.
- If the “RESET” button pops out but the light does not go out, the GFCI has probably been improperly wired. If the “RESET” button does not pop out, the GFCI is defective. In either of these two cases, do NOT use this outlet. Submit a Maintenance Request.
- To restore power to the GFCI outlet after you have determined it is functioning properly; Press the "RESET". You will feel it “click” and power will be restored to the outlet.