GFCI switches

Hello fellow DIYers,
I have a GFCI switch in my kitchen that suddenly stopped working, now before you ask, yes I did hit the reset button. That didn't fix anything, and there's a little yellow light on. Does anybody know why this is and what I might do to fix that? Or, do I need to call in a pro?Thanks in advance for any advice!

  6 answers
  • Ken Ken on Oct 19, 2017
    Some turn the light on when they are working and others when they trip. If you do not have power at the outlet and the reset button does not make a difference you need to replace the outlet.

    They do not have the length of service life that an ordinary outlet does and having to replace is not uncommon. Make sure that the wires go on exactly the same. If there are four wires (plus ground) one pair goes to the downstream side to protect other outlets. If you switch them the other outlets won't be protected.

    • Aurora Weiss Aurora Weiss on Oct 19, 2017
      Thank you so much for the detailed information, I'm sure you've saved me money in not setting off a domino effect!

  • He light should mean that it is functiong, but not always. They do get old and need to be replaced. Do you know how long this one has been in service? I just replaced one myself a few months back. You can do it yourself or hire out. Not expensive to hire out.

  • Lonny Reever Lonny Reever on Oct 19, 2017
    Did you check any of the outlets down stream? See if they work, if not check breaker. If breaker is on and have power ,you need to replace the the GFCI outlet. Turn off power to outlet,check with volt meter to make sure no power. Remove cover, and outlet, then replace with new outlet.Connect the wire to new same as old outlet then rplace outlet in box and replace cover. Turn power on and retest .

  • William William on Oct 19, 2017
    You need to change out your GFCI as it is defective. Yes it should have stopped working! Additionally it is possible you may have another problem on the downstream receptacles connected to this GFCI but you won't know that for sure until you get a working GFCI.

    Do not remove the GFCI until you get a replacement. This way you can change the wires properly. Most GFCI's have four wires and can easily be mixed up causing a headache. If after replacing the GFCI and the yellow/red light comes on the new one and won't reset you may have a problem with other receptacles that wired to the GFCI.

    It may feed other receptacles that are not GFCI themselves but are (were in this case) GFCI protected via the defective receptacle. Most receptacles in a kitchen are wired together working off one circuit breaker in the circuit box. You would need to check the other receptacles if any of them are bad or a wire has come loose.

    If so, you can check each receptacle by removing them one by one. Cap off the wires individually to prevent electrical shock. Turn the power on and reset the GFCI. Once the GFCI resets you have found the bad receptacle that you can replace.

    Make sure you have power turned off before servicing. Good luck.

  • Eleanor Korf Eleanor Korf on Oct 19, 2017
    After you have purchased a new GFCI switch turn off the electricity to that outlet (several other outlets will probably go out as well) TO MAKE SURE NO ELECTRICITY IS FLOWING TO THE OUTLET (this is critical). If you can't tell, then turn off all of the breakers with the possible exception of those that are not on the GFCI circuit(s), but when working with electricity it is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry.

    Then take off the old outlet and put the new one you will have purchased on in it's place. Unless you see black burnt areas where the wires attach to the GFCI switch, or other places you can see once the plate is off, you should be O.K. If you see burn marks you will want to hire a pro, otherwise rewiring a new outlet is pretty simple. The caution is ALWAYS turn off the electricity to that outlet before you do the rewiring.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Dec 05, 2020

    I had problems with a GFCI switch in a bathroom. It wouldn't stay reset. I found that an outdoor receptical was in the chain. Moisture had gotten into the box. I sealed the box and replaced that receptical because it didn't look good.