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Causes of Lost Power to GFCI Outlets

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Troubleshooting a Bad GFCI Outlet: Testing and Replacing a GFCI Outlet.

How to Fix a GFI Outlet

Electrical Repairs: I have a circuit that loses power.

  • There is a GFI on the circuit.
  • The breaker doesn’t trip nor does the GFI but the circuit loses power.

This electrical question came from: Bruce, a Homeowner from Edna, Texas.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical repairs question Bruce.

Troubleshooting a Bad GFCI Outlet

Application: Wiring or Replacing a GFI Outlet
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of outlets that will be replaced.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional GFCI outlet wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Testing and Replacing a GFCI Outlet

  • Bruce, the GFCI itself may be bad and need to be replaced.
  • What you are describing is one symptom of a bad GFCI outlet or one that has been wired incorrectly.
  • The GFCI outlet should be tested while the circuit is on by pressing the TEST and RESET buttons.
  • If the testing process does not restore or provide power to the outlet then the GFCI outlet is faulty.
  • Realistically, most GFCI outlets do not last forever and  may need replacing.
  • Recommendation: Replace the GFI outlet with one that has the same amperage rating.

More about Wiring GFI Outlets

GFCI Outlet Wiring

  • Wiring Diagram GFI
  • The features and benefits of GFCI outlets and receptacles will give you a clear understanding of the importance why these safety devices are required by code to help protect you and your family against accidental electrical shock hazards.

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Electrical Circuits

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  • The size of the home electrical service panel is designed by calculating the square footage of the home and factoring in the code requirements for the electrical circuits that are required.

Electrical Circuit breakers

  • Electrical Wiring Protection using Circuit Breakers
  • A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.

Electrical troubleshooting and repairs

  • Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring Problems
  • Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.

Using electrical testers

  • Electrical Safety and Voltage Testers
  • When working on home electrical wiring, quality voltage testers can play an important part in electrical safety.
  • Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.

Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
Troubleshooting and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

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2 Responses to “Causes of Lost Power to GFCI Outlets”
  1. David Bartilson says:

    I’m replacing a duplex receptacle with a GFI with another duplex receptacle to be protected. It’s not working. I think the problem is determining which of the lines coming into the initial box where the GFI goes is hot. How do I identify which is the hot line coming in?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi David,
      How to Identify the GFI Line Cable Circuit Wires
      If the incoming circuit cable has not been identified then the electrician uses a voltage tester to test the circuit wiring. When wiring a GFI outlet it is essential to have the correct Line and Load wiring configurations, otherwise the GFI outlet will not work right, and the additional outlets wired into the circuit will not have GFCI protection.
      I hope this helps,


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