GFCI, or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, outlets are devices designed like circuit breakers and fuses. However, most GFCI outlets are faster than circuit breakers and can instantly shut down the power supply from the electrical outlet in case of an electrical fault.
GFCI outlets usually have two buttons; the test button and the reset button.
Why does my outlet reset button keep popping out?
GFCI outlets have two buttons. One button is for testing, and the other button is for resetting. When a GFCI outlet detects an electrical fault, it shuts down the power and pops out the “reset” button. If the reset button is popping, a connected device is probably tripping the GFCI outlet.
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There are several reasons why your electrical outlet reset button keeps popping out. The most common causes are listed below:
The most probable cause behind a tripped GFCI outlet is safety. GFCI outlets are designed to cut the power directly at the power outlet when an electrical fault is noticed.
Therefore, when a GFCI outlet detects an electrical fault, it stops the current flow at the electrical outlet, and the reset button pops out.
Faulty GFCI outlet:
As a GFCI outlet is used, it may stop working correctly over time. When a GFCI outlet becomes defective, it does not work as intended. The electrical outlet stops supplying power to any connected device, and the reset button keeps popping out.
If the reset button pops out continuously, you should get a replacement.
Problems in the wiring can cause a GFCI outlet to pop out the reset button instantly. For example, if the wiring is incorrect and the wires are not insulated properly, current from the wire leaks. This current leakage causes a loss of energy to the surroundings.
As a result, the current going through the live wire does not meet the number of current coming back through the neutral. So, the GFCI outlet shuts down the current and pops out the reset button.
GFCI outlets are designed to prevent electrical malfunctions and circuit overload. When a circuitry is overloaded, the GFCI outlet shuts down the current coming out of it. If more outlets are connected to the GFCI outlet downstream, those are stopped too.
So, if a circuit is overloaded, the GFCI outlet pops out the reset button.
Presence of dampness:
GFCI outlets are usually located in humid areas. For example, you can find GFCI outlets outdoors and in washrooms. So, when moisture builds up in the GFCI outlets, the GFCI outlets trip and pops out the reset button.
To prevent this, you can install a weatherproof box around the GFCI outlet and keep it closed when it is not used.
Ground-fault occurrence is when the ground wire gets in contact with the live wire. When the live wire touches the ground wire, current flows to the ground.
The GFCI detects power going where it is not supposed to, shuts down the power, and pops out the reset button. These are the most probable reasons why your GFCI outlet is popping out the reset button.
How do you fix a GFCI outlet that keeps popping out?
There are suitable procedures to help you fix a GFCI outlet that keeps popping out. Some of them are given below:
Use a weatherproof box:
Sometimes, moisture builds up in GFCI outlets located in humid places. GFCI outlets are commonly installed outdoors, near the swimming pool area, and in washrooms.
As a result, the humidity causes dampness to collect in the GFCI outlets installed nearby. When moisture collects in the GFCI outlet, it can cause the GFCI outlet to trip. You can use a weatherproof box over the GFCI outlet.
A weatherproof box will prevent water from collecting in the outlet.
Avoid overloading the circuit:
Overloading the circuit causes GFCI outlets to trip and pop out the reset button.
When a GFCI outlet detects that the plugged-in appliance is drawing more power than the electrical wires can handle, it shuts down the GFCI outlet and all the connected outlets connected downstream.
Therefore, avoid using heavy-duty machines in circuits that do not allow such power.
Inspect the electrical wiring:
If you observe your GFCI outlet is tripping continuously, the electrical wiring may be at fault. So, you should check the electrical wiring of the GFCI outlets. Sometimes, the insulation of wires wears out, causing the current to leak.
When power leaks, the GFCI outlet detects it as an electrical fault and shuts down the power at the electrical outlet. Check if the insulation and wiring are correct. If needed, replace the wires with new ones to prevent consequences.
Replace the defective GFCI outlet:
After some time, GFCI outlets may become faulty. GFCI outlets have acute wiring inside them. Over time, the sensitive wiring may wear out and cause the GFCI outlet to malfunction.
Moreover, this will cause the outlet to trip repeatedly and pop out the reset button. If you are sure that the GFCI outlet is defective, you should replace it as soon as possible.
These are some of the ways you can fix your GFCI outlet that keeps resetting.
Why do some outlets have a reset button?
You may have noticed that some outlets have a reset button. Here are why some outlets have a reset button:
It is a GFCI outlet:
If it is a GFCI outlet, you will see the electrical outlet has two buttons. One button is labeled as a test, and the other is labeled reset. GFCI outlets are designed to shut down the power supply from the outlet when it detects an electrical fault.
When a GFCI outlet detects an electrical fault, it automatically shuts down the current from the electrical outlet and pops out the reset button. The reset button is to reset the circuit and allow the current to flow through the outlet again.
Used near wet areas:
Some outlets are designed to be used near wet areas. These outlets have a reset button and a test button. When moisture collects in electrical outlets due to humidity or rain, it increases the chance of an electric shock.
To prevent people from getting electrocuted, these outlets have sensitive wiring. When the outlets detect current going somewhere it is not supposed to, it automatically shuts down the power supply from the electrical outlet and pops out the reset button.
When the reset button is pressed, the outlet starts to supply power.
These are the most probable reasons why an electrical outlet has a reset button.
Why can’t I push the reset button on my outlet?
GFCI outlets are designed to trip and shut down the power supply in the case of an electrical fault. So, they have acute wiring inside them, which causes them to be sensitive. Over time, the sensitive wirings wear out, making them GFCI outlet defective.
When a GFCI outlet becomes defective, it pops out the reset button. However, you cannot push the reset button as the outlet is not serving its purpose. So, if you cannot press the reset button of a GFCI outlet, the outlet may have expired.
Additionally, it may also indicate a problem with the wirings or connections. If the reset button pops out immediately after it is pushed, there may be a dangerous leak somewhere in the wiring and needs inspection. You should call an electrician to have a look.
One way to ensure that the GFCI outlet is defective is by using the other outlets on the same circuit. You can plug in a device and see if it functions. If the device does not work, then there is a problem with the wiring of the circuitry.
The reset button of an electrical outlet may pop out for various reasons. However, it is necessary to know the reason behind the popping of the reset button so that it does not become a threat in the future. Additionally, if the electrical outlet is faulty, you should get it replaced soon.