Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dead Outlets — What It Could Be If Breaker Is Not Tripped?


After moving to Texas from another State, I have run into issues with sections of the outlets that suddenly stop working. But, when I checked the fuse box, no signs of tripping was found there . What happened?

Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)


A ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a safety feature required usually when an outlet is installed near
  • Water–bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Exterior fixtures
They are designed to trip when a current imbalance occurs. When this happens, it’s easy to reset the outlet.

However, knowing what happened is the first challenge and locating where the GFCI outlet is the second challenge.


Personal Experiences


My first experience of GFCI tripping happened outside the house. Thanks to a contractor who has kindly shown me where the GFCI is—it is located inside my garage.

As shown in the above photo, you can never guess CFCI is actually located on this outlet. To see it, you need to unplug the plug .


The second experience happened recently in the kitchen when I started my water heater. I heard a click sound which puzzled me. Then I have found my outlet stopped working. After looking around, I have identified several outlets also stopped working. On one of them, I have found the GFCI as shown in the photo below:





How to Reset?


To reset the interrupter, you just press the "RESET" button which is the first button in the middle. The second button is "TEST" and only for testing.

If your GFCI outlet continues to trip then you may have a short or a defective GFCI outlet. You may want to contact a licensed electrician to address the problem for you.

References

  1. How to Reset a GFCI Outlet
  2. What is a GFI outlet used for, and where should I install them?

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