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Home GFCI Outlets Not Working #5433093 05/19/20 08:42 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
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Geauxtiger Offline OP
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Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 317
Any electricians listening?
Bought my home ~6 years ago. It was only 18 months old at the time.
Due to my lack of due diligence prior to purchase, I later found that 2 outside GFCI receptacles do not work and a spare bathroom receptacle does not work (but the GFCI light still glows).
I replaced the bath receptacle, but it still does not work.
There IS power to all of the receptacles in question.
What are some troubleshooting techniques I can go through before breaking down and calling an electrician?
thanks


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Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433103 05/19/20 08:49 AM
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WagonWheel Offline
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This is odd for a new home. Do you have a tester that plugs in and allows you to force a ground fault? These are $5 at Harbor Freight. Assuming your line/load is wired correctly, my first thought was a bad ground. Not an electrician tho…


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Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: WagonWheel] #5433104 05/19/20 08:54 AM
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JHZR2 Offline
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Originally Posted by WagonWheel
This is odd for a new home. Do you have a tester that plugs in and allows you to force a ground fault? These are $5 at Harbor Freight. Assuming your line/load is wired correctly, my first thought was a bad ground. Not an electrician tho…


A ground isnt required for a GFCI. In fact, one of their key uses is protection of two-wire circuits that dont have a ground.

I agree 100% on the circuit tester. However Im not sure that it will work if the outlets are "not working".

OP, when you say does not work, do the test and reset buttons work? Will it reset? When it resets, you just dont have any voltage on the two main prongs?

How did you verify that there is power to them? You put a multi-meter on the conductors screwed to the outlets, and saw 120V? You hit reset, and it stayed in that position (didnt pop back out immediately)?

Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433111 05/19/20 09:02 AM
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tomcat27 Offline
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Ditto on the fact that GFCI's do not require a ground. they measure the difference in current between hot and neutral.
yes, please explain "not working", especially since you state that there is power to the outlets in question.


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Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433127 05/19/20 09:25 AM
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Donald Offline
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A GFI typically has a feed from the circuit breaker box and a supply to downstream outlets. All the downstream outlets will be protected.

Did they reverse the feed and supply to downstream? Mix up hot and neutral (not sure this would do it, but I would check).


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Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433128 05/19/20 09:25 AM
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WyrTwister Offline
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Just off the top of my head , are any on the same circuit / circuit breaker ?

Not much of a stretch of the imagination , for any out side receptacle to get wet & mess up . If so , replace them and possibly the weather proof covers . Be sure to turn the power off first . Be safe . Buy a " plug checker " and possibly a cheap Volt Ohm Meter .

You should also have the garage receptacles on GFCI . Check them too .

GFCI devices contain electronics . Could be messed up by lightning storms .


Wyr
God bless
Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433140 05/19/20 09:41 AM
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CT8 Offline
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These aren't expensive and they are a wonderful tool just in case .These are available almost everywhere


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Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433146 05/19/20 09:43 AM
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mk378 Offline
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On some GFI outlets the little light means it is working properly, on others it means there is a problem, and many don't have a light at all. There is no standard for this.

They are designed to not reset and stay off if mis-wired. So if you have some that stay live all the time and don't trip when the test button is pressed, it's probably the GFI itself that is bad.

Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: JHZR2] #5433168 05/19/20 09:59 AM
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Dave Sherman Offline
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What does "not work" mean? No power, or they don't test properly? I've had outside GFCIs fail frequently, they get exposed to the elements even inside a covered box, and they'll either keep tripping because they have moisture in them, or the mechanisms got corroded and they get stuck. The test buttons also get corroded and they may not test properly. If they do trip, the rusty mechanisms may not latch so they can't reset.

Relatively new house I'd be very surprised if they cheaped out and didn't run a real ground to the outlets, but in the off chance they didn't, then the test buttons may not work properly because they create a small ground fault current. No ground, no fault, but they will still do what they are supposed to do.

I'd get a 3-light GFCI tester from HD, Lowe's, Menard's, etc. and see if the lights show hot and neutral correct, and if there's a ground.


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Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433172 05/19/20 10:02 AM
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supton Offline
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I'd get an outlet checker, they're cheap.

In my "new" to me house I had a GFCI not working. Light was on but no AC power. Bought a new GFCI and while replacing I found that the old one was never wired properly in the first place. I elected to replace it anyhow (it's not like it's big money).

if not comfortable then just call the electrician, I would hope that they stock outlets in their vehicle and could just replace on the spot if it was truly bad.


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Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433178 05/19/20 10:12 AM
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zzyzzx Offline
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Some have a light that comes on when it's tripped, like Cooper.
Some have a light that is on when it's NOT tripped, like Leviton.
I'm not sure what other brands do,
I like to only have one type of these in any given house.

Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433201 05/19/20 10:39 AM
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JHZR2 Offline
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OP, If youre comfortable, and know how to turn off and verify that power is off....

Go to HD and buy a 98c made in USA standard recepticle.

Wire it up properly.

Use the outlet tester and report back on the lights.

We can go from there.

Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433207 05/19/20 10:49 AM
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CT8 Offline
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We have a consensus on the circuit tester. This is a notable moment on BITOG


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2018 F350 6.2
Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433212 05/19/20 10:55 AM
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WagonWheel Offline
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How does the TEST function work on the GFCI? My understanding is it shunts some current to ground thus forcing a fault trip. Agree gnd isn’t required to work, didn’t mean to imply that. I was assuming that the OP was saying the TEST was failing, not the power delivery.


2003 Honda Accord 2.4L 5AT - 153k miles
2006 Honda Odyssey 3.5L EX-L 127k miles (S-VCM)
Re: Home GFCI Outlets Not Working [Re: Geauxtiger] #5433218 05/19/20 11:02 AM
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mk378 Offline
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The test button creates an unbalanced current in the detection transformer. Since both sides of the transformer are available inside the device, that test does not need to involve the building ground conductor.

A plug in tester does leak its test current to the ground pin, since there is no access to the before GFI live or neutral wires from the outlet.

A 6 year old house must have a ground system, and it should be verified to be intact.

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