London KY Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical Pros
Kentucky HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical Pros

How GFCI Outlets Become Defective

How GFCI Outlets Become Defective

GFCI outlets are an essential part of life.

They keep us safe and sound, so we can live our lives without worrying about whether we will get electrocuted by a broken circuit.

But sometimes, these safety mechanisms break down, and that’s when things can get dangerous.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together this handy guide on how GFCIs become defective in the first place and how to test a defective GFCI, and when to call an Electrical Outlet Installation & Replacement Expert.

Why Choose GFCI outlets?

Before we move to find out the signs of a defective GFCI outlet, let’s first understand the reasons for choosing GFCI outlets.

When it comes to your home, what’s the first thing you think of? Is it the smell of freshly-baked cookies coming from the kitchen? The fresh green grass outside your window? Or the outlets in your bathroom?

It’s probably not the last one. But here’s some good news: Because you have this guide in front of you, we’re about to change everything for you.

You see, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when working with electricity—and if there’s something we know about our readers, it’s that they want to protect their families and themselves from these dangers. That’s why we’ve put together this list of reasons why GFCI outlets are worth the investment:

Personal Safety

GFCI outlets protect you from electric shocks by automatically shutting off the flow of electricity when a ground fault occurs. This means that if some water gets into your system, your outlet will immediately shut off, protecting you from electrocution or severe injury.

Fire Prevention

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests that GFCIs protect all outlets in your home. This is because they prevent fires caused by electrical shorts or overloads, which can occur due to faulty wiring or damaged wiring.

Code Compliance

If you have a rental property, a GFCI outlet can help you comply with the National Electrical Code. This code requires that GFCI outlets protect all outlets in your home.

Convenience and Versatility

GFCI outlets are used for lighting fixtures, small appliances like blenders, and even exterior outlets on your home’s exterior walls. They provide protection from power surges when plugged into an outlet with electricity flowing to it, which is why they’re so useful around the house!

What are the symptoms of defective GFCI outlets?

You probably know what a GFCI outlet is. It’s that thing that stops your hair from catching on fire in the bathroom or keeps your expensive kitchen appliances from being fried when you plug them in. But did you know that GFCI outlets can be defective?

Some of the most common symptoms of defective GFCI outlets include the following:

Tripped GFCI

This means that your circuit breaker or fuse has been tripped, which means that there is an overload somewhere on your circuit. The best way to fix this is to call an electrician in London, KY, because running around trying to figure out which appliance is causing the overload could cause another problem in itself!


If your outlet is getting hot, that means the current is too large for the wire size—and that’s a recipe for disaster.

No Power

If you’ve flipped the switch and nothing happens, it’s time to call an electrician.

Flickering Lights

When you flip your switch and see flickering lights, it might be short in one of the wires. But if it keeps happening after you’ve replaced all of those wires, then it’s time for an upgrade!

Sparking or Arcing

If you see sparks or arcing, it can mean that the wires are not properly connected to the outlet. In this case, you should replace the outlet and ensure that all wires are connected securely.

How to test a defective GFCI outlet?

Ok, so you’ve got a GFCI outlet that’s not working. Before you go plugging and unplugging everything in your house, check to see if the outlet is actually defective.

Here are the steps:

  • Prepare a test device: Get plug-in electrical devices you know work, such as a light or a small appliance.
  • Find the GFCI outlet: Determine the GFCI outlet you wish to test. Its face should contain “Test” and “Reset” buttons.
  • Connect the test device: Connect the electrical equipment to a GFCI outlet.
  • Press the “Test” button: On the GFCI outlet, press the “Test” button. If the GFCI outlet is working properly, the gadget should switch off instantly. This operation simulates a ground fault or a short circuit, causing the GFCI to trigger and power to be shut off.
  • Check the power of the device: After hitting the “Test” button, the gadget should no longer receive power and should shut off entirely. If the gadget stays turned on, it indicates a faulty GFCI outlet.
  • Reset the GFCI outlet: To restore electricity, press the “Reset” button on the GFCI outlet. The device should restart.
  • After testing the GFCI outlet, examine other outlets that are connected to it or downstream from it. These outlets are usually GFCI protected and should lose power if the GFCI is tripped. Repeat the procedure by plugging the test equipment into each outlet.
  • Repeat as needed: It is critical to test GFCI outlets on a regular basis, preferably once a month, to guarantee good operation. This frequent testing aids in the early detection of any faults or malfunctions.

Tips For Troubleshooting Defective GFCI Outlet And Other Dead Outlets

We’ve all been there: you’re in the middle of a late-night Netflix binge when your power cuts out. 

Troubleshooting defective GFCI outlets and other dead outlets can be a frustrating endeavor. But with a little know-how and some careful testing, you can get to the bottom of your outlet problems and make sure your space is safe again.

Here are some tips for getting your outlets back up and running:

Check the circuit breaker.

Make sure to inspect the circuit breaker for any tripped switches. If you have a GFCI outlet that’s not working, it could be that the circuit breaker has been tripped. To check, flip the switch back to “on” and try your outlet again. If it works, then you know it was just a tripped circuit breaker—you can reset it and move on with life.

Reset the GFCI outlet.

If your GFCI outlet is still not working after checking the circuit breaker, try resetting it by pressing the test button on top of the outlet for about 10 seconds until you hear a click sound (this will reset any tripped circuits). If this doesn’t work, then you may need to replace your GFCI with a new one (or find another way to get power to your outlets).

Test neighboring outlets

If you have a GFCI outlet that is not working, test the neighboring outlets. If they do not work either, the problem may be with the outlet or circuit breaker. If they work, the problem is likely in your specific device.

Inspect for loose connections.

Inspect the wiring connections on the side of the outlet. Make sure that all of them are tight. You can also use a voltage tester to check if there is any power coming into your home circuit box or breaker box. If there is no power present at any point along this line, then there may be a problem with either your power source or with your circuit breaker or fuse box itself.

Replace the outlet

If you’ve got a defective GFCI outlet or another dead outlet, there are some steps you can take before replacing it. First, change out your GFCI as it is defective to make sure that the problem isn’t simply a loose plug or extension cord. The easiest way to do this is to plug in another appliance with a similar plug and see if it works. If it does, then you know the problem is with your outlets specifically and not just an issue with your wiring.

Try testing with a voltage tester. 

You can usually get one at any hardware store for less than $10. They’re pretty simple to use: Just attach the clamp end of the tester to one side of your outlet, then touch the other end of the tester to each screw on the outlet until you find where power is flowing from. If you don’t get any reading from touching any screw on your outlet, then either there’s no power at all, or there’s something wrong with your wiring somewhere else in your house (which would mean calling an electrician).

Check for tripped GFCIs in other areas.

If there’s a tripped GFCI in your home or building, it could be shutting off power to everything nearby—including the outlets that are working just fine. If you have any GFCIs turned on in your area, turn them off (if they’re accessible) to see if that fixes your problem.

Consult a professional electrician.

If none of the above works, it might be time to contact an electrician to help you find out what’s going on with these dead outlets. They’ll be able to check the wiring and determine whether there’s an issue with your system or something else that’s causing problems with your outlets’ electrical flow.

Hire an Electrical Outlet Installation & Replacement Expert!

If you’re looking for an electrical outlet installation and replacement expert in London, KY, look no further than Kentucky Climate Control. We specialize in all things electrical and can help you with everything from installing outlets to replacing old ones. 

We have been serving the community for many years and have built a reputation for quality workmanship and customer service. Our team has over 15 years of experience in electrical outlet installation and replacement services, so you can 100% rest assured that your project will be completed with precision and professionalism. We offer a comprehensive variety of services, including:

– Wiring Inspection in London KY

– Electrical Outlet Installation & Replacement Experts

– Air Conditioning Installation & Replacement Experts

– Heating System Installation & Replacement Experts

– Electrical panel upgrades (new breakers/junction boxes)

– Lighting fixture installation/replacement

– Re-wiring of an existing outlet

– Replacing faulty sockets with new ones

– Repairing damaged plugs and cords

We offer 24/7 emergency repairs, so if you ever have a problem with your electrical system or need an outlet installed at your office or home, we’re here for you!

Give us a call at (855) 482-2522 today to find out more about how we can help you with Electrical Outlet Installation & Replacement in London, KY!

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