Why Bathroom Outlets Stop Working
Why did my bathroom lights and outlet stop working? How GFCI Devices Protect Bathroom Circuits and Outlets
GFCI Outlets Protect Bathroom Circuits
Electrical Question: Why did my bathroom lights and outlet stop working?
- The lights and outlet in the two bathrooms up stairs stopped working last night.
- The ceiling fans work and all other household switches and plugs work, and no circuit breakers have been tripped.
- What might be the problem ?
This electrical question came from: Mark, a Homeowner from Okotoks, Canada.
See more about Home Wiring for Canada
Thanks for your electrical question Mark.
Bathroom GFCI Outlets and Circuit Breakers
The following describes possible causes where a bathroom outlet will stop working:
Tripped GFCI Outlet
- When a bathroom outlet stops working it is very possible that there is a GFCI outlet that has tripped which causes the circuit to turn off.
- Typically the GFCI outlet will be located in one of the bathrooms near a sink.
- When the GFCI outlet is located simply press the RESET button to restore power to the circuit.
The Bathroom Circuit Breaker has Tripped Off
- Locate the electrical panel and look for the bathroom circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is typically a single 15 or 20 amp breaker.
- Many times a circuit breaker will be tripped off but still appear to be in the on position.
- RESET the BREAKER: Locate the circuit breaker for the bathroom circuit, turn it all the way OFF, then back ON.
- NOTE: If the circuit breaker has tripped you may notice that when switching it into the full Off position will require a little extra force in order to reset the circuit breaker.
- If the circuit breaker makes a popping sound when it is turned back on and it trips off immediately then there is a problem with the circuit and a qualified electrician should be consulted to identify the problem and make the electrical repairs as needed.
The Circuit Breaker is On and the GFCI Outlet will Not Reset
- RESET the GFCI OUTLET: Be sure the bathroom circuit breaker is on. Press the RESET button on the GFCI outlet.
- If the GFCI outlet will not reset then the outlet may be defective and need to be replaced.
- If the GFCI outlet will be replaced then the bathroom circuit should be turned OFF before a replacement GFCI outlet will be installed by a qualified electrician.
- MAINTENANCE NOTE: To ensure GFCI outlets are working properly they should be tested periodically. To do this press the TEST button, and then the RESET button. If either button does not function properly then the GFCI outlet may be faulty and need to be replaced.
More about Bathroom GFCI Outlets
This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.
- Electrical Outlets
- Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring
- Types of Electrical Testers
- Using Electrical Testers
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!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, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard 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.
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