Fusion Electric Blog

Tell-Tale Signs Your GFCI Outlet is Bad

You may wonder – what’s the big deal about a bad GFCI outlet? To put things simply, these exist to help protect you from suffering an electrical shock. According to the electrical code, these outlets are located in your home where there’s an increased risk of electrocution. This includes the kitchen, bathroom, outside, and any other location where water is found.

How Does the GFCI Outlet Work?

A GFCI outlet comes with a sensor that’s designed to identify any changes in the current, which may be an indication of unsafe conditions and the risk of a shock. There is a breaker located inside the outlet, which will trip if there is a surge in current. When this happens, the power supply to the outlet shuts down along with any outlets connected to the circuit, which provides protection from electrical shocks.

A GFCI outlet has two buttons on it – typically one red and one black – with one designed to test the outlet and one to reset it after the breaker inside has tripped. A GFCI outlet that is bad is a serious issue and should not be ignored for too long. As a result, it’s important to remain aware of when there’s an issue with one of yours.

The Issue of Inconvenient Trips

Usually, the GFCI outlet provides protection by not providing any power. If there’s a problem with an appliance that’s plugged into it, the power would cut off before you have the opportunity to use it. If this happens, you may think there’s an issue with the outlet.

However, in some situations, the breaker is tripped for a good reason. A GFCI is also designed to shut off if a person gets shocked, with isn’t an easy task. This means the GFCI outlet breaker may trip if you aren’t really in danger.

Your GFCI outlet can detect current that branches off from the intended circuit, even if the branches are harmless and small. This includes situations of a wire contacting another component in the receptacle, which is usually innocent. If the cause of a trip is a one-off, passing occurrence, it should be possible for you to reset the outlet breaker by pushing the proper button.

The Issue of Wear and Tear

Over time and with ongoing use, an outlet can get worn out, losing some of its effectiveness. This is something that also applies to your GFCI. If you notice your GFCI outlet(s) is tripping more often than usual, it may mean it is time to replace it. That’s because the outlet is no longer able to adjust to current changes effectively like they used to. This causes the tripping to occur for reasons that were never an issue in the past.

If you are concerned there’s an issue with your GFCI outlet, it’s a good idea to contact an electrician for an inspection. They can determine the underlying cause and make the necessary repairs or replacement to ensure proper operation of the GFCI outlet.

Contact the pros at Fusion Electric today for help!