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How to Tell If GFCI Breaker Is Bad? (All You Need to Know)

You have breakers in your circuit board to protect the electric circuit from overcurrent or overload of the electricity. Some circuit breakers will also safeguard human beings from getting electric shocks since they are made to give 100% protection against ground faults.

The GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is a circuit breaker installed in your circuit panel or board to save from electrical shock. If there are any electrical issues in your circuit board, the GFCI will turn off the electricity immediately.

How to tell if GFCI breaker is bad?

If the reset button doesn’t work or it doesn’t pop up any button, it can be told that your GFCI breaker is bad. There might be no electricity in your circuit breaker; it stops working further. You should check it manually or replace it with a new one. Otherwise, there must be electrical issues.

A GFCI circuit breaker is one of the safest circuit breakers you can differentiate from other regular circuit breakers.

It will give you full protection since it is longer than a regular breaker and can shut off the electricity instantly once it realizes any unusual electric flow. But you cannot say anything about its validity since it can stop working.

Some characteristics or signs will tell you that your GFCI needs replacement. Among them, the faulty reset button, stop working, or doesn’t pop up the button are some signs of a bad GFCI breaker.

If you find any of these signs, you must immediately check your circuit breaker to replace it.

Otherwise, the circuit breaker will fail to work as expected, and some unwanted incidents. It will also forget to control or stop the electric flow to any human body if it is not in good health. It only occurs once your circuit breaker is damaged or too old to perform.

Apart from that, your GFCI circuit breaker may pass its lifetime and become useless soon after the validity.

That might be another reason to find a faulty GFCI circuit breaker. You should always find the best quality GFCI that works better and will not make any mess of controlling the electricity.

Faulty Reset Button:

If you press the reset button of your GFCI, and it doesn’t come up with the pop-up button, you can tell that your GFCI is damaged or bad. It will not work further or give you any protection against electric imbalance.

It will even fail to protect you from any electrical shock that you may experience from overload or overcurrent.

Damaged Switch:

Sometimes, the damaged switch will be a reason for getting a damaged GFCI circuit breaker.

You cannot tell anything about your GFCI unless you replace the reset button to get the best protection against electric issues and accidents. So, you should check your GFCI breaker switch regularly.


If your GFCI breaker gets damaged or is too old to work against overload, you should replace it with a new one.

Typically, a GFCI breaker comes with limited time and will stop working after a particular time. After that, you must change your existing GFCI breaker to ensure a secure electric flow.

How do I test if a gfci breaker is bad?

You can test if a GFCI breaker is bad in the following way. These three are the best way to test any circuit breaker.

Test Button:

Locate the button labeled “Reset” and press it. Look at the label on your GFCI outlet: There are two rectangular buttons labeled “Test” and “Reset.”

Simply pressing the test button with your finger is all required to test your GFCI. There will be a loud cracking sound as the outlet trips, resulting in the electricity being cut off to the two plug connections.

GFCI Tester:

Utilizing a device specifically designed for testing GFCI outlets is yet another method.

This specific electronic device consists of a few LED lights and, in some instances, a display screen to show the results of several tests. This is one of the simplest tools that can help you determine whether your GFCI breaker is terrible.

Multimeter/ Voltage Tester:

You can also use a multimeter or a voltage tester to determine whether or not there is voltage present. This test should also indicate that there is no power.

How long do GFCI breakers last?

The GFCI breakers last for 7 to 10 years, but they might stop working after 5 years if they handle high-power electricity.

A GFCI is the best safety part of your home since it will protect your family members from any electric shock. Therefore, you should never leave it for years and expect to get the full lifetime service.

It’s good to check your GFCI breaker every month, or at least every few months, and change it after 5 to 7 years.

You should never wait for the 10 years to expire and replace your old circuit breaker with a new one. If the reset doesn’t work after a year, you must replace your GFCI circuit or change the button if possible.

If you regularly check your GFCI circuit breaker and ensure its health, you may expect to use the same GFCI for 7 to 10 years.

The nearby circuit panel will be cleaned, and you can easily care for the damaged or old parts. After doing these things, you can expect to use the same GFCI circuit breaker for 7 to 10 years.

What happens when a GFCI breaker won’t reset?

The inability of a GFCI outlet to reset might be attributed to one of two primary causes, GFCI is faulty or has failed, or there is a ground fault leakage issue on the circuit that the GFCI is protecting that has not been fixed.

Faulty GFCI:

After making sure there aren’t any obvious leaks, your job is to turn off the GFCI circuit at the breaker and then disconnect the load side wires from the GFCI.

Then, reactivate the GFCI while keeping the wires on the load side unconnected simply because there is a good chance that the GFCI outlet has become faulty and requires immediate replacement.


The GFCI is faulty if it cannot be reset when presented with this situation. If it does reset, a ground fault leak on the load side wiring has not been repaired and has to be addressed.

At this stage, you may need to painstakingly add the load side wire back before breaking the circuit at each outlet to redo the test to isolate the ground fault problem.

There is a ground problem that has to be rectified as soon as possible. Possibly, the problem is caused by something plugged into either that outlet or connected to the GFCI outlet.

A ground fault can also be caused by wiring connected to a GFCI outlet that has become wet for whatever reason.

How to reset gfci breaker?

You can simply reset your GFCI circuit breaker by unplugging everything related to that circuit breaker. Then you need to press the reset button to get a pressing noise that will tell you that your GFCI is in good condition.

If you leave it for a while and then plug in everything else, it will be reset.

The first thing is to unplug everything connected to that circuit breaker to ensure a safe resetting.

Once you open everything, you are ready to find the reset button and oppress it for a while. Once you press the button, you should get a pop-up button that will indicate that everything is good.

If you don’t find that pop-up button on your GFCI, you must check the entire GFCI and be sure that your circuit breaker is in good condition.

If you fail to reset the GFCI breaker, you should call an electrician to check this breaker. If needed, you should replace the GFCI circuit breaker immediately.

Final Thoughts

If your reset button doesn’t work, you can tell that your GFCI circuit breaker is bad. You may also check the Pop-up button to reset it for a while after unplugging everything. When you try this method but still find your GFCI not working, you must repair the breaker.