Dead GFCI Outlet?

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Old 03-19-12, 08:59 AM
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Dead GFCI Outlet?

Hi All,

With Spring creeping up faster then expected here in Southern Ontario, I've got a few items on my To Do list. One issue we had last summer was with a GFCI outlet on our front porch. While washing down the front of the house, some water got in to the GFCI outlet. It made a buzzing sound and immediately I went to the basement and shut off the breaker. I let the outlet dry out and about after 2 weeks I reset the breaker. The GFCI outlet never worked after that, and the outlet in our backyard (most likely also tied to the same GFCI) does not work either. There is no light illuminated on the GFCI outlet and pressing the reset switch does not do anything either. Has anyone had this issue before, and will replacing the GFCI outlet with a new one resolve the issue?

Jay
 
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Old 03-19-12, 09:12 AM
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Yes, replacement will probably fix it. Make sure to wire the new one exactly like the old. Pay attention to which wires are connected to "line"...and which to "load".

Use the screws not the holes in the back. Unless it is a "backwire" which means tightening the screws is what clamps the wire in the hole. They also make "backstab" where the wires are held in by spring pressure...they tend to cause issues over time.

Not sure if the above applies to GFCI...but figured I'd put it out there.
 
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Old 03-19-12, 09:56 AM
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GFCIs are usually "backwire" not "backstab" so just slip the wires in and tighten the pressure plate.
 
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Old 03-19-12, 10:24 AM
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Ray is correct, the GFI uses a clamping plate under the holes, not a spring type retention mechanism like a backstab.
 
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Old 03-19-12, 10:26 AM
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And don't put a lot of stock in that indicator "light" on the GFCI being lit.

When I installed my whirlpool tub I used "faceless" GFCIs in the garage. Recently I did the test on these and one did not trip or reset. It must be on the heater circuit since I have been using the tub without problems. I decided to install regular GFCI receptacles in the pump area of the tub itself and after doing so both GFCIs had their indicator light up. However, the pump would NOT run. Swapping the pump and heater cords made the pump run but not the heater, verifying that although the indicator was lit green the receptacle did NOT have power. Next step is to move a pile of junk and remove the (now redundant) faceless GFCIs.
 
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Old 03-19-12, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for your suggestions, I'll pick one up after work and try it out!
 
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Old 03-20-12, 08:43 AM
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I replaced the outlet yesterday and it's now working great! Believe it or not, the outlet the Builder had installed had a sticker on it that said "Do Not Install In Wet Or Damp Locations". Go Figure! I'll do my best to seal around the housing to prevent this from happening again.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

Jay
 
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Old 03-23-12, 04:42 PM
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Jay,

Both of your outdoor receptacles - the GFCI and the one it protects - should also have in-use covers.

Nash
 
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Old 03-23-12, 05:45 PM
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Hi Nash,

Yes both outlets have the protective housing around them. I've sealed around the edges with silicon as well just to be on the safe side so it doesn't happen again.
 
 

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