How to Reset Electrical Outlets

Posted On: May 17, 2017

Almost all new homes use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) for their electrical outlets. GFCI outlets help prevent potentially fatal accidents from occurring in the event that water seeps into the outlet or the electrical device that’s plugged in gets wet.

Basically, the GFCI can recognize if the electricity isn’t returning, and will immediately cut it off, thereby potentially saving you from a serious electric shock. Once the power has cut off, you’ll need to reset the GFCI.

Resetting the GFCI Outlet

Resetting the GFCI outlet so that it will allow the flow of electricity to resume should be relatively simple. GFCI outlets have two buttons on them labeled “test” and “reset.” The reset button should be popped out after it trips. Pushing it in will reset it. It’s as simple as that.

Finding the GFCI Outlet

The outlet that reset may not have the test or reset buttons. This is because a single GFCI outlet can protect a number of outlets within an area of your home. So, for example, if the outlet in your bathroom trips, it may not contain the reset button that you need to press in order to restore its function. There may be another outlet in the bathroom or in the vicinity of the bathroom that contains the reset button.

Because the GFCI buttons are clearly visible, it shouldn’t be difficult to find the GFCI outlet that controls the outlet that was tripped. Just look for the outlet with the buttons on it. You can tell if it’s the right one by checking to see if the reset button is popped out.

Finding the Source of the Problem

If an outlet doesn’t work, it could be because the GFCI outlet tripped. In order to reset the GFCI outlet, you’ll have to identify which outlet was tripped. In some cases, you might have trouble finding this outlet. The following tips should help you track down the cause of the tripped GFCI outlet:

  • Unplug all the devices and appliances connected to the circuit the tripped outlet belongs to.
  • Reset your GFCI outlet. If it resets, then it means one of the items you unplugged is causing it to trip.
  • Plug each item in one at a time to test whether it causes the GFCI outlet to trip. Whatever item trips the GFCI is most likely the culprit.
  • If nothing causes the GFCI to trip again, then there’s probably nothing wrong with the devices or appliances that were plugged in. Odds are that it was just a temporary malfunction.
  • If your GFCI won’t reset, then there may also be a tripped circuit breaker. The outlet won’t reset if there’s no power running to it.

Resetting Outlets with a Professional

Resetting your electrical outlets isn’t too difficult once you understand how GFCI outlets work.

If you’re having problems resetting your GFCI outlet, thereby leaving your outlets unable to function, then be sure to contact us at Jaffe Electric in order to schedule an appointment or to receive a free estimate.

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