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My Outlets Are Dead – Should I Replace The GFCI?

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Electrical Question from David about GFCI Wiring.
Background: David, a Handyman from Amherst, NH
Question: I had a GFCI with downstream outlets. This morning, I noticed the downstream outlets were dead. However, the GFCI outlet was working. I found that when I pushed in the reset button, the downstream outlets went hot.

Is it normal for a GFCI to “trip”, cut off the downstream outlets, yet keep the GFCI outlets hot? Or should I replace the GFCI?

Additional Comments: Great site.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question David. No that is not normal. The GFCI outlet should be replaced. The manufacturers are making the newer GFCI’s much better. Make sure to purchase a name brand GFCI with a genuine UL Listing, never buy a generic.  Fully explained wiring instructions complete with a picture series of  GFCI installations and wiring diagrams can be found here in the GFCI area here in this website. Just click the GFCI Outlet Wiring link below.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

For more information about GFCI Wiring
GFCI Outlet Wiring

This link is helpful as a Handyman
Do-It-Yourself Electrical

Make sure not to miss these Resources for: More about Outlets
Wiring Outlets

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Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.





Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

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« What Are Electrical Testers and How Are They Used? The Hot Tub Wiring Is Too Short Can I Install A Splice? »

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “My Outlets Are Dead – Should I Replace The GFCI?”
  1. Cynthia says:

    Hello, I appreciate any assistance you can give. We recently discovered that all electrical outlets in the 2 1/2 bathrooms in our house are not working. The lights and fans work. The bathrooms are not all on the same floor and are on different sides of the house. My husband checked the circuit box but it does not seem to be the problem. Is there a dedicated line that goes throughout a house that is only for bathrooms? He checked inside two of the outlets but could not detect what the issue was. We believe we will have to call an electrician but we would like to know what we are dealing with first. The house was built in 2005. Thanks.

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Yes – typically the bathroom outlets are on a dedicated circuit. There may be one GFCI outlet that is tripped off which supplies the power to the rest of the outlets. Check all the affected outlets for a GFCI and if it is found simply reset it.

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